Film Reviews

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August 11, 2016

Episode 058 - Suicide Squad’s Stutter Step

Following off the heels of our completely unscripted episode, this week we've got a LOT of content to cover... so much that, for the first time ever, we welcome two different guests at the same time! The first you remember from our Deadpool episode, he has a YouTube channel called "Dan Sucks at Video Games" and we're thrilled to have him back- Mr. Dan Brenic is here! Dan will also be starting his own podcast soon with another of our sponsors, Caleb, called the Netflix n' Swill Podcast. Follow them on twitter @NetflixNSwill and find them on facebook. We're also happy to welcome a long-time friend of the show, Kevin Sampson from Picture Lock! Justin was on Picture Lock some months back and did a review of The Neon Demon for Picture Lock Radio. 

This week, the big subject on everyone's mind is Suicide Squad! Yet another DCEU film has opened to a negative critical reception and a mixed fan reaction, and it has led to such things as attempted boycotting of Rotten Tomatoes and Warner Brothers, and Jared Leto has said there is enough Joker footage cut from Suicide Squad to make an entire Joker movie! We also know this isn't the film that theater owners and some fans had the chance to see back in May, which has led to a great deal of discussion about an "ultimate edition" of Suicide Squad as well, given the reaction to the BvS UE when it came out last month.

We're diving in and discussing everything this week- a full review of the film, a full discussion of the rumored "film that was," and talking about the future of the DCEU. No matter the reactions of some fans to the critics, it stands to reason that DC and WB cannot keep making films that are critically reviled and expect to stay financially viable, especially in light of the success (critically and commercially) of the Marvel cinematic universe. We'll also be delving into another round of Fanviews as our fans have voiced their opinions about Suicide Squad as well- and a ton of other fun surprises! Thanks very much for listening, and we'll see you at the movies!

Nick's Full Suicide Squad Review:

"All that chit-chat's gonna getcha hurt!" This is one of only a few scenes in David Ayer's Suicide Squad to feature the Joker, a character lost in a film whose ineptitude is mind-numbing. Coming off the critical drubbing that Batman v Superman received earlier this year, Warner Brothers went into panic mode, ordering a number of extensive reshoots to Ayer's Suicide Squad meant to brighten the film amid complaints that BvS was "too dark." Now that Suicide Squad itself has received a critical thrashing, one can't help but wonder if the artists behind BvS and SS are taking the brunt of the blame for meddling by nervous WB executives who are eager to catch up to Marvel in terms of quality, and more important, box office grosses. But I digress.

Suicide Squad is a disaster. It is DC's piss-poor attempt at doing the Marvel formula worse than Marvel could ever have tried. It attempts to force humor into dark subject matter, from dropping pop-y hits and classic songs throughout the first 1/3 of the film to try to lighten the mood as well as dropping Zombieland-esque text promts on-screen as a way of developing characters instead of letting the film do that for them. It opens as Amanda Waller (Viola Davis, a shining beacon as always) meets a government stooge at dinner and attempts to pitch her idea for "Task Force X," something she apparently tried to do prior to the death of Superman (in BvS), but now feels that it is more important than ever. This sequence is saddled with excruciatingly long flashbacks in which we get backstories for several major characters, including Deadshot (Will Smith) and Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), and an actually-palatable Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang. 

The cast in this film is fantastic, and that cannot be emphasized enough. These actors all showed up and acted their butts off- with a scant few exceptions- and it feels as though the production, or the studio, or something else failed them. Ayer's attention to character detail is as clear as day here. Everyone is fantastically cast, but the notable standouts in the cast are Viola Davis, who is amazing as the manipulative Waller, and Will Smith as Deadshot, who actually dials in a great performance as the man who never misses. Most reviews have lavished attention on Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn, and she is set up to steal every scene she's in- most of which she does, to great effect- but her accent is uneven throughout the film and it is distracting (likely a result of coming back for reshoots, as it is only in some scenes). Joel Kinnaman is also a standout as Flag, and while the visualization of Enchantress was wonderful, Cara Delevingne really didn't have much to work with here. The film absolutely wastes a brilliant Jay Hernandez as Diablo, never really getting into the depths of this incredibly complex character. It similarly wastes the talents of Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje by burying him under heavy makeup and having him say a gravelly quip now and again. 

Jared Leto's Joker does NOT belong in this film. While this may earn some scorn, whatever role he was supposed to fulfill in this story was completely absent. Half of the time he showed up was in flashbacks for Harley Quinn's origin story, and the rest of the time it was some contrived mission to try to rescue Harley. Given the rumors that much of his screentime was cut in the final film, it is impossible to ignore them- he had a much bigger role and was to have a significant side plot running simultaneously with the A-plot, but most of this was eradicated, and half of the time it isn't even apparent he's in the movie at all until he returns. What is left is merely a distraction from the main plot of the film and not necessary, and in fact hogs several of the precious 123 minutes this story needed to develop itself. He'd have been better left on the cutting room floor altogether, rather than give us an interesting but ultimately fruitless taste of the iconic villain.

The film eventually limps its way into something of a plot, as the titular squad are assembled to fight down a massive threat. The second half of the film works better than the first half, since it actually develops some relationships between these villains, all of whom are constantly looking out for themselves (which was excellently done). The villain is a sack of wet dishrags and about as interesting- it is reminiscent of those in the MCU such as the vapid waste of space Christopher Eccleston played in Thor the Dark World. Absolutely no time is spent developing the character, showing that they are even remotely a threat, as even with fantastical powers the villain does mostly nothing with them and then flat-out ignores these powers during the final showdown because they're fighting against the main characters in the film. 

Even with a great cast, with a great director in Ayer and a great visual feel from he and cinematographer Roman Vasyanov, the film simply falls in on itself. It forces needless backstory down the audience's throat in place of actual development for its characters so they are merely a list of criminal misdeeds rather than living, breathing characters in the DCEU. The film should have started with the Squad assembled and going on the mission, and then- as their relationships with one another and with Waller grew- explored the reason they ended up on the Squad in the first place, and how Waller manipulated them to that end. With a film THIS character-heavy, development of those characters and their relationships is even more important than a normal film. One can only hope that WB gives Ayer a chance to go back into the editing room with John Gilroy and turn out something that is even remotely acceptable, because this absolutely is not it. Four out of ten stars.

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Dan Brenic is a great friend of mine who is currently failing his way through classic video games in his series, "Dan Sucks at Video Games." Find the series on YouTube and subscribe to him at You can also follow him on twitter @danofaction.

Netflix N' Swill is a new podcast coming from two sponsors and friends of the show, Dan Brenic and Caleb Brownley. On their show, they'll drink alcohol and boozily discuss the good, bad, and ugly things on Netflix. Follow them on Facebook & Twitter @NetflixNSwill. 

Picture Lock is a film review show hosted by Kevin Sampson that airs in the DC/Virginia area on WERA 96.7FM Radio Arlington. You can find their TV show over at, and you can subscribe to the podcast at Follow them on twitter @PictureLockShow.

Promos this week:

Check out our good friends, Wayne and Paul, on the Countdown Movie and TV reviews podcast! Find them and rate them on iTunes at I had the pleasure of filling in for Wayne these past few weeks, and I had a blast! Follow them on twitter @thecountdownpc. 

The Afterburn739 podcast comes to you live from Scrish bar! The "Seinfeld of Podcasts" will make you laugh as Kitty, Leo, Midge, Cobra, & Fez discuss random adventures, pop culture, current events, and whatever other wacky things they happen upon that week. One listen and you'll be a regular! Check them out at Follow them on twitter @afterburn739. 

No Soundbytes Allowed is a political podcast from Michael Vasquez where he talks about politics on a national, state, and local level. Find his show at and follow him on twitter @MVConsult. 

Self-described as a "rocket powered shit show bus," Everyone Has a Podcast is hosted by Adam and Byron out of Alberta, Canada. Adam's hobbies include "Mailing animal shit to the Westborough Baptist Church." Check them out at, and find them on twitter @EHAPPodcast.

FYFCast is the premiere podcast of the FYFCast podcast network talking UFC, NFL, movies, music and bullshit! Find them on iTunes at

One of the most entertaining shows on the web. Rick and Paul will take the world's problems one by one and they'll heal them! From art, to exercise, sleep, and Christmas shopping and more. Find them at! Find them on twitter @RickAndPaul.

We'd like to Thank:

Our heartfelt thanks go out to our supporters: Jarrod, Dan, Emily, Caleb, and Robert! If you'd like to become an Epic Film Guys supporter please go to and follow the link there to our crowdfunding page. A pledge of any amount will earn you a shout-out in our "supporters" segment. See the website for other sponsorship rewards!

Other Tidbits:

Please take a moment and visit and support my friends Brian and Kim by buying their book! It is personalized with the child's name, and is an adorable story with original artwork. Please help share the love for them! 

This week's Dose of Dangerfield:

Intro: "This is My World" by Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL. All Rights reserved.

Tracks from the Suicide Squad Soundtrack by Steven Price. All Rights reserved.

Outro: "Far Beyond the Sun" by Yngwie Malmsteen. All Rights reserved.

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