Squeeky Clean:
Tomorrowland Concept Art Shows A Very Shiny Future.

Earlier this week, some new concept art was released for Brad Bird’s upcoming adventure movie, TOMORROWLAND. The film stars Britt Roberson as a lady who travels to the scientifically magical world of Tomorrowland and meets George Clooney. The two of them then unravel mysteries or something.

The official synopsis, for those that are interested.

The released art shows us a sprawling and shiny metropolis; complete with flying cars, launch pads, floating circle-things, and waterfalls from out of nowhere. Have a look and pray that those apartments are rent-controlled.

LET’S MAKE IT BETTER!

Tomorrowland Poster
Oddly enough, the “T” stands for “tangerine.”

Since it’s darn-near impossible to critique concept art (it’s always so dang cool!), lets turn our attention instead to the overall marketing campaign for this movie. “What’s wrong with the marketing?” you ask. Frankly, it’s just too darn mysterious.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t like when studios spoil a movie with overly in-depth trailers and ads months before the film hits, but there’s also something to be said for playing things too close to the vest. This is especially true for a film that is supposed to be (I assume) a rousing adventure tale, like TOMORROWLAND.

The fact that this movie will be released in three months and I know nothing about it beyond the fact that there is a land of tomorrow somewhere that is reachable only by a cheap cereal box pin is not a good thing.

Is TOMORROWLAND a two-and-a-half hour sight-seeing tour of Space Mountain? Will the film feature something that someone might consider intriguing or entertaining? I have no clue and frankly, I don’t care; I don’t care because these ads have given me no reason to care.

Now, I’m not looking for the entire movie to be spelled out for me in bright mustard-colored letters on the side of a bus. All I’m asking is for the slightest hint of a plot; the merest whiff of personal stakes. They need to make me at least a little interested in TOMORROWLAND‘s deeper story because there is no way I’m going to spend $12.00 on a bunch of pretty computer-generated cityscapes and people making “golly” faces.

A Squad Torn:
The Rumored Plot For Suicide Squad Needs A Helping Hand.

A few days ago, Latino Review posted an article that featured some pretty heavy spoilers for DC Comics’ upcoming super-villains on patrol movie, SUICIDE SQUAD. The film will feature a cadre of comic book villains, including Deadshot (Will Smith); Boomerang (Jai Courtney); Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie); and The Enchantress (Cara Delevingne), who have all been “hired” by the federal government (under the supervision of Rick Flag (currently uncasted) and Amanda Waller (Viola Davis)) to do various odd jobs with which there is a slim chance of survival. Think MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE, but everyone is Jon Voight.  David Ayer is on directing duty.

For those who wish to remain like the virgin snow, I would recommend not reading any further, for ahead there be spoilers!

Cover of "Suicide Squad: From the Ashes"
Cover of Suicide Squad: From the Ashes

If the plot details Latino Review unearthed are to be believed, the Squad’s main mission will be to rescue The Enchantress from some human traffickers before she is sold to Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg), who plans to use her as a kind of magical-person bomb. They apparently succeed. The group then escorts the captured Enchantress to an underground prison where a bunch of super-villains are already residing; villains like The Joker (Jared Leto) and King Shark…KING SHARK!

The Joker will feature prominently in the movie, but mostly as a Hannibal Lecter-like character who offers mentally unstable advice and laughing gas to anyone who gets within earshot. That does change though during the big jail break finale, when Mr. J gets a chance to strut his stuff via homicide.

The character of Rick Flag will act mostly as a government-sponsored overseer for the group’s operations and…not much else. BUT WAIT, things aren’t quite what they seem, as Mr. Flag (BUM BUM BUUUMMM) turns out to be a bad guy bent on doing something even MORE nefarious than creating a secret group of unstable, super-powered murderers that run covert government ops with minimal oversight.

LET’S MAKE IT BETTER!

Seems like tacked on nonsense for the sake of nonsense.

On the surface, these rumors don’t seem too bad! Hurray! I do like the make-up of the team and that Lex Luthor is going to be doing some behind-the-scenes work. I especially like their use of The Joker, as I think his incarceration will give him a lot of opportunities to shine.

With that said, I don’t think SUICIDE SQUAD is quite ready for prime time just yet. As I see it there are two big problems with what we have learned so far; the first being the final act heel turn by Rick Flag and the other is simply a matter of poor timing.

As far as Rick Flag and his allegiances are concerned…I honestly don’t get it. If he’s as ancillary as they are leading us to believe, why would the audience even care if he turns out to be a bad guy? Where is our investment in him? Not only that, but this movie is already filled to the gills with people of questionable morals, do we really need another one? Seems like tacked-on nonsense for the sake of nonsense.

The movie’s best course of action here would be to either remove this twist all together or, if they’re too in love with the betrayal angle, to attach it to an actual member of the squad…you know, someone who is going to get actual screen time. This way, Mr. Ayer can spend the movie making us think that the chosen character (maybe Deadshot or Harley) are reformed, only to have them revert to their old ways in the end. With the added exposure that comes with being a main character there will be more of a chance to create a real emotional attachment that would make the eventual betrayal meaningful. If done correctly, it could also help set that character up for future movies (think Loki on the Marvel side).

Now let’s talk about timing; specifically the timing of SUICIDE SQUAD‘s release. The more that I think about it, the more I’m convinced that the very existence of this group in relation to the rest of DC’s cinematic line-up creates a strange dynamic where the heroes that will be hitting the screen after them (which is everyone except for Superman and Batman) will seem extraneous and useless.

Suicide Squad Featured ImageThink about it, so there is an entire prison already filled with super-powered villains before any super-heroes (except for the previously mentioned Superman and Batman, who themselves have only been on the job for a few days) even think about getting their hero on? That means all these maniacal miscreants have already been dealt with, and extremely well it would seem, by normal/human law enforcement. So why do we need vigilante heroes flying/being-the-night again? We don’t, apparently, and this movie proves it.

There are really only two ways to deal with this particular problem. The first is to severely limit the amount of villains that are shown on screen, but that would remove some of the fun behind this movie’s premise. The better option is to just push the release of this movie back so that some more heroes can get established. Spend a few movies making it seem like the world NEEDS these heroes to battle this slowly growing super-villain threat before you inundate the Earth with scallywags.

This will make the whole universe seem more organic and the heroes (and villains) will be better for it.

The Action Movie Blog.