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New Escapist Video! On What Makes “The Suicide Squad” the Year’s Best Blockbuster…

So, as I have mentioned before, I am doing some film critic work at The Escapist. Part of that includes long-form video criticism, such as this piece which is now available to watch at YouTube, editted by the wonderful Matt Laughlin, looking at what makes The Suicide Squad the best blockbuster of the year to date.

New Escapist Video! On What Makes “The Suicide Squad” the Year’s Best Blockbuster…

So, as I have mentioned before, I am doing some film critic work at The Escapist. Part of that includes long-form video criticism, such as this piece which is now available to watch at The Escapist, editted by the wonderful Matt Laughlin, looking at what makes The Suicide Squad the best blockbuster of the year to date.

New Escapist Video! On How “The Suicide Squad” Uses Idris Elba…

So, as I have mentioned before, I am launching a new video series as a companion piece to In the Frame at The Escapist. The video will typically launch with every second Monday’s article, and be released on the magazine’s YouTube channel the following week. This is kinda cool, because we’re helping relaunch the magazine’s film content – so if you can throw a subscription our way, it would mean a lot.

With the release of The Suicide Squad last week, it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look at one of the things that the film did very well. In particular, the movie used its lead actor to great effect. The Suicide Squad is a movie that understands Idris Elba’s movie star persona and understands how it enhances the general mood of the film around it.

New Escapist Column! On How “The Suicide Squad” Uses Idris Elba…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. With the release of The Suicide Squad, it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look at one of the keys to the film’s success. James Gunn understands how to use Idris Elba as a leading man.

Movie stardom is a fascinating concept. So much of what makes a particular person a movie star is ineffable. It is hard to quantify or gauge. It can also be difficult to harness with intent and purpose. This is particularly true in an era where Hollywood seems to be moving away from movie stars, and films like Jungle Cruise seem to struggle against their leads’ screen personas. However, part of what makes The Suicide Squad so effective is that it understands exactly what makes Idris Elba so compelling as a screen presence, and finds a way to play into that to the movie’s benefit.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Podcast! The Escapist Movie Podcast – “The Suicide Squad Accomplishes Its Mission”

The Escapist have launched a movie podcast, and I was thrilled to join Jack Packard for the twenty-second episode of the year. With the release of The Suicide Squad on streaming and in cinemas, there was only one movie to discuss. The Suicide Squad was one of my favourite films of the year so far, so I was thrilled to geek out about it.

You can listen to back episodes of the podcast here, click the link below or even listen directly.

New Escapist Column! On How “The Suicide Squad” Deconstructs Amanda Waller…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. With the release of The Suicide Squad, it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look at one small-but-clever aspect of James Gunn’s superhero sequel.

The character of Amanda Waller is a pop culture archetype. She is an example of the ruthless intelligence operative who will cross whatever line it takes in pursuit of what she believes to be the greater good. Outside of comic books, one need only look at the character of Jack Bauer. Within the modern superhero landscape, the archetype is embodied by Nick Fury. These characters might be edgy or ambiguous, but they are also undeniably cool. Gunn’s approach to Waller in The Suicide Squad is interesting in large part because it rejects that idea of effortless cool in favour of something a lot blunter and more horrific.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Escapist Video! “The Suicide Squad – Review”

I’m thrilled to be launching movie reviews on The Escapist. Over the coming weeks and months, I will be joining a set of contributors in adding these reviews to the channel. For the moment, I’m honoured to contribute a three-minute film review of The Suicide Squad, which is releasing theatrically in Europe this week and in cinemas and on HBO Max in the United States next weekend.

Non-Review Review: The Suicide Squad

The Suicide Squad is a stunning piece of blockbuster cinema.

There’s an understandable urge to treat The Suicide Squad as something of an outlier, particularly in the modern wave of big superhero blockbusters. After all, this is an R-rated blockbuster about a bunch of super-villains populated largely be characters that few people will recognise, let alone care about, and which exists in something of a strange continuity limbo away from the rest of the shared continuity. It is darkly funny, bitterly bleak, and decidedly uninterested in things like brand synergy. It is a sequel to a maligned film from a director now best known for his work with a rival studio and a rival property.

Squad goals.

Looked at from a certain angle, The Suicide Squad must seem as alien as the monster that rampages through the film’s third act – a space oddity that fell to Earth. However, this just makes it all the more remarkable that writer and director James Gunn has managed to fashion all of this into a thrilling and spectacular piece of blockbuster cinema that understands the appeal and the potential of the superhero genre without forsaking its own distinct perspective and while delivering on everything that a well-made populist blockbuster should.

There are very few superhero movies that are put together like The Suicide Squad. That’s their problem.

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New Podcast! The Escapist Movie Podcast – “Its All About DC Fandome!”

The Escapist have launched a movie podcast, and I was thrilled to join Jack Packard and Bob Chipman for the first episode, a discussion of all things DC Fandome.

It was a packed schedule, with new footage from Wonder Woman, The Snyder Cut and The Batman, along with behind-the-scenes peaks at The Suicide Squad and a tease of what Dwayne Johnson has lined up for Black Adam. As one might expect from the DC Extended Universe, the output varied dramatically in terms of both content and tone. There was a lot to unpack.

You can listen to the episode here, back episodes of the podcast here, click the link below or even listen directly.

New Escapist Column! On James Gunn’s Upcoming “The Suicide Squad”…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist earlier in the week. With DC’s Fandome event at the weekend, it seemed like a good time to take a look at one of their upcoming projects: James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad.

Gunn didn’t actually premiere too much material from The Suicide Squad, primarily unveiling the cast roster and screening some behind the scenes footage. However, the announcement was interesting, marking a clear delineation from David Ayer’s Suicide Squad. In these brief snippets, Gunn suggests an understanding of what has historically made the Suicide Squad such a compelling concept: its status the island of misfit toys in larger DC continuity.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.