2016, oh how we lament thee… ’tis been a rollercoaster of a year it has to be said, the world outside of the Precinct’s impenetrably darkened walls has seen many moments of both grief and utterly incredulous disbelief (as an example of this, being a Brit, I am still astonished that the larger populace of my home actually voted for Brexit!?) Some well loved and talented individuals passed away, and the political climate across the globe has shifted in a rather uncomfortable direction. Now more than ever we really need our alternate realities to hide in, be that comic books, movies or video-games and for this at least, 2016 was a great year.
2016, for me, was the year that I had been waiting for since I was six years old… as my beloved DC Superheroes finally burst forth from their comic book shackles, and onto the silver screen. Sure we’ve had plenty of movies throughout the decades that have brought us DC’s big two… Batman and Superman, and quite a few of them have been amazing, but the scale that DC have thrown their much loved characters onto the big screen this year has been literally stratospheric.
These Were Our Favourite Moments From 2016:
Bats and Supes Had A Disagreement…
The Year began with a disagreement between The Dark Knight and The Man Of Steel. In March the world’s two biggest Superheroes clashed head on in Warner Bros and Zack Snyder’s epic ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ and it was awe inspiring. Forget what the critics said, the film is a deep and psychological look at how the world would react to Super-humans amongst them, but for all it’s depth, it was also an outstandingly awesome action movie with stand-out turns from Ben Affleck as Batman, and the unforgettable big screen debut of the Themysciran Titan – Wonder Woman, a role actress Gal Gadot seemed born to play.
Suicide Squad Broke Their Bonds…
In August Task Force X escaped from their well deserved incarceration in Belle Reve penitentiary to inflict all kinds of mayhem and mirth at the cinemas in David Ayer’s spectacularly fun take on DC’s ‘Suicide Squad’. John Ostrander’s classic comic book series about a group of Supervillains and disgraced Superheroes who are recruited by the Government for fully deniable black ops tasks in return for clemency was masterfully translated to the big screen by Ayer. With an eclectic cast of characters, an overtly powerful and enigmatic antagonist, and great performances from Jared Leto, Margot Robbie and Will Smith, this is an exemplary exercise in bringing a comic book series to vivid life (and Batman’s in it… and you can never have too much Batman!)
The Phantom Turned 80…
2016 marked the astonishing 80th anniversary of Lee Falk’s genre defining Superhero ‘The Phantom’, it was The Ghost Who Walks who first donned a mask and colourful costume to fight an eternal and ceaseless battle against corruption and injustice with only his quick wits, martial skills and faithful companions; Devil his pet wolf and Ghost his trusty white steed. The Phenomenal Phantom was the progenitor of what later became a deluge of Superheroes and preceded peers Batman and Superman by a full two years.
Wondy Celebrated Her Anniversary…
It’s been an awesome 75 years since Diana of Themyscira first burst onto the scene, wielding her golden lasso of truth and inspiring female empowerment and emancipation, Wonder Woman has proven to be the most important fictional female ever wrought. 2016 not only marked her 75th anniversary but also her big screen debut in Batman v Superman, and she was a huge highlight of that exceptional movie, and with her own solo movie set to appear at cinemas in mid 2017, there appears to be nothing stopping our immortal idol from ruling the roost for another seventy five…
The DC Universe Was Reborn…
May 2016 marked a humongous relaunch of DC Comics’ entire line of monthly comic books aptly named ‘Rebirth’. It was primarily intended to return the DC Universe to a time prior to ‘Flashpoint’, a time paradox storyline that altered DC’s timeline and led into the 2011 ‘New 52’ reboot. The reboot itself was divisive amongst fans and some creators alike, and though initial sales were strong, the titles began to lapse in sales as fans yearned for their favourite heroes previous incarnations pre-52.
Rather than a reboot though, Rebirth was more of a soft relaunch retaining much of the history and happenings of the New 52 continuity, but returning characters back to their more popular personas prior to the paradox. And it’s been a hit! Rebirth has proven so popular that DC Comics for the first time in many a year has been soundly thrashing it’s closest rival Marvel in sales month in and out. Detective Comics, Wonder Woman, and Red Hood and the Outlaws have been stand out the best of these for this particular DC fanboy, but all titles have been fantastically written and engrossing, with both superstar veteran creators and upcoming stars scrabbling to join the DC Rebirth fold.
Happy New Year To All Our Followers, Special Agents, Readers And Everyone Else, 2017 Is Set To Be Even Bigger For DC With The Highly Anticipated Wonder Woman And Justice League Movies, Not To Mention Yet More Marvellous Comics From The Rebirth Line, Kicking Off With Batwoman Rebirth In March, Until Then… Make Mine DC!
Misfits and malcontents, killers and crazies, this uniquely sums up the members of Task Force X, the Government funded black ops team of incarcerated Supervillains given a chance for clemency if they agree to take on secret missions so dangerous, that they are essentially deemed suicidal.
Cast: Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, Viola Davis, Joel Kinnaman, Cara Delevingne, Karen Fukuhara, Jay Hernandez, Jai Courtney, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje. Written and Directed by: David Ayer.
Award winning director David Ayer presents us with, very possibly, the most fun and over the top comic-book movie of all time. Suicide Squad quite literally is a blast, from zany start to action packed finish, at times it’s like a live action Warner Bros cartoon, and it’s all the better for it. Ayer expertly shows everyone how to adapt a well loved, violently recalcitrant and anti-authoritarian comic book onto the big screen and make it an exquisitely enjoyable experience.
The one thing that makes this cinematic excursion unique amongst its peers, is the virtual lack of actual Superheroes, unlike it’s filmic kin, Suicide Squad follows the path of the bad guys, the worst of the worst. That’s not to say that the movie completely lacks the capes and cowls of previous comic-book adaptations, both Batman and The Flash make very brief appearances, but are used primarily as a plot device to introduce us to the real stars of the show… the Supervillains.
Let’s get straight to the most important part of the movie, the miscreants themselves, and with this in mind the most divisive, but one of the most impressive performances is Jared Leto’s take on the The Clown Prince of Crime. Jared’s Joker is an unpredictable and dangerous sociopath, in context to Heath Ledger’s (equally impressive) take, Leto’s rendering feels a lot more deranged and murderous, much more akin to the comic-book original. And though his time in the movie is short, he shines brightly with homicidal intent.
The rest of the cast consists of seasoned actors and relative newcomers to the fine art of the thespian, chief amongst these is Will Smith’s rendition of the world’s greatest assassin (and Batman foe) Deadshot. His performance is both heavily dramatic, but also highly comedic, a blend that only someone of Smith’s consummate acting skill could pull off, he nails the character perfectly and is without a doubt a huge highlight of the film.
Margot Robbie as the irascible and psychotic Harley Quinn is a joy to behold, capturing the absolute crazy essence of the character and injecting a small amount of pathos in for good measure, when she and her ‘Puddin’ The Joker share the screen together the atmosphere is absolutely electric.
And backing up this terrific trio are an eclectic and entertaining group of characters, with Viola Davis’ turn as Amanda ‘The Wall’ Waller being a particular stand-out. Like her comic-book counterpart, Task Force x‘s creator Waller, is a no nonsense, hard edged and duplicitous persona and is fundamentally more amoral, than any member of her Suicide Squad.
Jay Hernandez must also be complimented for his turn as El Diablo, Suicide Squad’s second most powerful member (after Cara Delevingne’s Enchantress) who harbours a dark and tragic secret so painful, that he refuses to use his powers to hurt anyone.
And lest we forget, Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang who elicits more than a few laughs as the Squad’s resident antipodean Supervillain. Karen Fukuhara as Katana, hired by Waller to keep the Squad members in line (and ultimately end them, should they leave said line) Cara Delevingne as The Enchantress, an ancient and insanely powerful Witch who possesses the body of June Moone, the girlfriend of the Suicide Squad’s appointed leader Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) and not forgetting man-beast and constant thorn in the Dark Knight’s side, Killer Croc, ferociously played by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje.
David Ayer’s Suicide Squad ably captures the look and feel of the original comic-book series, in fact original Squad creator, the legendary John Ostrander hails it as an accurate and masterful recreation of his source material, and that is high praise indeed. For all the mixed reviews it has so far received, once again fans and movie lovers have ignored the critics and have turned out in their droves to support the film. It is currently the biggest movie on the planet, and box office takings have been huge easily surpassing other recent comic-book adaptations including Captain America: Civil War and Guardians of the Galaxy.
Fun, silly, over the top, and reverential to it’s source… Suicide Squad is a must watch!