Posts Tagged ‘Suicide Squad’

Is Warner Bros. Doing a Poor Job Marketing the Wonder Woman Movie?

May 2, 2017

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We are exactly one month out from the theatrical release of Wonder Woman, and first off, oh my lord we’re only a month away from Wonder Woman! How amazing is that? Fans have been waiting years, decades really, for a Wonder Woman movie and we’re finally about to get one. Plus it’s actually looking pretty cool. From everything we’ve seen thus far, it feels like Patty Jenkins, Gal Gadot, and the whole team have put together something fun, exciting, and most importantly true to the character. We got two TV trailers at the end of last week that made me increasingly hopeful about the film:

We also got this longer preview during Gotham last night, and it was great too:

The trailers are funny, which is good to see because that’s something the DCEU’s been sorely lacking, but they’re also stylish and action packed. I also appreciate that neither these nor the full trailers have given away too much story. We don’t even have an official look at Ares in full on Ares mode yet, and that shows some admirable restraint.

More importantly, these new trailers are telling me exactly what I want to hear about the Amazons and Wonder Woman, namely that the Amazons were created to bring peace to the world and that Diana is their champion for this cause. The “Power” spot has the tagline “There is a power greater than man,” which is perfect, and it’s hard not to get excited when you hear Wonder Woman say, “I will fight for those who cannot fight for themselves.” That’s who Wonder Woman is, and it’s encouraging to see that they’ve captured the essence of the character in this way.

However, while the trailers are fantastic, there’s been some concerns in the fan and film communities about Wonder Woman‘s lack of marketing more broadly. We’re only a month out now and we’re just starting to see TV trailers roll out, plus there seems to be a lack of Wonder Woman product branding, tie-ins, and what have you. Others suggest that the film is about on track, with Warner Bros. having spent the same amount of money a month out with Suicide Squad as they have thus far with Wonder Woman. There are interesting points on either side of this issue across myriad posts you can read at your leisure.

Having followed Wonder Woman closely, I fall on the side of being underwhelmed by the marketing thus far. Just over a year ago, I was up to my ears in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice paraphernalia. That movie was EVERYWHERE, not just in theater and television advertising but in piles upon piles of branded products, toys, and other items. There were cereals, for goodness sake, one for Batman and one for Superman. And the marketing team made a big show of sending them out to notable folks in a special box so that they’d share it on social media. It was all a bit goofy and over the top, and the flavours of the cereal sounded disgusting, but it speaks to the omnipresence of the Batman v Superman marketing that their weird cereals got such a massive push.

Wonder Woman doesn’t have her own movie branded cereal. In fact, she’s got little in the way of any grocery item tie-ins, apart from Dr. Pepper. Wonder Woman is different than Batman v Superman in little ways as well, like Lego, for example. Batman v Superman got three different Lego sets, while Wonder Woman has only one. It looks super rad, with Ares and Steve’s plane and such, but it’s still just one set. A month before Batman v Superman, you could walk through any major store, be it grocery or big box generally, and see Batman and/or Superman stuff EVERYWHERE. We were inundated with it. A month out from Wonder Woman, the Wonder Woman items are few and far between.

Now, I don’t think that Warner Bros. is intentionally trying to tank Wonder Woman or anything nefarious like that. But I do think it’s clear that they allotted far, far more resources and effort to their dumb movie where the superhero boys punched it out than they have to Wonder Woman. And this is somewhat troubling, because even with all that effort, Batman v Superman  only did about fine at the box office. It made Warner Bros. a good amount of money and obviously the franchise is continuing, but it wasn’t near major Marvel levels despite the fact that it starred the two most famous superhero characters in the universe. With all of that marketing effort behind it, Batman v Superman still got bested by the lower budget, R-rated Deadpool in the United States.

The thing is, Batman and/or Superman can have a mid-level performance at the box office and be fine. We’ve seen it several times over. Batman & Robin sucked? Don’t worry, here comes the Nolan trilogy. Superman Returns flopped? Don’t worry, here comes Man of Steel. Warner Bros., and studios generally, are dedicated to their male characters. This is not the case with female characters. If Wonder Woman doesn’t do well, it might be a long time before Warner Bros. takes another crack at her, and it would certainly hamper the chances for future female-led superhero films.

That’s why the underwhelming marketing for Wonder Woman thus far is a concern. An aggressive marketing push can really help a film succeed, but the studio seems to be taking a more relaxed approach. It feels like a missed opportunity on multiple levels. First, strongly pushing Wonder Woman would show that Warner Bros. is committed to Wonder Woman and female leads generally, which would have been nice to see. Second, a successful Wonder Woman would inevitably come with a strong female fanbase that could even further expand the audience for the DCEU, which would be great for the studio. And third, after decades of development, they’ve finally got a Wonder Woman movie and it looks really good, so it would make sense to set it up in the best position possible. And Warner Bros. isn’t quite doing that, relative to how they’ve promoted movies in the past.

The good news is that Wonder Woman does look great. The new trailers are fantastic, the movie feels exciting and cool and different, and the buzz has been very positive thus far. I’m optimistic not only that the movie will be good, but that it will do well. It just would have been nice to see more of a push from Warner Bros. to help ensure that it does more than well. Hopefully it does so on its own merits, and maybe we’ll see lots more promotional stuff roll out in the weeks to come. It just doesn’t feel like Warner Bros. has treated Wonder Woman like the landmark movie it should be.

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Open Letter From WB “Insider” Calls Wonder Woman Movie “A Mess”, Patty Jenkins Disagrees

August 15, 2016

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In a fun bit of internet drama late last week, Pajiba posted an open letter from a pseudonymed, irate Warner Bros. employee addressed to the company’s CEO, Kevin Tsujihara. The letter took Tsujihara to task for a variety of box office bombs and underperforming franchises, failures for which lower level employees have borne the brunt via layoffs. There’s been some debate about the legitimacy of the letter writer and many have called it a fake written by a fan; the letter has tidbits of insider knowledge, though perhaps not enough to prove her credibility wholly. Regardless of its authenticity, the letter is an amusing scorcher, and is particularly interesting for what it has to say about Warner Bros.’s upcoming Wonder Woman film in the wake of Suicide Squad‘s critical drubbing:

What are you even doing? I wish to God you were forced to live out of a car until you made a #1 movie of the year. Maybe Wonder Woman wouldn’t be such a mess. Don’t try to hide behind the great trailer. People inside are already confirming it’s another mess. It is almost impressive how you keep rewarding the same producers and executives for making the same mistakes, over and over.

We don’t get many specifics, but the implication seems to be that Wonder Woman is in a troubling state in the same way that Suicide Squad was, i.e. a film developed in a similarly dark vein as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice scrambling to change its tone after critics eviscerated Batman v Superman and the film failed to deliver the studio’s box office expectations (it made a lot of money, sure, but all sources suggest that Warner Bros. expected it to be a billion dollar movie, which it wasn’t). Suicide Squad had massive reshoots trying to strike a lighter tone, and the resulting film is a bizarre jumble that’s just plummeted at the box office in its second week. This open letter suggests that Wonder Woman might be experiencing similar troubles.

Whether or not this is true, Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins took to Twitter to defend the film and call into question the report. Combined into a paragraph with her original spelling and grammar, Jenkins wrote:

Woah, just saw this press about WW having problems. Are they serious? This is some made up bs right here. Made up! Produce a source, anyone. You can’t because it’s entirely false. Don’t believe the hype people. Someone’s trying to spread some serious misinfo. Isn’t until you are intimately involved in these things that you realize how totally false these rumors can. Let me reassure you zero about the movie we are making has been called a mess by anyone in the know. Fact. Real lasso of truth, time, will reveal that letter to be false soon enough. But lame something so transparent in its agenda gets traction.

It’s an unequivocal defense of the movie, which is to be expected from its director, really. Though we’ve seen other directors at Warner Bros. talk about how well their film is going and how everyone is on board only to end up with cinematic messes; see: Man of Steel, Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad. Still, Wonder Woman is ten months away and I doubt there’s even much of a rough cut yet, much less anything near a finished picture. Unless it’s been terrible from the start, it’s unlikely there’s much for folks at Warner Bros. to praise or criticize yet. Plus Geoff Johns co-wrote the film, and he’s the poster boy for DC’s new, more fun direction. Wonder Woman may turn out to be the first film in this new tone, rather than the last of the original dark tone.

As always with rumoury movie news, time will tell. The trailer for Wonder Woman was fantastic, Gal Gadot is a great Wonder Woman, and the rest of the cast seems strong. I’m not worried about it yet, apart from my general worry about any superhero film that involves Zack Snyder in any capacity. The open letter will either be a prescient warning if the movie is bad or something we all forget about if it’s good. I remain cautiously optimistic it will be good. Maybe I’m fooling myself after Man of Steel, Batman v Superman, and Suicide Squad, but I’m hoping for the best.

Suicide Squad Review: Not Very Good, Not All That Bad, A Somewhat Watchable Mess

August 9, 2016

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**This review is SPOILER FREE, so read away!**

Let’s start off with my major takeaway from Suicide Squad: That rumoured Harley Quinn spinoff movie that might have Batgirl, the Birds of Prey, and Poison Ivy in the mix needs to be greenlit tomorrow. Margot Robbie is a fantastic Harley Quinn, and with a decent story and some solid directing that could make for a spectacular film. She’d need to ditch the Joker, though, since he is far and away the worst part of Suicide Squad. But apart from him, she’s delightful.

The rest of the movie is less so. It’s kind of a mess, honestly, but I wouldn’t call it bad. It’s not good by any means, but it’s not bad. The plot is pretty ridiculous and makes very little sense if you think about it at all; the villain should have been able to off the whole team in about three seconds. For a huge tentpole franchise film, they put surprisingly little thought into the story. This wasn’t helped help by the very obvious reshoots, rearranging, and general flow chaos throughout. Suicide Squad is a mangled flick. You can see parts of a darker, more menacing movie and parts of a lighter, funnier movie, and they don’t really mesh together well.

Luckily, they hung the film on Will Smith and Margot Robbie, who have just enough charisma to carry it through to the end without everything totally collapsing. Deadshot is the heart of the film, insomuch as it has one, and Will Smith does what he does best and gets you instantly invested in a character by making the most of the few hints of layers that the script gives him. In the hands of anyone else, Deadshot could have been completely unlikeable, maudlin, or just plain boring, but Smith strikes the right balance. Robbie does as well, bringing an endearing and bubbly chaos to Harley Quinn that stands in stark contrast to the somewhat flat and often morose characters that surround her. Smith keeps the film grounded and Robbie keeps the film fun, and the few scenes with just the two of them are dynamite.

Not so much Harley’s scenes with the Joker. The abusive nature of their relationship is a given; it’s been a messed up scene for two decades now. But something about seeing it with real people instead of cartoons or drawings makes it extra offputting. It didn’t help that Harley was sexualized throughout the entire film, far more so than she typically is in the comics. Her costuming and the camera work leaves her more exploited than empowered. And Jared Leto’s Joker is a boring bag of creepy affectations that lacks any fun, style, or force. This movie would be a lot better if he wasn’t in it or was just relegated to a couple of flashbacks, and honestly he could just lift right out without affecting things much at all. Having Harley turn into a fawning puppy whenever he showed up marred what was otherwise a great, impeccably performed character. Even with the Joker nonsense, Harley still steals the movie.

Viola Davis is great as Amanda Waller as well. She is DARK, as the Wall should be, though dang do they really run with it. In a movie full of villains, it’s obvious that she’s the most dangerous of them all. Her interactions with the Squad are fun, but even more enjoyable are her various meetings with arrogant, powerful dudes in which she brutally and incisively turns them around to her way of thinking. She is a force to be reckoned with and it’s fun to watch her work, even when she’s hard to root for.

Generally speaking, Suicide Squad deserves to be commended for its representation. We’ve had over a decade of superhero movies where white dudes fight white dudes, and Suicide Squad is a movie where a black guy and a woman are the two leads. Moreover, four women have significant roles and two of them are women of colour, while more than half of the main cast are people of colour. This is a game changer. Now, not all of the characterizations were great; Katana was sorely underutilized, and the treatment of Slipknot was very disappointing. But in a way, it’s progress to have a film with so many women and people of colour in key roles that a couple of them end up sidelined. We’re used to having these folks sidelined in superhero movies where there’s only one of each to start with.

Ultimately, Suicide Squad doesn’t hang together very well. The plot is silly, the team camaraderie by the end largely feels unearned, and the pacing is kind of terrible. It’s not a good movie, but it remained just entertaining enough throughout. And it’s a masterpiece compared to DC’s earlier efforts like Man of Steel and Batman v Superman; it was a relief to sit through a DC movie and not fume about how the creators fundamentally misunderstood every character on the screen. Also, the plot of Suicide Squad is pretty dumb, but the plot of Batman v Superman was even dumber. And ultimately, Suicide Squad is buoyed by a lot of winning performances. I don’t think I ever want to watch it again, but there are some characters I’d love to see in another film with a better story, for sure. A Harley Quinn movie in particular. Get on it DC! I want Harley Quinn vs. Batgirl hitting cinemas in 2018, please. It’ll be a monster hit.

Wonder Woman Footage From Last Night’s “Dawn of the Justice League” Special

January 20, 2016

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The CW aired a look at DC’s upcoming movie slate last night, hosted by Kevin Smith because for some reason Warner Bros. thinks that Kevin Smith is someone that people want to listen to? I don’t know what was up with that. We got more footage from each of this year’s new releases; Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice still looks pretty dumb and Suicide Squad still looks intriguing. I’d be far more interested in the latter than the former, if Wonder Woman wasn’t in the former, looking so dang cool.

Speaking of which, they showed a few seconds of Wonder Woman footage from the upcoming film currently shooting in England! And it looked pretty good, too. Here’s the full clip of their Wonder Woman segment:

And here are most of the key moments in GIF mode:

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There weren’t a ton of details in the footage, but it all looked cool. I thought that the foggy, wooded scenes were maybe Themyscira, but I’m pretty sure it’s just England, given the dudes in the mix on the horses. Plus, they JUST cast Hippolyta, so I doubt they’ve even shot any Themyscira scenes yet. There’s a fight scene with some soldiers that was very fun, and Diana is classy and fun in her old school garb and glasses. Gal Gadot really does look great as Wonder Woman all around. All of the snippets of footage we’ve seen of her in Batman v Superman and Wonder Woman have been fantastic.

We got some insight into how they’re approaching the character as well. Her film is going to be an origin story, though we didn’t get information about which one; rumours are it will be her New 52 origin, but everyone was vague. Gal Gadot said of the film, “We’re gonna see her coming of age, the entire history, what’s her mission,” so it should establish her roots pretty solidly, whatever they may be in this incarnation.

On the Amazons, Geoff Johns explained that:

The Amazons were once created to protect man’s world but they since abandoned it, and Diana is asking constantly, “Why don’t we go do what we were created to do and protect man?” and they say, “Because they’re not worth it.” And this takes her on a journey into our world.

Which I have mixed feelings about. The “created to protect man’s world” thing isn’t something we haven’t seen a lot. It was sort of an angle in the George Perez era in the 80s, but there was more too them then that. And “they’re not worth it” feels overly simplistic; the Amazons always leave the world of men under unpleasant, complicated circumstances. I may be reading too much into a brief and obviously heavily edited snippet, but I don’t think that Johns captured the essence of the Amazons well there.

Johns also doubles down on the martial angle we’ve been seeing with her constant sword wielding:

She’s an Amazon warrior, she’s the best fighter in the DC universe. She has strength and speed and she’s been training her whole life for war.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love an ass kicking Wonder Woman, but there’s so much more to the character than that. Luckily, Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins gets it:

The greatest thing about Wonder Woman is how good and kind and loving she is, yet none of that negates any of her power.

High five to Patty Jenkins for GETTING IT. This was the most encouraging bit of the segment for me. I love that the film has someone at the helm who understands that Wonder Woman is more than just a warrior, and that love and kindness are her primary motivations. I feel like that bodes well for the movie.

Also, Chris Pine remains a delight. I didn’t love his casting originally, but he is SO on board with making Wonder Woman the awesome hero he should be. In all of his press lately he seems excited and proud to get to be a part of the film, and in the special he said, “Telling a story like this now is pivotal and important, this story of a very powerful woman.”

Finally, while the segment was pretty vague on plot details for Wonder Woman, I think I caught something that might have showed who the villain is. In a segment where Kevin Smith and Geoff Johns talked about DC villains, they showed artwork of the bad guys, all of them connected to either Batman v Superman or Suicide Squad, but there was also this brief image:

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That’s Ares, the God of War, as drawn by George Perez. And Wonder Woman, of course. Since everyone else they showed is connected to a movie in some way, presumably Ares is going to play a part in Wonder Woman. Which makes sense, given the World War One setting; it’s an environment ideal for a God of War.

Overall, everything I saw has me cautiously optimistic about Wonder Woman! I still think that the World War One setting is weird, and I don’t love making her the old, wise one instead of someone more modern and identifiable for audiences, specifically young girls, but nonetheless it’s a new angle for the character that could prove interesting. Gal Gadot looks the part, the brief action was cool, and Patty Jenkins seems like a great choice to direct the project. I’m still shocked and delighted that this is actually happening, and all of the clips from the special have me excited for what’s to come.

See a Sneak Peek of the Wonder Woman Movie Tonight on The CW’s Dawn of the Justice League Special

January 19, 2016

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Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman film is currently shooting in England, and we’ve been getting lots of fun, World War One era set photos with Gal Gadot and Chris Pine, including these recent images of Gadot holding Wonder Woman’s sword and shield. All of the pieces are starting to come together, including more casting; Connie Nielsen recently joined the film as Diana’s mother, Queen Hippolyta. The movie is happening for real! After decades of development, I’m still surprised that it’s finally being made.

And we’re going to get a sneak peek of the movie tonight! The CW is airing a special called DC Films Presents: Dawn of the Justice League after The Flash, and while the main focus will be the upcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad, the show is also promising a look at Wonder Woman. I doubt it will be much, since the film is still fairly early in the shooting process, but it will be something. I’m anticipating we’ll get a look at some of the World War One era bits we’ve been seeing pictures of, but what I’d really love to see is a peek at Paradise Island or something similarly mythological and cool. Whatever we get, it will be very fun to see something so early.

The special is set to air at 9:30 Eastern, 8:30 Central (or 10:30, if you’re in Atlantic Canada like me!), which poses one big difficulty: the season premiere of Agent Carter is on at the same time! It’s quite a conundrum, but that’s what DVRs are for. Between Agent Carter, The Flash, and a look at Wonder Woman, it’s going to be an awesome evening all around.

If we get a look at anything worth commenting on, I’ll post a recap of the special tomorrow and screen caps if I can get them. Maybe they’ll announce who everyone is playing? Maybe they’ll reveal the film’s villain? Maybe it’ll be four seconds of grainy footage? We’ll find out tonight!

Superman/Wonder Woman #19 Preview OR The Suicide Squad Shows Up In This One Or Whatever

July 10, 2015

Superman/Wonder Woman is still a comic book that exists, though I really have no idea why. It’s return last month after “Convergence” was entirely underwhelming, neither title character has seemed like themselves for some time, and now Wonder Woman’s got a hella ugly costume. A new issue is out next week, guest starring the Suicide Squad! It’s the crossover that nobody demanded! I know Wonder Woman is in this book so I TRY to care about it, but it’s just so hard. Let’s take a look a preview of Superman/Wonder Woman #19, courtesy of Newsarama:

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So there’s some fighting and name calling and whatnot. I’m hoping that the fight doesn’t take up most of the issue and then like one thing happens to further the story somewhat and that’s it for the issue, but also I’m betting that’s probably what happens. I really don’t care for this series. Maybe I should just stop talking about it on this site, because I’m only ever a downer about it and nobody likes that. “Hey, this mediocre comic book that has Wonder Woman in it some, but she’s really lame, like depressingly so, is coming out again” doesn’t make for the most exciting posts. I think this might be the last time I talk about this series until something significant happens or it stops being not good.

Anyway, Superman/Wonder Woman #19 is out this Wednesday! Check it out if you’ve got four bucks you absolutely don’t need for anything else. Or, even better, save those dollars, wait a week, and get Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman #12 because it’s got a killer Emanuela Lupacchino cover and an absolutely fantastic Poison Ivy team up inside. Yeah, that’s a much better plan.

Wonder Woman Movie News: Multiple Outfits? Steve Trevor Cast?

April 13, 2015

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Some new rumours about the Wonder Woman movie have been making the rounds lately, the veracity of which remains sketchy as always. We’ve got next to zero details from the studio itself, which seems to be helping rumours abound. Still, it’s fun to speculate.

The first big rumour is that Wonder Woman is going to have six different costumes in the movie. Self-described “fanboy journalist” Umberto Gonzalez broke the scoop last week, claiming that on top of the costume we’ve already seen, Wonder Woman will have an outfit more in line with the “classic standard costume”, and that another one of her outfits would be a dive suit.

I can buy the idea of multiple outfits. Of all of the superheroes, I think it makes sense for Wonder Woman to have different costumes for different circumstances. That being said, a dive suit? Really? I know that Lynda Carter rocked one back in the day:

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And it was silly and campy, which fit the show. But the current DC movie universe is all dark and such. I can’t see how a themed dive suit would fit the world and not be ridiculous.

It also runs counter to other rumours we’ve heard, specifically that the first film is set in the 1920s. Dive suits in the 1920s were still those big, bulky suits with the metal helmets that had a little window in the front. Maybe Wonder Woman has a fancy advanced Amazonian dive suit? Of maybe one of the rumours is false. Perhaps both! Nobody knows.

The second rumour surrounds Wonder Woman’s on again, off again beau, Steve Trevor. Scott Eastwood has been cast in the upcoming Suicide Squad film; that much is fact. The rumour part is that everyone seems to think that he’s playing Steve Trevor. He’d be a logical addition to the movie if they’re trying to capture something like the New 52 A.R.G.U.S. and plant the seeds for other franchises, ie. Wonder Woman.

The question then becomes, will he be in Wonder Woman? Actually, the first question should be “Is he actually playing Steve Trevor?” and then we go from there. He looks right for the part, being a bland, generic handsome white dude. That’s Steve Trevor exactly. The tricky thing about him appearing in the first Wonder Woman film is, again, if it’s set in the past, not even as far back as the 1920s, it wouldn’t make any sense for him to be in it. Say they go with the classic World War Two origin. Steve Trevor would be about negative forty years old in that movie. So again, we’ve got some rumour conflict.

In summation, what definitive facts have we learned today? Very few. Scott Eastwood is going to be in Suicide Squad, and that’s about it. The rest, the outfits and anything Wonder Woman specific, is all rumour and speculation at this point. Also, people keep saying that Wonder Woman is going to start shooting in the fall when discussing these other rumours, but we’re still lacking official confirmation of that and folks may just be parroting a past rumour. So hooray, we learned nothing! It’d be really swell to get an official update from Warner Bros. at some point about Wonder Woman and where it’s going. It’s just a massive swirl of a thousand rumours and like two solid facts right now.


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