In this edition of React!, John and Kelly discuss adding James Gunn to Suicide Squad, the new Aladdin trailer, and Aladdin‘s director, Guy Ritchie! (We are really doubling down on Will Smith here, huh?)
John: Gunn is officially joining the DCEU to do the second Suicide Squad. A part of me wanted him to go and do his own thing but I can’t help but be intrigued.
Kelly: I mean. Suicide Squad was a reaction to Guardians so it makes sense. It’s cheap though.
John: Very. But it makes sense.
Kelly: I think the choice of Gunn is so obvious that it’s uninteresting. I like his work, I like what he’s done but like you, I’d rather see him work on something so unfamiliar that I can be pleasantly surprised because he’s a really creative and out of the box dude. On top of that, I don’t WANT to see Suicide Squad. That’s a problem with the DC reputation and the first iteration, but the addition of Gunn doesn’t actually make me excited for something I wasn’t engaged with in the first place. It feels like a couple of backsteps on everybody’s parts.
John: Gunn has a horror film coming out that he’s producing, so that could satisfy my want for a non-comic book project for now, but I agree with most of that. This feels like a power move for both Gunn and DC. Despite how one feels about the controversy, Marvel let go one of their hottest directors. It’s only natural that DC offers him a gig on one of their most successful franchises. Keep in mind, successful doesn’t mean GOOD. I will say that Suicide Squad is too obvious a pick. Especially seeing as how they were trying to rip off his Guardians vibe.
Kelly: Right. It feels like DC is dumpster diving old Marvel directors, first with Joss Whedon and now with Gunn. Also, I think this can be bad for Gunn. As it’s so obvious a pick and most in line with his most popular work, people will be holding it to a higher standard. It will be more difficult to impress them. If it’s too much like Guardians they’ll say so. And if it’s not Guardians enough, they’ll say so. Tough line to walk. Even if he does it well and differently, it will always be under the Guardians cloud.
John: I can see that, but it’s being reported that he is going to take the series into a whole different direction, sort of like Waititi did with Thor. Honestly if they were going to throw a DC property at him, I would have gone with Justice League Dark. That book deals with demons, magic, and the horror corner of the dc universe.
Kelly: I would have loved to see something more aligned with dark humor. I want more of The Belko Experiment kind of stuff. I assume he is trying to PG his image though. Plus, execs are going to yell that it needs to be more Guardians to make monies. We know WB/DC well enough at this point to know it will be mostly recycled from one source or another.
John: The tides might be turning for DC- I’m actually excited for their upcoming movies! So, who knows? Gunn so far is only writing the flick so there’s a lot of potential for action directors to jump on it.
Kelly: If it’s not Gunn, who would you pick?
John: As for non-Gunn picks, I must go with Chad Stahelski when he finishes up John Wick 3. Those movies are art and I want to see what he’ll do with a bunch of supervillains.
Kelly: My pick would be Drew Goddard. It’s in the same realm but not at the same time. And it’s solely based on Cabin in the Woods.
John: He hasn’t directed much, but he’s got a lot of great producing credits. Good choice. Lost and The Good Place too. I dig the pick.
Kelly: He has a ton of experience working with ensembles and like Gunn, comes from Buffy. He’s also hot off Bad Times at El Royale. Do you think everyone in the Squad is coming back or do you smell a reboot?
John: I smell soft reboot, again if they to Thor: Ragnarok this franchise into something less awful. Smith and Robbie are a sure thing. The rest of the cast not sure, but wouldn’t mind them all coming back- even the poor man’s Sam Worthington, Jai Courtney.
Kelly: Smith and Robbie are going to be expensive. I wouldn’t be surprised if she puts the Harley Quinn entourage over it. They would make it work for her though. I could do without Enchantress and her dude.
John: Same. It’s not going to happen, but if they could ditch Leto that would be great.
Kelly: They never will. He’s probably signed on for 3. Maybe 5. Crying ensues.
John: What did you think of the Aladdin trailer?
Kelly: Underwhelmed. I found the Cave of Wonders strangely uncreative. They don’t even hit the moments people like from the animated.
John: I dig the score. It’s a nice arrangement and got me in the mood to listen to the soundtrack again. Also, cool they brought back Frank Welker to voice the cave again. Other than that, yeah it was a teaser. Not a fan of the monotone blues and oranges. I swear- the whole movie is going to look like that. To be fair, we mostly got wide shots in the teaser. It looks like the costumes are getting fancied up at least.
Kelly: It doesn’t quite have the opulence of Beauty and the Beast. It’s kind of bland compared to that one. And I’m apprehensive about Guy Ritchie. I’m cautiously optimistic about it.
John: I can’t recall a movie of his I liked, except maybe Sherlock Holmes. That was his right?
Kelly: I’m a big fan of his earlier stuff. Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels is phenomenal. His style doesn’t always translate well into other genres. You need to go into it thinking, “I’m watching a Guy Ritchie movie” and knowing that it will have his stylish staples- montages, quick cut conversations, well-placed voiceovers over potential scenarios, cockney accents. His take on King Arthur is very watchable when this is kept in mind. And yes- Sherlock. The second one wasn’t great but I did have a good time with the first. He’s also very good friends with Matthew Vaughn of X-Men fame.
John: Hmm. Seems a bit odd to match an action film director with a fantasy musical comedy. Unless they’re aiming to try to change up the tone.
Kelly: I wouldn’t say Ritchie’s strictly action. He started off in comedy, street crime, lowbrow humor sort of stuff. I can see the street rat scenes going very well in his favor. The Genie might also go well if Will Smith plays it right. It’s pretty much the Prince Ali side of things that will be confusing.
John: Good to know, I’ll need to check out his filmography to get a better sense of his style.
Kelly: I’d start in order- Lock/Stock (above), then Snatch, then maybe Rocknrolla, and then Sherlock. But if you only have time for one, Lock/Stock or Snatch. You’ve seen Shaun of the Dead?
John: Of course I have.
Kelly: It’s very much like that scene where Shaun is explaining where they will go and what they will do and they end up at the bar.
John: But for the whole movie?
Kelly: Not the whole movie. But at least 2 of those and they’re so well dont. His editing and quick cut conversations are always the sell point for me.
John: Dope. As for Aladdin, you are a huge fan. What are your main wishes for this live action version?
Kelly: Someone who can sing as well as Lea Salonga. Kidding. To be honest, I’m open to it. I think it has the most potential to translate well to live action. I hope it goes a different route than just being copy/paste like Beauty and the Beast. I’d rather see something extremely different and I think Ritchie will give that to me. You? And do we know if they are keeping the music?
John: Looks like they are at least keeping the score. I even heard Friend Like Me in there. Honestly, the last one was so bad it’s kind of ruined the whole live-action trend for me. I’m going in with no expectations, but at the very least I am interested in seeing what Will Smith is going to do for Genie. And will he drop a 90’s style tie-in movie song ala Men in Black!?
Kelly: Ha. Doubt it. It might Selena Gomez and whoever else… Who else is a family friendly pop image?
John: I’m not that steeped in pop so hell if I know. A pop cover is inevitable though. I will say, if that’s what the majority of the color grading is going to be. My eyes will be very bored.
Kelly: Trailers and teasers are typically rough, though. I’m thinking of the Tomb Raider trailer. It was largely unfinished, as far as the CG goes. We’d be dumb if we said we didn’t expect great CG from Disney in the finished piece.