East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

The Good, the Bad and the Starfish


I am not a big fan of superhero movies.
Granted, I liked Donner’s Superman, and I can enjoy a good superhero flick once in a while, but I am not a fan, I don’t have high expectations and I don’t wait holding my breath the next Marvel or DC film.
I enjoyed the Green Arrow TV adaptation, for a while, and I like Doom Patrol. A lot of the rest I missed simply because I was not interested.
And I enjoyed the Birds of Prey film for what it was. But to me The Avengers are still John Steed and Emma Peel.

It was mostly because of Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn and Idris Elba’s Bloodsport that I watched The Suicide Squad.
And James Gunn. I liked his old horror, Slither. I trust the guy.
Cast and director convinced me, despite the fact that I was never able to go deeper than fifteen minutes in the first film of the series, Suicide Squad, the one without a “The”.

And I was not disappointed.
In case you missed it, the premise is, the US Govt puts together a Dirty Dozen-style team of second string comic book bad guys, blackmailing them into becoming a black ops unit.
And when I say second string, I mean … come on, the line-up features a guy that can detach his arms and control them remotely, a not-too-bright shark-man, a guy that shoots polka dots from his fingertips, and a weasel-man.
In the case at hand, our “heroes” are sent to a Cuba-like island called Corto Maltese (well played, Mr Gunn, well played indeed) to destroy a thing called Project Starfish.

And yes, it is incredibly silly, but really, if you get into a movie featuring a weasel-man you don’t expect anything but silly. I’m fine with it.
The silliness is amped up to eleven when the “Starfish” of the project turns out to be Starro the Conqueror, a 1960 alien menace created by pulp fiction and comic colossus Gardner Fox. A giant, kaiju-sized evil pastel-colored starfish from outer space.

And yet the movie works.
It works because the writing is tight, the actors are excellent, and for all its silliness, violence and gore. it has a soul – that is more you can say about the first film of the title. Maybe it’s also the fact that this one is not so obsessed with Harley Quinn’s ass.
There are some excellent action sequences (the “I’m Just a Gigolo” shootout/brawl is outstanding), some fun comedy, great dialogues, and a giant starfish walking all over a city that is not La Havana, but looks a lot like it.
And really, when I am thinking of a superhero movie, this is what I am looking for – action, humor, snappy banter, a few surprises and characters I care about.
And this movie managed to make me care for a big shark-man with the voice of Sly Stallone, a rat and a weasel.

It was a great way to spend two hours on a hot summer afternoon.

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

3 thoughts on “The Good, the Bad and the Starfish

  1. That’s a shame you don’t like comic book movies. And I don’t mean the MCU and DCU. I like comic book heroes form the 1940s.. you can see them in movie serials of the time.

    The Classics! The Phantom, Tarzan, Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers, Green Hornet, .. the list is endless. YOU should watch them- because they are the archetypes that Marvel and DC stole for their heroes. And these heroes are tried and true, unwoke and still heroic. After all these years.

    I like em- but I alos watch Hopalong Cassidy and the Lone Ranger and i think they are just fine too.


    • The only one in your list that I did not like was The Green Hornet (the recent remake, not the original TV series).
      And really, when I say I don’t like comic-book movies, it’s mostly MCU and CD-verse I am talking about.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well of course. that green Hornet Movie was a treavesty. I would like to punch Seth Rogan in the face for that. He killed a franchise doing that movie. Like Alec baldwin killed the Shadow.

        My advice: Ignore all comic book movies made in this century. They are all woke and poison. CGI is all they got.


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