Posted in Jaya's Pop Culture Minute-PCM

Jaya’s Pop Culture Minute (PCM)*

Today Jaya’s Pop Culture Minute takes us back to this summer with, “Why is The Suicide Squad (2021) Better Than Suicide Squad (2016)”. Check it out below:

The simple answer is that a change in directing, and writing can go a very long way. The first Suicide Squad (2016) movie directed by David Ayer, in my opinion, takes itself too seriously. So seriously, in fact that the movie falls flat, and the characters seem more of a shell than anything else, characters like Harley Quinn seemed tamed and felt like someone trying to imitate what they think her character is like, not to mention her relationship with the Joker throughout the movie. The movie, although about classic supervillains and mercenaries, falls short and does not feel like the usual comic book movies. The atmosphere of the whole movie is dark and gloomy and drags in most parts. The dialogue itself is questionable at best with weird deliveries from some of the actors, but you cannot really do anything when the writing is dull.

Whereas, The Suicide Squad (2021) directed and written by James Gunn is what you think of when you think of a classic comic book movie, from the bright colors and in-character writing for each character. In the 2021 movie, Harley Quinn is seen as an actual character and is written with depth instead of just a cute girl in a group of guys. She has character growth in the movie but subtly so that the comic book movie aspect is not lost in translation. Rick Flag is a great example too of the difference directing and writing can do to a character, in the 2016 movie Rick is seen as a hard military man who does not really care for his team and is written one-dimensionally. While in the James Gunn movie he is a relatable character with a real personality, his core personality from the first movie is shown sometimes but it is shown in a digestible way where we still get the kind of funny quips and jokes from him.

So why is the second Suicide Squad movie better than the first one? Directing and writing as well as character design really makes this movie much better than the first one. Characters in the movie new and old are given real personalities and motivations that were lost in the first one. Enjoyable dialogue and scenes also add to why the 2021 movie is much more enjoyable.

The Suicide Squad (2021)

*Jaya’s Pop Culture Minute (PCM) is all about giving people pop culture analysis and discussion in short posts. From Marvel comics, Anime, Movies, and Tv Shows, Jaya deliver’s her thoughts and ideas on what she would like to see more of, what writers can do to improve their outreach to different demographics and more! Jaya herself is a sophomore, (soon to be junior), in high school who loves talking about all things pop culture and she hopes you come back to read more.

Posted in Feature Spotlight, Jaya's Pop Culture Minute-PCM

Jaya’s Pop Culture Minute

Let’s Talk About Invincible!!

Invincible is the new Amazon Prime video animated television series based on the comics written by Robert Kirkman and illustrated by Tyan Ottely. This first season took the internet by storm and with season two and three being shortly announced after the release of the first season. The bigger question I want to tackle is, why is it so good? What drew people to this seemingly regular animated show about superheroes?

The latter question is definitely answered in the first episode. After seeing “Omni Man” who we think is the regular good guy type, we see him brutally kill the “Guardians of the Globe,” or this universe’s version of the “Avengers/Justice League.”

With that huge scene being in the first episode it draws the viewer into the show even more. This is not your typical superhero animated show. The hero being the villain all along and revealed in the first episode gives the viewer a sense of something new that has not been done before. I know for me I always find the “superhero being the villain” trope very interesting. Something about things being not as they seem are very unpredictable and that’s what makes this show so unique and interesting. 

Along with an intriguing plot, the series also includes a star studded cast with Steven Yeun voicing “Mark”, Sandra Oh voicing “Debbie”, and J.K. Simmons voicing “Omni Man.” When it is all said and done, it’s really hard not to enjoy the show! If the first season taught us anything it is that anything can happen and I’m excited to see where they take Mark’s character in the future. I’m also excited to see what happens when Omni Man comes back.

Invincible character (voiced by Steven Yuen) Credit: Amazon Prime Studios
Lead character “Invincible” (voiced by Steven Yuen) from the animated series of the same name;
Photo Credit: Amazon Prime Studios

Posted in Feature Spotlight, Jaya's Pop Culture Minute-PCM

Jaya’s Pop Culture Minute!- “Let’s Talk About The Marvel Fandom”

Closing out this month on Jaya’s Pop Culture Minute, BFF intern Jaya dives back into the Marvel Cinematic Universe with an analysis and some commentary on the Disney+ series The Falcon and The Winter Soldier!!

With the ending of Wandavision, Marvel was set to release its latest series The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, a show following two characters that when all is said and done we do not really know. But as the episodes started coming out there became a clear divide between the praise Bucky Barnes was sent and the lack of praise and comments for Sam Wilson. Essentially Sam Wilson is being treated as an accessory within his own show.

As the show ratings progressed, it became known that Sam Wilson was not the reason why the Marvel fandom liked the show. This is nothing new, Black superheroes are constantly pushed behind their white counterparts, and are treated less than by a majority of the marvel fandom, (mostly from dudebros and uneducated fans). What most of the fandom lacks in seeing is what they deem Sam Wilson is worth. Within a week of the first two episodes Sam Wilson was at the bottom of polls conducted by various fan run sites and pop culture news outlets. For example, one had Sam polling at 11% while Zemo was at 20% (according to Fandom Wikipedia). This is a noticeable difference. It was not until the fourth episode that Sam Wilson started to gain traction as a result of John Walker, the government appointed Captain America bludgeoning an innocent person to death (episode 3). It’s almost as if Sam had to prove his worth in the eyes of the Marvel fandom in order for him to gain credibility.

As a Bucky and Sam fan myself,  I noticed how Bucky polled very high early on in the show, while Sam stayed low. Interestingly enough, in the first few episodes Bucky had more lines than he did in the MCU movies, but this does not mean he was better in any way than Sam. Time and time again this pattern repeats itself, Black superheroes whether they have their own movie, or show, constantly have to prove their worth or earn their credibility in the eyes of a majority of the Marvel fandom. An early example of this is James Rhodes and Tony Stark. Through the Iron Man franchise Rhodey is treated as a sidekick or an accessory to the playboy philanthropist. We get very little backstory about Rhodey and he’s treated almost like a filler character. This continues even in the Avengers movies where Rhodey is seen as the sidekick. Even now, decades later after the last Iron Man movie, the Marvel fandom still treats him as a sidekick and not his own character due to Marvel’s lack of character development. 

After watching the finale it seems even more obvious that Sam had to prove himself as a character for people to like him more, whereas Bucky was already well liked. Additionally, the finale received the lowest ratings, which is interesting because this episode is the first time we see Sam really step into his role as Captain America. On Instagram only a DAY after Sam took up the mantle people were making their own edits of Sam in the suit, along with tweets of who should be the next Captain America after as if Sam did not just become Captain America. This further proves how much Sam Wilson is treated as a side character/ accessory in his own show. As stated earlier, the Marvel fandom has shown this pattern time and time again. This is an issue that Marvel writers must deal with moving forward. A step in the right direction would be to hire more diverse writers so we can stop this pattern, because as a Black Marvel fan this constant pattern is tiring and irritating.

Sebastian Stan as James ‘Bucky’ Barnes/the Winter Soldier and Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson/Falcon