REVIEW: DEADPOOL 2 (2018)

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DEADPOOL 2 (2018)

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Sequel finds our wise-cracking, anti-hero suffering a devastating personal loss and turning suicidal. With his powers of regeneration, that doesn’t work out so well and so Colossus (Stefan Kapičić) tries to help by recruiting him to the X-Men. That doesn’t work out so well either and Wade a.k.a. Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) finds himself sent to the Ice Box, a prison designed for mutants, along with a powerful, troubled boy named Russell (Julian Dennison). When a cyborg from the future named Cable (Josh Brolin) comes to kill Russell, Deadpool sees saving the boy as a way to prove he is capable of doing the right thing…but is he?

Deadpool 2 is this time directed by David Leitch (John Wick, Atomic Blonde) from a script by returning writers Paul Wernick, and Rhett Reese, along with star Ryan Reynolds. It doesn’t quite have the edge or energy of the first film, but is still good, naughty, bloody fun. The film is filled with the now traditional pop culture references and shots taken at other Marvel and DC properties, including The Merc with the Mouth telling Brolin’s Cable to “Pump the hate breaks Thanos at one point. The flick is a bit larger scaled with the action, no better example than an especially fun sequence with Deadpool and his team of misfits, including ‘lucky’ mercenary Domino (Zazie Beets), trying to stop Cable’s assault on an armored convoy. It’s bigger than anything seen in this series so far and gives Reynold’s co-stars a piece of the action, too. The flick has the usual humor-laced graphic violence and there are plenty of raunchy jokes with just enough wit behind them to make them work. A sequence with Wade regenerating his lost legs is especially hilarious. In fact while the flick seems to take itself a bit too seriously at times, in the first half, the second half comes alive with what we came for…including some hysterical post credit scenes. Like the first film, not everything works, but does succeed more often than not. The new characters of Cable and Domino are welcome to the Deadpool universe and we get returning familiar faces like Colossus, Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand), Weasel (T.J. Miller) and Wade’s ever-loving girlfriend, Vanessa (Morena Baccarin). It’s a fun time and while the hi-jinx aren’t exactly new, they are still fairly fresh here thanks to the creative team and the actors getting the tone of the material perfectly.

Ryan Reynolds is born to play this part and he does so like a boss. He delivers his lines with the same deadpan confidence as he did last time, while unafraid to equally poke fun at himself. Josh Brolin’s Cable may not quite be up to his Thanos from Avengers: Infinity War, but his second Marvel character this summer is still a solid villain that avoids being two dimensional, all the while having a deadpan sense of humor of his own. Zazie Beetz is a sexy delight as Domino. A mercenary who claims her superpower is luck and she’s an ass-kicker and can be quite funny herself. Julian Dennison is good as Russell. At first we feel sorry for his picked-on and abused mutant, but also start to see the power and rage which will become a problem in Cable’s future. Morena Baccarin is back as sexy, sassy Vanessa and we wish she had a bigger part. Colossus is again fun as voiced by Stefan Kapičić,  still amusingly portraying the metal encased X-Man as a big metal boy scout. T.J. Miller is still fun as Wade’s buddy Weasel. Brianna Hildebrand is back as N.T.W. and with a new look and a mutant girlfriend, Yukio (Shioli Kutsuna). Leslie Uggams is also back as Wade’s roommate Blind Al and Karan Soni returns as faithful cab driver and assassin wannabe Dopinder. There are also some great cameos that won’t be spoiled here.

In conclusion, it may not quite have the edge that the first film had, but it is still raunchy, bloody, sarcastic fun. There are some welcome new characters to add to the returning familiar faces and some bigger action set-pieces to throw those characters into. Reynolds is perfect again as the “Merc with the Mouth” and there are some fun post credits scenes to stick around for. Not exactly an equal, but an entertaining sequel that, in a way, is it’s own thing! As usual there is a soundtrack of cool songs included in the mayhem.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 unicorns…like last time.

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REVIEW: DEADPOOL (2016)

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DEADPOOL (2016)

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Up to this point, I knew almost nothing about the Deadpool character, other than fans were not happy with his portrayal in the 2009 X-Men Origins: Wolverine. So, I went into this flick without too many expectations, other than it wasn’t going to be your typical Marvel superhero movie, based on the trailers and ad campaign. I was right…but I also had more fun than I expected.

Flick tells the story of Wade Wilson, a former special forces soldier turned black ops operative turned mercenary and assassin. Wade has a fairly low level clientele and a beautiful stripper girlfriend, Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) who loves him for who he is. Wade’s life is turned upside down when he is told he has terminal cancer and is then contacted by a mysterious organization called Weapon X, that claim that not only can they cure him, but they can turn him into a superhero. To save his relationship with Vanessa, he takes the offer and is transformed into a virtually indestructible, yet horribly disfigured man. Now hot for revenge for turning him into a monster, Wade becomes Deadpool, a wise-cracking superhero-like assassin, leaving a blood-soaked trail in pursuit of Ajax (Ed Skrein), the man who performed the procedure and his powerful sidekick/bodyguard, Angel Dust (Gina Carano)…all the while being pursued by the X-Men to give up his bloody ways and join the team.

This is certainly one of the most brazen and self-aware of the recent spate of superhero films, with Deadpool not only stopping the action to talk with the audience, but also his constant verbal jabs at the rest of the Marvel universe. It is also one of the rudest, crudest and bloodiest flicks to wear the Marvel tag and there is sufficient wit to go along with that, which makes it work. Some of the dialog is very funny and Reynolds has the perfect delivery for Wilson’s sarcastic frat-boy sense of humor as he’s slaughtering bad guys. The film is well directed by Tim Miller, with a clever script by Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese and it mixes the graphic violence with the twisted humor very well. The action is on a smaller scale than the usual Marvel flicks, especially those recently, but includes more gore and body parts than possibly even the Blade films. The FX are rendered very well and there is a solid emotional core to all the blood and toilet humor when dealing with Wade’s turning into something he’s horrified with…something he feels Vanessa would never love. Surprisingly, the combination of violence, crude humor and Frankentein-ish story does pretty much work for most of the time thanks to Miller’s knowing when and how much and Reynold’s spot on performance. If the film has flaws, it’s that not all of the humor is successfully funny, the film does slow down a bit when delving into flashbacks as to Deadpool’s origin and Skrein isn’t all that strong a bad guy and is upstaged by Carano’s Angel Dust. Back on the plus side, there is a hip, fun soundtrack and it was refreshing to see a superhero film with a anti-hero who is far from being a boy scout…ex. Deadpool’s lethal and illegal advice to an Indian cab driver over how to solve his love problems.

Obviously, this is Ryan Reynolds show and he really brings it. Not only is Deadpool a very likable and sarcastically funny anti-hero, but Reynolds really gives him a heart and we feel for him when he is first deformed. He delivers his lines perfectly, whether it is to lament his transformation and loss of Vanessa, or shamelessly taunting his blind roommate (Leslie Uggams). He was born to play the part. Morena Baccarin is smoking hot as a movie geeks dream girl, a stripper with extensive nerd knowledge and a pop culture reference vocabulary to rival the boys. While she doesn’t get to do all that much, she and Reynolds do have a nice chemistry and she is fiery in what she does get to do. As stated, Ed Skrein is a serviceable villain, though not a very memorable one. Carano makes more of an impression as his bodyguard with superhuman strength. She doesn’t say much, but is a physical presence especially when batting the metal skinned X-Man, Colossus (voiced by Stefan Kapičić). T.J. Miller is fun as Wade’s buddy Weasle, Brianna Hildebrand is an explosive teen member of the X-Men and Jed Rees is appropriately creepy as the recruiter for Weapon X…and a certain Marvel icon has one of his funniest cameos yet!

Overall, Deadpool was a fun flick. It deftly mixes masturbation jokes, bloody violence and some surprisingly effective drama to make it one of the more unique superhero flicks to come out in this era of cookie-cutter comic book movies. Not all the jokes work and the film does slow down a bit here and there to tell it’s origin story, but overall the mash-up formula connects more often than not. Ryan Reynolds is a hoot as Deadpool and he is given some very funny, rude and pop culture reference filled dialog to spout, when not splattering the bad guys all over the place. Not great, but a fun flick that will occasionally make you giggle like a teenager, whether you are one or not, and sometimes laugh out loud. As with these flicks, stay through the credits!

-MonsterZero NJ

3 unicorns…don’t ask…

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