FILM REVIEW | Suicide Squad and Independence Day: Resurgence

FILM REVIEW | Suicide Squad and Independence Day: Resurgence
Reviews by Mark David Major

Suicide Squad (2016)
Starring Will Smith, Jared Leto, Viola Davis, and Margot Robbie
Written and Directed by David Ayer

(Film blurb begins) From director David Ayer comes Suicide Squad, starring Oscar nominee Will Smith, Oscar winner Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, Joel Kinnaman, and Oscar nominee Viola Davis. It feels good to be bad… Assemble a team of the world’s most dangerous, incarcerated Super Villains, provide them with the most powerful arsenal at the government’s disposal, and send them off on a mission to defeat an enigmatic, insuperable entity. U.S. intelligence officer Amanda Waller has determined only a secretly convened group of disparate, despicable individuals with next to nothing to lose will do. However, once they realize they weren’t picked to succeed but chosen for their patent culpability when they inevitably fail, will the Suicide Squad resolve to die trying, or decide it’s every man for himself? (Film blurb ends)

I thought Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice did not make any sense but then I saw Suicide Squad (2016). Now, I have to completely re-evaluate my concept of ‘not making sense.’ Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn is the most interesting and funniest ‘bad guy’ in this film but almost all of her best lines/scenes were already spoiled in the trailers (just like DC Comics). Jared Leto’s Joker had potential but the metal grill teeth is a huge visual distraction. There is not much else of interest (directing, acting, story, etc.) in this film and a loaded soundtrack (Queen, Rolling Stones, Eminem, etc.) cannot cover the numerous flaws. Mark’s Grade: D

Independence Day: Resurgence (2016)
Starring Liam Hemsworth, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Maika Monroe, and William Fichtner
Written by Seven People; Directed by Roland Emmerich

(Film blurb begins) We always knew they were coming back. After Independence Day redefined the event movie genre (Reviewer’s note: not really), the next epic chapter delivers global catastrophe on an unimaginable scale. Using recovered alien technology, the nations of Earth have collaborated on an immense defense program to protect the planet. But nothing can prepare us for the aliens’ advanced and unprecedented force. Only the ingenuity of a few brave men and women can bring our world back from the brink of extinction. (Film blurb ends)

Is Independence Day: Resurgence (2016) as bad as the critics say? No. Is it a good film? Well, no but it is not a horrible film, either. Resurgence is just as silly as the original, perhaps even more so. For example, Judd Hirsch’s character somehow manages to drive cross-country from the U.S. East Coast to Area 51 in Nevada in a matter of hours. The real problem with Independence Day: Resurgence is the new, younger cast members are so bland. In 1996, characters masked fear of extinction with naive arrogance (Will Smith, Bill Pullman) or obvious insanity (Randy Quaid). In this film, younger characters mask fear with even heavier doses of somberness. It is boring. Liam Hemsworth is the only new addition who escapes the film with some credibility. Maika Monroe is a huge disappointment (especially after her performance as Ringer in The 5th Wave). Jessie T. Usher as Will Smith’s son is plain awful. So it is left to the older, returning characters to inject some life (such as it is) into this film like Jeff Goldblum, William Fichtner, and Brent Spiner. Charlotte Gainsbourg as an older, romantic interest for Goldblum’s character is actually the most interesting new character. There is not nearly enough humor in evidence to keep a silly, popcorn film like this afloat. Resurgence has seven credits for the script. In keeping with the themes of Independence Day (everything plus the kitchen sink), when you have seven scriptwriters, you might as well get seven more and throw in couple of comedians as well. The film needed the help. It is still watchable but… Mark’s Grade: C-

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