Who the F*** Are the Suicide Squad?!?! (Part 3 of 3)

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“Grrrr!!!!”

So it’s finally come to this. The last four members of the Suicide Squad (Or, as it’s officially known, Task Force X), three of whom are probably going to be the main focus of the movie (Because shoving more than three origin stories into one movie might be kinda impossible).

For those of you who missed them, Parts 1 and 2 can be found here and here, respectively. Let’s go ahead and get going with the biggest stereotype on the team…

George Harkness/Captain Boomerang

What the hell is wrong with his hair?

First appearance: Flash #117 (December 1960)

Created by: John Broome, Carmine Infantino

Portrayed by: Jai Courtney (Spartacus: Blood and SandUnbroken, Jack Reacher)

Other portrayals: Donal Gibson (DC Animated Universe), John DiMaggio (Batman: The Brave and the Bold), Nick Tarabay (Arrow), James Patrick Stewart (Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox), Greg Ellis (Batman: Assault on Arkham)

Trying to find bright spots in Jai Courtney’s filmography is… Well, it’s something.

But-but who can forget his unforgettable turn in I, Frankenstein???

Anyways, George “Digger” Harkness was born in Kurrumburra, Australia, the illegitimate son of an American toymaker and an Australian woman. Harkness’ life in the wilds of small-town Australia was complete and utter shit, as he was growing up poor, and under the thumb of his abusive stepfather. Harkness turned to crime, committing robberies with the help of his trusty boomerang, a traditional Australian weapon that he had grown extremely proficient with, because what the fuck else are you supposed to do when you’re a teenager growing up in the Australian Bush?

Besides die horribly, I mean?

When a robbery goes horribly wrong, his stepfather kicks him out of the house, so his mom sends him to America to start over… And when he gets to the States, he immediately begins a career as a criminal, coming into conflict with the Rogues, a group of supervillains dedicated to taking down the Flash, and eventually the Suicide Squad.

While he is likely the least completely in sane of most iterations of the Squad, he shouldn’t be mistaken for a good person. He has little to no regard for human life (At one point leading his teammate, Mindboggler, to her death, solely because of petty differences), is just about completely amoral, and, if that wasn’t enough, he’s fond of sexual harassment, and is also overtly racist, making him one “That’s not a knife, this is a knife!” away from being the evilest possible version of Crocodile Dundee.

Hopefully, Jai Courtney is a better actor when he’s using his natural Australian dialect. I mean, he’s a Hollywood actor, there must be talent and charisma buried somewhere under the mountainous lack of appeal, right?

I’m being awfully critical for someone who doesn’t have the courage to use his real name online, aren’t I? I dunno, he’s probably a super nice guy.

Floyd Lawton/Deadshot

It could just be that I’m overly critical of Will Smith, but I’m actually surprised that he took a role that requires him to wear a mask for a good portion of screen time.

First appearance: Batman #59 (June 1950)

Created by: David Vern Reed, Lew Sayre Schwartz

Portrayed by: Will Smith (The Fresh Prince of– Oh, fuck this, if you don’t know who Will Smith is, why are you even here?)

Other portrayals: Michael Rosenbaum (DC Animated Universe), Tom Kenny (Batman: The Brave and the Bold), Bradley Stryker (Smallvile), Michael Rowe (Arrow), Jim Meskimen (Batman: Gotham Knight), Neal McDonough (Batman: Assault on Arkham), Chris Cox (Batman: Arkham City, Batman: Arkham Knight)

Unlike the majority of the Squaddies, Floyd Lawton had a fairly privileged upbringing, growing up with insanely wealthy parents and an older brother, Edward, whom he adored. While his parents also adored Edward, they neglected Floyd, treating him poorly, because you can’t have a member of the suicide squad without family issues, apparently. His dad, being a neglectful asshole, was cheating on his mom, so Mrs. Lawton, giving vindictiveness a whole new  ordered her sons to murder their dad. .While Floyd was appalled, and attempted to warn Mr. Lawton, Eddie was, disturbingly enough, all for it, locking Floyd in the bathroom and going off to do the deed.  By the time Floyd broke out of the room and grabbed his rifle, Eddie had already paralyzed his dad from the waist down. In the ensuing fit of rage, Floyd shot Eddie in the face. Psychologically disturbed by this incident (Duh), Floyd trained as a marksman, and became a master assassin, becoming a semi-frequent opponent of Batman’s, and a staple of the Suicide Squad.

While not as batshit insane or downright monstrous as the others, Deadshot is still fairly crazy, having an extremely short fuse, an indifference to the lives of the people he harms, and an intense hatred of Batman solely for being one of the few people to make him miss a shot.

… Yeah, kinda.

He also has an intense death wish, and it is suggested that the sole reason that he is a member of the Squad is because he secretly hopes that he will die as a result of a mission. And who says DC is dark?

Not me! That’s for fucking sure!!!

Lastly, if you’re one of those people who has an issue with Will Smith playing a character that is traditionally Caucasian, you need to seriously consider removing yourself from the gene pool for the good of humanity.

Harleen Quinzel/Harley Quinn

Get it? Her name, I mean? It’s okay, take your time, I’ve got all day.

First appearance: “Joker’s Favour” (Batman: The Animated Series)

Created by: Paul Dini, Bruce Timm

Portrayed by: Margot Robbie (Pan Am, The Wolf of Wall Street, Focus)

Other portrayals: Mia Sara (Birds of Prey), Hynden Walch (The Batman, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, Batman: Assault on Arkham) Meghan Strange (Batman: The Brave and the Bold), Tara Strong (Arrow, Justice League: Gods and Monsters Chronicles, Batman: Arkham City, Batman: Arkham Origins, Batman: Arkham Knight, Injustice: Gods Among Us), Arleen Sorkin (DC Animated Universe, Batman: Arkham Asylum)

The most effective poster girl for Hybristophilia since Bonnie Parker, Harley Quinn is a special case in that she didn’t actually debut in the comics. In fact, she debuted on the fantastic cartoon from the Nineties as Joker’s bubbly sidekick, and skyrocketed to prominence since then, for, uh, reasons.

Harley Quinn Vol 2 9 Textless

Ahem.

Born Harleen Quinzel in the city of Brooklyn (Her accent is as much a part of her character as insanity and a black-and-red colour motif, Harley excelled in her education, getting a job as a psychologist at Arkham Asylum in Gotham City, which is a place where most Batman villains go in between prison breaks. Why anybody would willingly move to Gotham City in the first place is belong me, but whatever.

Fascinated with psychopaths, she was naturally drawn to the biggest psycho of them all, the Joker. Convinced that he had been misdiagnosed by the other shrinks, Harley continually visited him, trying to get inside his brain and learn what makes him tick.

Always a good idea, obviously.

While Dr. Quinzel was smart, she wasn’t as smart as the Joker. Manipulating her with a couple of well-placed sob stories, she eventually felt so sorry for him that she fell hopelessly in love with him.

I mean, who wouldn’t?

Believing that they were meant to be together, Quinzel adopted a jester-like persona and helped bust Joker out of prison. Overjoyed, the Joker took her to Ace Chemicals, the place where he became the Joker, and shoved her into one of the same vats of unnamed chemicals that he fell into. The chemicals have a similar effect on her as well, colouring her hair, bleaching her skin, and driving her completely bananas. Becoming Joker’s sidekick, the reborn Quinzel adopted the moniker of Harley Quinn, and took her place by Joker’s side.

Get it? Like “harlequin”. Genius, I know.

Becoming Joker’s on-and-off girlfriend and sidekick, the newly christened Harley Quinn’s life became a cycle of ultraviolence and abuse, happily plotting and murdering with her “Puddin'” or “Mistah J” one day, while getting mentally abused and smacked around by him the next, even getting shoved out of a building by her homicidal boy toy at one point for trying to kill Batman without him.

Lately though, she’s established a separate identity from Mistah J, leaving him and becoming a little more morally ambiguous than straight-up evil since joining the Suicide Squad, though she’s still prone to the occasional murder spree.

She likes animals, weirdly enough.

Fun fact: Harley Quinn’s big-screen debut was originally supposed to come in the sequel to the infamous Batman & RobinBatman Triumphant. She was going to be the co-villain along with Scarecrow. This version of the character was written as being the daughter of Jack Nicholson’s Joker from Tim Burton’s Batman, who would’ve had cameos in Batman’s flashbacks (As a result of Scarecrow’s neurotoxin). After Batman & Robin ruined the franchise (At least until Batman Begins), Triumphant was cancelled.

That’s not all though: Do you know who was rumoured to be playing such a psychologically complex character?

Motherfucking Madonna.

Ha. No.

Amanda Waller

Oprah was originally in negotiations to play her, supposedly. Take that how you will, I guess.

First appearance: Legends #1 (November 1986)

Created by: John Ostrander, Len Wein, John Byrne

Portrayed by: Viola Davis (Doubt, The Help, How to Get Away With Murder)

Other portrayals: C.C.H. Pounder (DC Animated Universe, Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, Batman: Assault on Arkham, Batman: Arkham Origins), Sheryl Lee Ralph (Young Justice), Pam Grier (Smallville), Cynthia Addai-Robinson (Arrow), Penny Johnson Jerald (Justice League: Gods of Monsters), Angela Bassett (Green Lantern)

If this series of mine has taught you one thing, it’s that, aside from Katana and Rick Flag, the Suicide Squad are awful people. Murderers, psychopaths, even a cannibal that looks like a giant crocodile. And yet, the worst person out of them all may be their leader, a non-superpowered, physically unthreatening civilian named Amanda Waller.

Born in Chicago, Waller married young and had a large family with her husband. All was well until their son, a basketball prodigy, was murdered in a mugging, and their daughter was raped and killed in an alleyway on her way home from church. Her husband set out to find the rapist, and both men were killed in the process. Understandably hardened by this experience , Waller devoted herself to her studies, earning a political science degree and earning a job in politics. Working her way to the highest levels of the US government thanks to her ruthlessness and cruelty, Waller discovered the files of the very first Suicide Squad (The one that Rick Flag’s dad was a part of) and convinced the president to re-open the program. Waller essentially took control of Belle Reve Prison, and spirited away the more dangerous supervillains for use in the program. Fixing them with remote-controlled detonation devices to prevent rebellion, she forced the Squaddies to carry out black ops missions for the US government, assassinations and the sort, and in return, they would earn reduced sentences.

Will this origin be the same in the movie? Almost certainly not, but hey, this isn’t an exact science, this is just meant as kind of a background for the characters.

Speaking of them, there’s still a few actors (Scott Eastwood and Common among them) whose characters haven’t been announced, and at that time, I’ll do another profile for their characters, but until then,uh, (Insert appropriate quote from the trailer).

I know y’all are clamouring for that King Shark profile.

To be continued… Probably…

Who the F*** Are the Suicide Squad?!?! (Part 2 of 3)

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Why is El Diablo wearing a letterman jacket?

“Why Kenny” you may be asking, “What’s up with this horrid new background colour?”

My response: I don’t fucking know, why don’t you ask WordPress? They’re the ones who changed it without consulting me, and won’t let me change it without upgrading to WordPress Premium!

I spent two hours raging at the hand that feeds, even writing a couple snippy tweets to post @Wordpress  when I could’ve been writing this post or catching up on one of the many shows that I’m behind on (Follow me on Twitter here, please and thank you!!!).

Ah well, such is life. Part 1 (Where I talked about the ever-ubiquitous characters of El Diablo, Slipknot and Katana) can be found here if you missed that. For now, let’s just get on with it.

Rick Flag

Do they make turtleneck sweaters that tight?

First appearance: The Brave and the Bold #25 (1959)

Created by: Robert Kanigher and Ross Andru

Portrayed by: Joel Kinnaman (The Killing, RoboCop, Run All Night) (Fun fact: It was originally gonna be Tom Hardy, but he dropped out due to his commitment to The Revenant)

Other portrayals: Adam Baldwin (Justice League Unlimited, Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate) Ted Whittall (Smallville) Lex Lang (Justice League: The New Frontier)

There are a grand total of three Rick Flags in the DC Comic Universe, and as far as I know, it hasn’t been specified which one appears in Suicide Squad, exactly, but it’s a pretty safe assumption that the Rick Flag appearing into this movie is the second one, Rick Flag, Jr.

Flag’s dad, the original Ricky F, was the leader of an elite squadron of soldiers named the Suicide Squadron (No real relation). He married Sharon Race, and had a kid who, in a shocking turn of events, was also named Rick Flag. Little Ricky’s presumed happiness was short-lived when his mom was killed saving him from oncoming traffic, and his dad sacrificed himself to save an entire town from annihilation. Flag then devoted himself to the military, and was eventually recruited into the Suicide Squad.

And that’s the story of Rick Flag….. Or is it?

See, there’s a chance that Flag’s real name is actually Anthony Miller, and that he was tortured by General Wade Eiling (Another DC supervillain) and brainwashed into thinking that he’s the son of Rick Flag. So, yeah, intrigue!

Flag doesn’t have any superpowers, but he is in peak physical condition, and is a master soldier, pilot and has terrific leadership skills, being the field leader for the Suicide Squad until his character was phased out in recent years, replaced by Deadshot. He is not without his flaws, though, as he has a history of mental instability, even leading an entire Suicide Squad to their deaths during a poorly thought out mission. He doesn’t appear to be the field leader of this iteration of the Squad, due to him being both A) a lesser-known character in the comics nowadays and b) not Will Smith.

“No, it’s okay, I’ll take a supporting role in this summer blockbuster. I’ll just hang out here in the background.”- Not Will Smith, ever.

June Moon/Enchantress

And on your left, the face of Chanel!

First appearance: Strange Adventures #187 (April 1966)

Created by: Bob Haney, Howard Purcell

Portrayed by: Cara Delevingne (Paper Towns)

Other portrayals: N/A (Appeared sans lines in Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox)

Freelance artist June Moone was visiting a creepy old castle when she wandered into a place that should’ve been left well alone, where a strange being granted her magic powers. Taking hints from Shazam, the only way that she can summon her power is by saying the word “Enchantress”, upon which an unknown, malevolent entity known only as Enchantress takes control of her. While June Moon is a sweet, innocent human being, Enchantress is cruel and ruthless, taking joy in spreading fear and chaos throughout the world. After a couple stints as a hero, her amoral, power-hungry nature got her in a conflict with Supergirl, and she was portrayed as either a villain or, at best, a jerk anti-hero.

While Enchantress was a member of the Squad for a time, I don’t know if she’ll actually be part of the team in the movie, since she only appears with the other Squaddies in the one poster, and not at all during the trailer. We’ll see, I gue-OH MY GOD!!!!!

That thing is Enchantress, by the way. And the lil’ fella in the bottom left is Superman, profusely shitting himself.

Waylon Jones/Killer Croc

You don’t see the resemblance?

First appearance: Batman #357 (March 1983)

Created by: Gerry Conway and Gene Colan

Portrayed by:  Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (The Bourne Identity, Lost, Game of Thrones)

Other portrayals: Aron Kincaid (Batman: The Animated Series) Brooks Gardner (The New Batman Adventures) Ron Motherfucking Perlman (The Batman), Stephen Root (Batman: The Brave and the Bold), Wade Williams (Beware the Batman), Fred Tatasciore (Son of Batman), John DiMaggio (Batman Unlimited:Animal Instincts), Steven Blum (Batman: Arkham Asylum, Batman: Arkham City), Khary Payton (Batman: Arkham Origins)

Waylon Jones was a poor orphan from the slums of Tampa, Florida (Although he has occasionally been portrayed as being a Louisiana Cajun), so his upbringing would’ve been shitty enough even when you discount the fact that he was born with some sort of atavistic disorder that gave him a slightly reptilian appearance and personality. He moved in with his shithead aunt to Gotham City, which is a very slight step up from Tampa, I suppose.

Tampans, if you’re still sticking around, then you people are terrific sports, and I commend you for it.

His aunt bullied and abused him as a teen, so much so that he ended up murdering her, and turned to a life of crime. Repeated run-ins with Batman and multiple stays in the hellhole that is Arkham Asylum turned him into a hardened murderer. In addition to that loveliness, his atavism progressed to the point where he has crossed the line from “Human being that looks kinda scaly to- AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH!!!

“FUUUUUCK YOOOOOUUUU STEEEVE IIIIRWIIIIN!!!”

I’m so relevant.

Anyways, besides his appearance, another thing that changed was OH MY FUCKING GOD TROY TULOWITZKI IS A TORONTO BLUE JAY?!?!?! WHAT FUCKING PLANET AM I LIVING ON!?!?!?!

Ahem. Sorry. Sports stuff.

Anyways, Jones’ low intelligence and tendency for primitive behaviors manifested itself into sociopathy and a taste for human flesh. I challenge Warner Bros. to make THAT PG-13.

Next Time: Captain Boomerang, Deadshot, Harley Quinn, and Amanda Waller!!!

Quote of the Day- July 26, 2015

“Once there was only dark. You ask me, the light’s winning.”

– Rust Cohle, True Detective

His positive outlook changed dramatically once he learnt that he was being replaced by Vince Vaughn.

Who the F*** Are the Suicide Squad?!?! (Part 1 of 3)

Hot Topic is going to make a killing off of this movie.

During this year’s Comic-Con International presentations in San Diego, the world was set on fire by four different superhero movie trailers, one of which was released officially after the presentation, another of which was released officially after the trailer leaked, and the latter two, of which we only have blurry, shitty leaks to tide us over.

Get on it, Fox.

Considering the fact that the X-Men are a well known property, Deadpool has infected every facet of the internet and babies come into this world already knowing the origin stories of Batman and Superman, the comparative underdog, in terms of audience recognition, is the David Ayer-directed Suicide Squad, a movie about a group of supervillains named Task Force X who are recruited by a shady figure named Amanda Waller to do the government’s dirty work. That way, if they succeed, they get lessened jail sentences, but if they fail.. Well A) they’re probably already dead, and B) the government claims total innocence, as, you know, people just assume that the bad guys went on a rampage again, and the government remains blameless.

You’ll notice that I said “bad guys”, and not “charming anti-heroes”. This isn’t Guardians of the Galaxy. These people are psychopaths, murderers and all-around genuinely evil. It’s just that the guys they go up against are even worse.

Like this friendly fellow!

For proof of the fact that I’m not exaggerating that last point…

You will never hear the Bee Gees the same way ever again. You’re welcome.

The problem, in terms of mass appeal, anyways, is that a lot of these characters aren’t exactly superstars. In fact, some of them couldn’t really be considered Z-list. they’re that low on the totem pole.

Thankfully, for those of you who don’t have extensive comic book knowledge and haven’t gone ahead and Googled them yet, I have decided to do a quick three-part 101 on the members of the Suicide Squad, because content pays the damn bills (I wish), and I actually am a pretty big fan of some of these characters, at least. While I highly doubt that all of these backstories will be exactly the same in the movie, at the very least, this will provide a brief background of the characters.

With that said, let’s get the three most obscure of these guys out of the way first. Who we got here? King Shark? Black Spider? Catma-WHO THE FUCK IS THIS???

Slipknot/Christopher Weiss

I wasn’t kidding about these guys being obscure, was I?

First appearance: Fury of Firestorm #28 (October 1984)

Created by: Joey Cavalieri, Gerry Conway, Rafael Kayanan

Portrayed by: Adam Beach (Smoke Signals, Flags of Our Fathers, Arctic Air)

Other portrayals: N/A

Oy gevalt. What the fuck am I supposed to say about this guy other than he shares a name with a mediocre metal band that’s full of assholes (Look up their treatment of Jay Weinberg and Alessandro Venturella) and that he’s probably going to be the first one to die?

Okay, I guess I can just parrot the Wikipedia page.

Christopher Weiss was a chemist who used his talent with chemicals to develop trick ropes. He then became an assassin, and eventual member of the Suicide Squad, who used “trick ropes”, like the fourth-rate Hawkeye clone he is.

And considering that Hawkeye’s already a Green Arrow clone…

I do like that Adam Beach is playing him though, because A) he’s a fine actor despite Joe Dirt and B) It’s absolutely a good thing to have First Nations representation in a big Hollywood movie that isn’t caricaturized, or played by Johnny Depp.

Or some abominable combination of the two.

Katana/Tatsu Toro

Anybody care to guess where she’s from?

First appearance: The Brave and the Bold #200 (July 1983)

Created by: Mike W. Parr and Jim Aparo

Portrayed by: Karen Fukuhara (First film role)

Other portrayals: Vyvan Pham (Batman: The Brave and the Bold), Sumalee Montano (Beware the Batman), Rila Fukushima (Arrow)

Katana is actually probably the only one of these characters who could actually be considered a good person. In fact, she wasn’t actually affiliated with the Suicide Squad in the comics, although she was part of the Amanda-Waller-led Justice League of America as a counter to Wonder Woman.

Yeah. Good fucking luck with that, Tatsu-chan.

Anyways, Katana was born in Japan (Shocker, I know), and was an average Japanese girl, besides the fact that her parents made her get proficient in martial arts, because God forbid a girl learn self-defense of her own volition. Two brothers, Maseo and Takeo Yamashiro, both professed their love for her,  but, though she loved them both, she chose Maseo. While Tatsu and Maseo lived on happily, Takeo went through a downward spiral, joining the Yakuza and rising through the ranks, eventually receiving a pair of twin katana, with the ability to capture the soul of every being it kills and communicate with that soul.

To think that some people have received shit like this as a wedding present….

 One day, Takeo went to Maseo and Tatsu’s place and challenged his brother to a duel for Tatsu’s affections (Because DC Comics apparently thinks that Japan functions like a bad anime). In the ensuing battle, Tatsu defeated Takeo, but not before Takeo killed Maseo with the magic sword, and the happy couple’s house was burnt down, killing their twins, Reiko and Yuki. With nothing left for her in Japan, she ventures off, determined to use her lethal talents to fight for justice, along with Takeo’s magical sword, which is now possessed by the soul of her dead husband.

And with that, DC Comics proved that they can make a Japanese character that isn’t a horrifying caricature. Good job, fellas.

El Diablo/Chato Santana

That quote in the right panel is awesome, by the way.

First appearance: El Diablo vol. 3 #1

Created by: Jai Nitz, Phil Hester, Ande Parks

Portrayed by: Jay Hernandez (Crazy/Beautiful, Hostel, World Trade Center)

Other portrayals: N/A

So obscure, Jesus Christ.

Anyways, Chato Santana is an ex-criminal who possesses the power of pyrokinesis, that is, manipulation of fire. One day, when trying to collect on a debt owed to him by some gangbangers, Santana burnt down the scumbags’ apartment building, killing everybody inside. Upon learning of the many innocents who lost their lives, Santana quietly turned himself in to the police.

On Death Row, El Diablo (Literally “The Devil” in Spanish, for all one of you who didn’t know that before) was spirited away by Amanda Waller, where she tortured him to ensure total loyalty, and enlisted him in the Suicide Squad. You’ll find this to be a recurring theme among these characters, by the way.

Amanda Waller doesn’t fuck around. We’ll get to her later, though.

Next time: The not-so secret origins of Rick Flag, Enchantress and Killer Croc!!! OH, THANK GOD, THEY’RE ONLY SEMI-OBSCURE!!!

Ant-Man (Movie Review)

“They’ve done studies, you know. 60% of the time, it shrinks… every time!

When this movie inevitably dominates the box office, we all need to learn to stop doubting the film potential of the bottom of Marvel’s barrel. Really, Guardians of the Galaxy should’ve been the first hint that we should stop being so damn cynical about unknown IP’s anyways.

 Ant-Man

Directed by: Peyton Reed

Produced by: Kevin Feige

Screenplay by: Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish, Adam McKay, Paul Rudd

Story by: Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish

Genres: Superhero, Heist comedy

Based on: Ant-Man by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby

Starring: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll, Bobby Cannavale, Michael Pena, T.I.

Music by: Christophe Beck

Plot: After serving several years of a jail sentence for breaking into his corrupt ex-employer’s home and wrecking his car, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) just wants to go straight and spend time with his estranged daughter, who loves him to death. Unfortunately, Lang’s ex-wife (Judy Greer) and her new husband (Bobby Cannavale) won’t let him see her until he proves that he can lead a stable life, which is tough to do when you’re a convicted felon who nobody will hire after spending three years in San Quentin. Who knew, right?

Down on his luck, Lang meets a retired, genius scientist named Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) who wants him to to utilize his excellent burglary skills (As well as a suit that allows him to shrink to the size of a motherfucking ant) in order to break into Pym’s old company and stop the new owner, Darren Cross (Corey Stoll), from weaponizing a similar technology to the Ant-Man suit and selling it to less-than savoury criminal elements.

It would be an understatement to say that the announcement of a film based on a Marvel D-lister like Ant-Man caught some people off guard.

He’s not even one of the cool D-listers.

Even more bizarre was the announcement of the director: Edgar Wright, the near-genius behind the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy an Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, which are both must-see comedies, in my correct opinion.

I fucking adore this scene.

Fanboys the world over were were intrigued by this tantalizing possibility for a potentially totally different superhero movie in a genre that is prone to serious repetition over time.

And then, Wright got shit-canned over creative differences and was replaced by the director of Yes Man.

The tremendous success of Guardians of the Galaxy restored some faith in Marvel’s ability to sell its second (Or third, or fourth, or fifth…) string character, but what if that was just lightning in a bottle? What if the production problems behind the screen were too much for Paul Rudd and the Wright-penned script to overcome?

Well, as Box Office Mojo and Rotten Tomatoes can testify, superhero fans probably aren’t giving the Marvel Machine enough credit.

Just to be clear, I’m not saying that the fact that this movie essentially had two directors and two sets of writers (Wright/Cornish and Rudd/McKay) doesn’t affect the movie, because it does. During the first act of Ant-Man, it feels either disoriented or slow. It was very entertaining, sure, but I couldn’t help feeling like it was taking too much time to get to the cool action and humour, while it was focusing too long on Paul /rudd’s relationship with his daughter (Who, I swear, was genetically engineered in a lab somewhere in order to create the most adorable kid ever). It’s not bad, per se, it just gets to the point where the obligatory establishment of Scott’s flawed family dynamic kind of wears out its welcome.

That isn’t to say that it’s poorly written, though. I mean, the story’s predictable as hell, but the character dialogue is very, very entertaining. Marvel movies have always been funny, but the humour has always taken a backseat to the superheroing. Ant-Man is a straight-up heist comedy. Think Ocean’s Eleven meets Iron Man. Now, think of a movie that’s exactly as awesome as that sounds.

Ant-Man is consistently funny, as well as downright hilarious on several occasions, without stepping on the more dramatic or action-oriented moments.

Of course, a script as sharp as this one is really only as effective as its cast and, thankfully, they all brought their A-game (With one exception that we’ll get to later). Much like Chris Pratt in Guardians of the Galaxy, Paul Rudd brings plenty of energy, humour and charisma , which, y’know, is to be expected from the Sex Panther himself, but he also establishes himself as a convincing superhero. Admittedly, the fact that this movie makes use of a lot of CGI helps (Albeit, not nearly as much as the other MCU productions), but the point is, I definitely bought him as Ant-Man. There, I said it. I buy Paul Rudd as the goddamn Ant-Man.

There’s another thing to add to the list of things most people never expect to say in their lifetime.

Evangeline Lilly (Kate from Lost) does a fine job as Hope Van Dyne, Hank Pym’s daughter, though I can’t help but feel that she could’ve been utilized a bit more. She’s a good, solid actress and it’s nice that she’s getting a fairly prominent role in this enormous franchise. Michael Pena (Anybody know how to put the Spanish accent on the N? I’m too lazy to look it up) is downright hilarious, especially in one scene that seems very Edgar-Wright-esque to me (I won’t spoil it). He gets some good chemistry going with Rudd and his criminal buddies, David Dastmalchian and T.I., who are both great, and get some good lines in, never mind the fact that one is unknown and the other is, you know, a rapper.

With all due respect to 50 Cent.

Actually, fuck 50 Cent. That guy’s a skeeve.

It would’ve been easy for Michael Douglas to phone this one in, but he also brings it to this one, serving as the emotional lightning rod of the movie, and he even gets a few badass moments of his own.

Wow, I’m just realizing now that this is the first Marvel movie in a while whose main characters are mostly normal, non-powered people.

One of the reasons Ant-Man is so obscure is that his power set isn’t exactly the sexiest. Sure, he’s a founding Avenger (In the comics), but compared to, say, Hulk or Thor, the power to shrink to the size of a dime isn’t the most appealing, so this movie really had to sell me on that skill set. Specifically, by not simply copying/pasting the effects from Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.

Whatever happened to Rick Moranis, anyways?

I had no reason to fear, though, because the visual effects are excellent. At only one or two points did I feel like the CGI was a bit more noticeable than it should’ve been, and believability is extremely important when the entire premise of the movie is Paul Rudd shrinking to the size of an M&M and interacting with CG insects. Thankfully, the shrinking mechanism (Heh) works absolutely seamlessly, and makes for some extremely creative action scenes that prove that even a hero with as “boring” a skill set as Ant-Man’s can be a total badass.

On an unrelated note, is Judy Greer just shooting for forgettable ancillary characters now?

I didn’t say that, I’m just saying your career choices have been- Ah, fuck it. Moving on.

Unfortunately, my biggest problem with the film (And it is a pretty big one) is the villain, Yellowjacket.

Okay, this is completely unrelated, and you can skip this section of bold text if you really want, but the geek in me can’t resist talking about this. 

So, Scott Lang is this movie’s Ant-Man, but the original Ant-Man (In both the comics and the movie) is Hank Pym, and, in the comics, he’s a founding Avenger, being about the same age as, say, Tony Stark. While his original moniker was Ant-Man, he eventually learned to grow to enormous sizes, and adopted the name Giant-Man, and then Goliath. When he was going through some issues (His guilt over creating Ultron, both his bipolar disorder and heart problems due to prolonged exposure to the particles that give him his power) he adopted the name Yellowjacket (Darren Cross is an entirely different character from Yellowjacket in the comics). It was during this period that he left his most notable mark on comic book hist- OH MY GOD!!!

Who says DC has all the dark, disturbed heroes?

And now you see why they maybe didn’t use Hank Pym as the protagonist. Moving right along!!!

Corey Stoll’s performance is over-the-top, which is fine, but i’d rather that energy be spent on an entertaining villain. This character. Just. Does. Not. Do it for me. After Ultron, Marvel appears to be receding back into Generic Boring Villain Syndrome again. All that I said before about this movie being well-written doesn’t really apply to Yellowjacket. I guess, if you’re not tired of the “Unstable genius wants to be evil for some unspecified reason) trope, then Darren Cross might do it for you. If not, then, well, he’s probably not what you came to see, anyways.

Cool character design, though.

Overall; A refreshing take on the genre amidst the aliens, robots and explosions, Ant-Man is perfect for those who may be going through a dreaded case of superhero fatigue.

Rating: 8.0/10

Next from Marvel: Squirrel Girl- The Movie!!!

Quote of the Day- July 18, 2015

Look outside the window, there’s a woman being grabbed
They’ve dragged her to the bushes and now she’s being stabbed
Maybe we should call the cops and try to stop the pain
But Monopoly is so much fun, I’d hate to blow the game.

— Phil Ochs, “Outside of a Small Circle of Friends”

You know, in case you were feeling good about humanity, for some reason.