Suicide Squad Jokermobile

A great feature on the origin of the Jokermobile that will been in the Suicide Squad arriving in about six months. Not an origin story of the Jokermobile, I assume he just steals it in the film. No, this an interesting clip about the company that makes the Jokermobile in Tampa, Florida. Apparently, it is a $60,000 kit car. Humming under the Lamborghini looking body is a G35 Infiniti. Yes, an Infiniti. I wonder if they have a Black Friday deal? Maybe a buy one, get half the car built for you?

Buying the car from the film is certainly a novel way of merchandising the film. Wonder what else you can buy from the film? Your own pet crocodile? A groupon for a session of Arkham Asylum electro-therapy? Maybe we should just stick to the film.

Check out the details.

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Captain America Trailer

The Civil War trailer has finally been released. The film is only six months away. What do they think? We might have forgot?

The trailer is a very different from the version that was shown at D23. The focus here is much more on the conflict between Captain America and Iron Man. Bucky features a little more prominently which is clearly trying to connect this film to the previous Captain America film. The biggest problem with this film is justifying it as a Captain American film rather than a third Avengers film.

The relationship between Captain America and Bucky (you remember him, the Winter Solider, the brain-washed Hydra assassin from the last Captain America film) is presented as important to the changing approaches of the Avengers. Much of the trailer is trying to focus our attention on the conflict between Captain America and Iron Man to the deficit of any villains. The trailer cuts between Iron Man and Captain America facing off. We have the implied death of War Machine at the hands of Captain America and his team. The trailer ends with Captain America and Bucky beating down on Iron Man.

I’m sorry, when it comes down to it, Iron Man is really innovative, but he is fighting Captain America. It’s like the Batman/Superman fight. Yes, we all know that Superman is super. The whole strength, flight, laser beams from his eyes. However, when it comes down to it, he isn’t Batman. Superman might be the alien, but Batman is straight up inhuman, capable of feats that we cannot even fathom. Captain America is the Marvel version of Batman (except Captain America has the super-serum—I’m not going to comment on how this makes Batman even more impressive).

Hopefully, the film might actually contain some villains. What happened to Hydra? Completely gone? What about Crossbones? Is there a supervillain by the name of Baron Zemo around? There is even Thunderbolt Ross. Maybe a Red Hulk? More villains please…Maybe they arrive in a different trailer.

 

Daredevil vs Gotham

On a regular day of the week I consider myself more of a DC guy than a Marvel guy. Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman are the Holy triumvirate we revered and respected when we were young. We watched their exploits and wondered at the absolute certainty with which we knew they would continue. Thor, Hulk Captain America, Iron Man, Doctor Strange, Spiderman and the Fantastic Four, they were around. I knew who they were but we weren’t close, like the big kids who hung out on corner of my block. Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, they were different. Unlike the angel and demon that sit on your shoulder giving you good and bad advice, Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman were inspirational, voices of reason and truth, dependable and thrilling.

Even with the tidal wave of Marvel films, I usually only visit at the weekend. I watch, as do others, for two hours and then get on with my life. This extended introduction is not meant to bore you (hope it didn’t), it is meant to give you a sense of the how significant it is when I say that Daredevil is a much better TV show than season one of Gotham.

It is not that the absence of Batman. Gordon is a great character and I love crime shows. It should have been good and it didn’t deliver.

Daredevil made no pretentions to individual episodes. It had a sense of purpose and convinced you something significant was happening. Despite moments of uncertainty, the show provided a sense that it had meaning. Gotham just limped along like a lame penguin. I mean Fish Mooney on the island? Why? So she can get off and get pushed off a building? Sorry, I don’t see the point. Daredevil had a clearly defined bigger picture. Of course, the creation of a hero and a villain are not exactly difficult storylines, but wasn’t that also what was happening with Gordon and the Penguin? The difficulty facing Gotham was its own immediate success, or at least the sense of it, that turned a 13 episode show into a 23 episode show. In retrospect were those extra episodes worth the pain?

It is not without some significance that I say that the Daredevil TV show is much better than the Gotham TV show and urge you, if you haven’t already seen season one of Daredevil to go out and watch it before you miss the start of season two.

Criminals in The Gambler (2015)

A film about a self-destructive English professor who owes a number of gangster a huge amount of money. Mark Wahlberg plays a privileged university lecturer and ex-novelist which opens the movie up for critical analysis and the more I think about the movie, the less I think I like the movie. Or least the less I like what the movie represents.

On the surface there is some gambling (as you’d expect from the title), there is some existential angst (he is an English professor) and there is a little romance (did I mention he was an English professor). If you are following the main character’s search for meaning or success in life, you are following a version of Fight Club less elegantly portrayed and without Brad Pitt.

The gangster reminded me of Guy Richie’s self-indulgent narrative mess Revolver in they verge between stereotypes and teachers who attempt to deliver life less after taking on role of surrogate fathers. John Goodman actually refers to himself as an Uncle. Goodman’s ‘fuck you’ philosophy is an attempt to guide Wahlberg into an awareness of what he wants out of life. Other gangsters indulge Wahlberg’s character with almost unending support that exceeds even his mother’s own generosity (we’ll get to her in a moment). They reprimand his bad behaviour. What else are goons for? And they ultimately release him into the world. Were you trying to pretend the film might not have a happy ending? We end up criminal who are racial stereotypes out to help Wahlberg, celebrating and relishing his successes.

It is the releasing of Wahlberg back into the world that is ultimately most perplexing about the criminals. These are friendly criminals. As Wahlberg’s debt grew increasingly larger I began to feel frustrated. Why the hell would they throw money away on this guy? He is obvious a self-destructive gambler. They had to see that. When they threatened his mother it was irrelevant.

Which brings me to him mother who isn’t a criminal, but Wahlberg mentions Hamlet so a brief moment about his mother. I liked the literary allusion to the play. Wahlberg’s mother rejected her father and enjoys a love/hate relationship with her son. She flatters and adores him while also being frustrated by his dependence. Wahlberg seems to need to push her into a position to reject him because he seems incapable of releasing himself from his mother’s attentions. I suppose that is one way getting out of mother’s day.

When threats are made against a couple of Wahlberg’s students I felt there was appropriate narrative movement. It made sense. It didn’t make sense that Wahlberg cared or that after he was able to resolve all of his own self-inflicted debt with a far-fetched game of chance, all was forgiven. What this movie could have used was a more tragic Hamlet inspired ending with Wahlberg achieving a self-realisation at a moment too late to resolve the destruction that his actions would inevitably bring upon himself and others. I could have used a ‘finding yourself screws everyone around you’ message. But that might have been asking too much.

Constantine Cancellation

The cancellation of Constantine after a 13 episode first series arrived before I had even watched the first episode. As I sat to watch the series, I knew that there was not going to be a second. I knew that I was watching a discontinued series and that no matter how much I enjoyed it, there would be no more. It was this aspect of finality that I found most fitting and conducive to the character of Constantine.

The character is great. In a world of anti-heroes, here is a character who makes you smile at flouting the rules and feel content at the resolution he provides. A balance between being a hero and being a complete tosser is effectively maintained. He is self-righteous and arrogant with an egotistical sense of self-interest. The character is evidence of environment effecting character. Matt Ryan does a great job of portraying Constantine in appearance, attitude and accent. However, the cancellation seems reasonably well deserved. While the supporting cast are good, the characters they portray are either too conflicted (Papa Midnight) or just a bit boring (Zed).

SPOILERS AHEAD

The series follows the plot of the Keanu Reeves film with Manny the angel bringing ultimate evil to Earth, or, at least he would have if there had been a second series. I could have gone for a Fringe season 5 or Walking Dead scenario. Forget all this trying not to let the ultimate evil take us over. Let’s start with the ultimate evil, completely change the supposedly contemporary scenario and see where the characters go. Instead of having Constantine fighting against the rising evil, let’s have him try to fight for a rising goodness. Change the context, because when it comes down the reason why it got cancelled, it didn’t do anything new. Whether you are looking at the plotlines or filming, the series relies on you having watched every other supernatural crime drama and consequently lacked a self-definition that would validate its existence.

Take other comic book TV shows: Gotham, Daredevil and Arrow. Gotham gives us a pre-Batman world focused (supposedly) on Jim Gordon before he takes the role we all know him for: Commission and advocate of Batman. Daredevil gives us an origin story of both a hero and a villain presented with some amazing cinematic sequences. Arrow presents a lesser known comic book character and changes the dynamics you might have known even if you had read the comics. Does anyone actually say ‘the Green Arrow’ at anytime in the whole series?

Worst of all was the final episode. For a season finale it was poor. Light on anything but a heart struck hill-billy with a devil fetish. It seems like they knew they had been cancelled and just gave up. I would have expected the opposite, if you knew this was the end, let’s make is big, brass and exciting. As for Manny’s final confession of his evil intentions to Papa Midnight, who cares?

And unfortunately, when it comes down to it, that’s the best that can be said for Constantine.