Just forget the words and sing along

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Going Backwards

Well, there's a new superhero movie on the horizon, and that means I'd better head off to the city and see it!  But then, as I looked back over my blog entries, I realized that, for the last few movies I've seen, I just ran into the theatre on the north side, and then headed home.  I hadn't spent a full day in the city just bummin' around.  It felt like I was due.

While perusing the movie times for Suicide Squad online, I noticed that the earliest show -- 11:30AM -- still had some pretty good seats.  So I was going to the early show.  I decided, then, to do things backwards.  Rather then spend the day goofing around and capping it off with a movie, I'd see the movie first and then goof around.

I went straight into West Edmonton Mall.  I do love arriving at the mall early, as the parking lot is pretty empty and it's easy to find a good spot.  I had just enough time to browse HMV before the theatre opened.  I always marvel at how HMV has changed over the years.  When HMV first opened in its currently location in the late 1990s, it was very much HMV's flagship store.  Both levels, nothing but CDs.  Rap, country, and a few other genres of music had their own rooms...pretty much like stores-within-the-store.  There was a listening lounge, which was the popular meeting spot for me and my friends.  But now, that's all gone.  The CD selection is getting smaller and smaller, and the focus is changing more and more to pop culture gift-ware.  Can't find the latest Criterion release?  Well how about a Game of Thrones coffee mug instead?

Still had some time before the theatre opened, so I hit the food court for an early lunch.  The only problem with hitting West Edmonton Mall so early is there's no place to have lunch.  It was 10:45, but most places didn't open or start serving lunch until 11AM.  About the only place open was New York Fries, so I treated myself to their Bacon Double Cheese fries.  It's their fries, with cheese curds, and then covered with cheese sauce, and topped with bacon bits and green onions.  Very cheesy.  Nothing like a cheese-coated cheese curd for some cheese-ception.

With a quick lunch in my belly, it was time for Suicide Squad.

Suicide Squad Poster

Suicide Squad is a wonderful concept for the comics.  Super-criminals blackmailed by the government into becoming a black-ops group.  But, the sheer fact that they decided to make it into a movie struck me as very reactionary.  Specifically, a reaction to Guardians of the Galaxy.  When Guardians hit it big, I fully imagine that some Warner Brothers exec said, "Hey!  Doesn't DC have a wacky super-team of misfits that we can make into a movie?"  The reactionary attitude continued with the marketing.  When Deadpool hit it big in the spring, the marketing took a shift to make the film look more irreverent, like Deadpool.  And, truth be told, as the release date drew nearer, I was already burnt out on the film, as it seems like they'd been hitting us with trailers and behind-the-scenes footage and pictures and teases for years now.

With the rising influence of meta-humans in the world, ruthless government agent Amanda Waller hatches a plan:  take some of the meta-humans already in custody, and blackmail them into working for her.  Among those she recruits:  Deadshot, the world's greatest marksman; Harley Quinn, best known as accomplice and love interest to the Joker; Captain Boomerang, the Aussie bank robber who's skilled with his country's signature weapon;  El Diablo, a guy with fire powers and maybe possessed by a demon?  It's never really explained.  Anyway, one of Waller's earlier recruits, a sorceress known as the Enchantress, has gone rogue, is vowing revenge on Waller, and has begun laying waste to Midway City.  So, Waller's team -- dubbed the Suicide Squad -- is sent in to quell the situation.

I know the reviews haven't been very good.  But I didn't find the movie incredibly bad.  I didn't find it incredibly good, either.  It's only crime is mediocrity.  As superhero movies go, it's just overwhelmingly...average.  As many other critic has pointed out, I'm getting kind of tired of the "swirling vortex of doom that the heroes have to shut down."

But there is good in the movie.  Margot Robbie absolutely nails Harley Quinn.  She is so spot-on perfect in the role.  Will Smith is also really good as Deadshot, the hitman who's trying to be a better person for his daughter.  And Jared Leto is a great Joker..but we see so little of him.  In fact, the opening is great, where we're introduced to all of the Squad, and we see how they were apprehended (bringing in quick cameos by Batman and the Flash, to help build that cinematic universe).

But as soon as we hit Midway City and they set out to take down the villain...yeah.  It's just so average.

I give it three nibs.  Full review on the website.

From there, it was out into the mall to explore, and wander, and hopefully spend not too much money.  I made my way down to the Bay.  With the Olympics in full swing, and the Bay being the official outfitter of Team Canada, they were actually having a bit of a fashion show, showcasing all the Olympic clothing now on sale at the Bay.  I remember watching the Vancouver 2010 Olympics on TV with my Dad.  Dad mentioned he actually liked some of the winter gear that Team Canada was wearing, and actually seemed mildly disappointed that the Bay was the official outfitter and, as such, you could buy all that stuff at the Bay.

And, of course, there were the Pokemon GO signs all over the place.  When Pokemon GO came out and hit it big about a month ago, West Edmonton Mall had a brainstorm when they discovered that several Pokestops and Gyms were in the mall.  They actually printed up giant signs pointing out where exactly they are.  They've got a contest going on, too.  Post your pictures of your pokemon on the mall, hastag it #pokemonWEM, and you're entered into a contest.  I think this is a brilliant idea.  I see lots of my Facebook friends mocking the popularity of Pokemon GO, but the part of brain that lives in the station's promotions department, I'm always thinking, "How can I use this to plug the station?"  And I think West Edmonton Mall's idea is a good one.

A photo posted by Mark Cappis (@chaosinabox) on

Too bad I'm not playing Pokemon GO right now.  It won't run on my phone!  I currently have an iPhone 4S.  I've been told that you can play Pokemon GO on a 4S, but it's buggy and crashes a lot.  Let me tell you a little secret:  everything's buggy and crashes a lot on my 4S.  My contract expired back at Thanksgiving, so I've been looking to upgrade anyway.  The 6S is a little out of my budget right now, but then I see the SE has pretty much everything under the hood that the 6S has, it's just packed into a 5's body.  Or who knows?  Maybe I should just wait until the fall, because it looks like the 7 is coming out sometime this fall.  I don't know.  And as always, I stroll through the Apple Store just made me depressed that I couldn't buy one today.

Then I started browsing in Chapters.  I managed to find a trade paperback I'd been after for a while, and while I was at it, I nabbed a second one.

A photo posted by Mark Cappis (@chaosinabox) on

It's no secret that I'm a big fan of Kevin Smith, and over the years I've slowly been acquiring his comic book work.  About 15 years ago, he did a critically-acclaimed run on Green Arrow.  His first story, Quiver, resurrected Oliver Queen from the grave and had him once again claim the mantle of Green Arrow.  His second story, The Sounds of Violence, is about Ollie re-adjusting to the world, and battling Onomatopoeia, a villain of Smith's creation.  Onomatopoeia is a serial killer who targets non-powered superheroes (e.g. Green Arrow, Batman), and shows up in Star City with Team Arrow in his sights.  His name comes from the fact that he only communicates by mimicking the sounds of his surroundings.  Anyway, I've had the trade paperback for Quiver for some time, but have never been able to find the one for The Sounds of Violence.  The one on the left is a new collection which has both of Smith's stories, so I finally got The Sounds of Violence.

The other one, Batman '66 Meets the Green Hornet, is much more recent...maybe two years old.  A few years ago, DC was doing a comic called Batman '66, which was a Batman comic continuing the adventures of the Adam West Batman.  Since Smith has written both Batman and Green Hornet comics, and is an admitted huge fan of the 1960s Batman, he seemed to be the natural choice to write a follow-up to the legendary Batman/Green Hornet crossover episode.  To help him out, Smith recruited Ralph Garman, an L.A. radio personality and occasional actor who co-hosts Smith's podcast Hollywood Babble-On, and is also a gigantic fan of the 1960s Batman.  And they whipped up a tale where the Green Hornet and Kato once again find themselves in Gotham City, and cross paths with the Caped Crusader.

It was kind of funny buying them.  When one of the clerks spotted me picking up a Batman comic, he started geeking out and telling me how he was at Anime-thon yesterday (the U of A Anime Club's annual anime festival), and how he was cosplaying as the Joker.  And then I got up to the till and that clerk must have been new or something, as no one had come through her till with graphic novels yet.  She stared at my purchases in utter fascination.  She pointed to the Green Hornet.  "Is this a superhero, too?  I've never heard of him," she said.  I replied, "Yeah, he was very popular in the 1960s."  "That would explain it," said she.

And at that, I started heading home with just a twinge of disappointment.  I was also hoping to pick up the Blu-Ray of Batman: The Killing Joke, which came out earlier this week.  As I've said, I've kind of grown bored with all of DC and WB's straight-to-video animated films, but since The Killing Joke is one of the most acclaimed Batman comics ever, I figured it was worth picking up.  But it was sold out at all my usual haunts, and since I'd spent so much money on the graphic novels, I didn't feel like going to my unusual haunts.  Besides, I still have too many new Blu-Rays in my "to-watch" pile on my coffee table.

And that was it.  My Saturday in the city.  Had a nice, leisurely drive home, and have been blogging ever since.  And now I see it's bedtime. 

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