Here’s a sample of the angry comments I’ve read in the last 24 hours about the rumor that Zendaya will be playing Spider-Man’s long-time love interest, Mary Jane Watson, in Jon Watts’ Spider-Man: Homecoming.
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Okay, so it was one of the worst summer movie seasons in recent memory. Trying to find the good blockbusters amongst the last four months releases sometimes felt like trying to find a needle in a stack of s---. But even this year there were diamonds in the rough. Today we’re celebrating the ten best, the summer movies of 2016 that didn’t make us weep for the future of cinema — and note that this list is just movies that got wide releases in at least 500 theaters. We’ll have a separate piece on under-the-radar summer films you might have missed next week on ScreenCrush. In the meantime, let’s celebrate the highlights from a depressing summer before we clear the decks and get ready for the fall.
Suicide Squad has only been in theaters for a week, but it’s already become a flashpoint for fan discussion. (And yes, that was a DC pun, thank you very much.) Does the movie’s plot make sense? Does it matter? How much of David Ayer’s original vision wound up in the theatrical cut? And maybe the most contentious debate of all: Is the movie better than Warner Bros.’ previous entry in the DC Extended Universe, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice?
UnREAL hasn’t always been tidy in its storytelling, but the messy quality of its characters — specifically Quinn and Rachel — are part of what makes the Lifetime series so painfully relatable and endearing. Unfortunately, Season 2 was just plain painful to watch as the show transformed into an ouroboros of melodrama, blatantly manufacturing its shocking twists and ultimately becoming the very thing it originally set out to deconstruct: An exploitative feat of narrative engineering. Spoilers to follow.
The box-office records it demolished over the weekend aren’t the only broken parts of Suicide Squad. For all its admittedly impressive financial success, the movie’s story is shockingly incoherent, and that’s when the film has a story at all. Sure, Will Smith was great and Margot Robbie made an impressively committed Harley Quinn. But in much the same way the Suicide Squad is held hostage in Midway City by sinister bureaucrats, Smith, Robbie, and company are trapped in a movie that gives them very little play and makes even less sense.
There’s almost no such thing as a surprise anymore. We’ve become saturated by a surplus of information, a culture obsessed with being in the know, constantly living in anticipation of an arrival. Not a day goes by when you don’t see a new movie trailer online, pass a TV show poster on your morning commute, or see a musician promote their upcoming album in a viral late night clip. We’re always informed of what’s up next, an awareness of the impending future that has driven the element of surprise to near extinction. But in 2016 something different happened in the entertainment world.
This looks like a job for Superman. Too bad he’s dead.
Ever since WB released the first teaser for Suicide Squad, one thing has been abundantly clear: Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn is the star of David Ayer’s DC super-villain ensemble piece. But for those unfamiliar with The Joker’s occasional sidekick and love interest, the beautifully bonkers and charmingly crazy villain is a bit of a mystery. To help you out, we’ve created a brief primer for The Dark Knight’s most delightful baddie, revisiting some of the character’s most notable moments and tracing her history from breakout Batman villain to Suicide Squad.
The Jason Bourne franchise has always operated as a sort of response to the James Bond series. Right as Bond hit one of his lowest and silliest depths in Die Another Day in 2002, The Bourne Identity arrived on the scene as a sort of corrective; serious, dark, morally tortured. The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum followed, and so did 007, whose Casino Royale and especially Quantum of Solace aped the style and tone of Bourne.
The entire marketing campaign and dialogue around Star Trek Into Darkness — not to mention most of the runtime of the actual movie — was about the mysterious identity of its villain. Who was this guy Benedict Cumberbatch is playing? Was he an old character from an earlier movie? Could he be Khan? Oh, no, he’s “John Harrison.” Wait, who the hell is John Harrison? Why all the secrecy around a nobody named John Harrison? Are we sure he’s not Khan? No, J.J. Abrams insisted he wasn’t Khan and he wouldn’t straight-up lie to our whoops no never mind he straight-up lied, he’s Khan.