Friday, May 18, 2018

Quick Reviews: Deadpool (2016) and Deadpool 2 (2018)

Deadpool Movie Review
20th Century Fox
Diagnosed with stage four cancer after falling head over heels with the love of his life Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), Wade Wilson's conned into becoming something he never wanted: a superhero. Duped by a mysterious recruiter Francis (Ed Skrein) who promises an experimental cure for cancer, Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) is taken prisoner and his body is tortured into awakening mutant genes that cures his illness but leaves his body disfigured. And Francis isn't done yet: he also kidnaps Vanessa. There's only one thing left on Wade's mind: to do whatever it takes to save his girlfriend.

Deadpool is very much like the titular character: it's not like any superhero we've seen before. Unapologetic in its wisecracks and sarcasm, Ryan Reynolds's performance breaks the fourth wall and favors the deadpan humor he's developed throughout his career in Hollywood. The film is easily tailored to his comedic sweet spots, which isn't surprising because he was extraordinarily passionate about bringing this character to the big screen (especially after he was mutilated in Wolverine: Origins).

However, in contrast to how he is as the perfect headliner, the story's watered down in a genre blender of comedy, romance, and action. While Reynolds and Deadpool as a character are certainly entertaining, the script is all over the place with Wilson's origins jumping between his perspectives of why he's casting revenge against Francis, how he met Vanessa and became a superhero. On top of which, it struggles to introduce some of X-Men's D-listed mutants Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) and Colossus (Stefan Kapičić) as reluctant sidekicks who feel self-inserted rather than natural or interesting. As funny as the film is, it's stuck in the experimental stages of trying to push the limits with Wade's humor. While it's certainly impressive that the movie didn't approach a typical origin movie from beginning to end, everything is mushed together and struggles to keep Wade's vengeance on track.

Deadpool (2016)
Rating: ★1/2☆☆

Deadpool 2 Movie Review
20th Century Fox
The review below contains plot spoilers for Deadpool 2 - beware!

Picking up where Deadpool left off, Deadpool 2 is exactly on target of the first flick, but is much smoother and confident in letting Wade Wilson shred the envelope it initially wanted to push. After settling into a 9-to-5-esque groove of killing bad guys all over the world, Wade Wilson returns home to his true love Vanessa only to be sideswiped with a henchman who takes everything away from him. In a shocking and deeply emotional move, Vanessa is killed, becoming a victim to his vigilantism, and his hopes of the future goes with her. Catapulting his story sideways, Wilson pretty much gives up on life until he is usurped in facing off against Cable (Josh Brolin), a mutant soldier from the future who wants to stop a crime committed against his family, and protecting a young hotheaded mutant Firefist (Julian Dennison) who's on his own path of destruction.

Deadpool 2 is first and foremost hysterical. Again, like his first film, it hits all of the right notes for Reynolds. It still breaks the fourth wall, runs all the gags you can imagine (especially when it comes to his absent mutant friends from X-Men like Wolverine) and slips in a ton of easter eggs, but blends them naturally into the story. Whether masked or in his disfigured Glory, Reynolds offers a lot of layers to the revolutionary superhero who fans love for his taking on cancer, bisexuality, and unconventional heroism. The script packs in countless references about the comic book world like Marvel Cinematic Universe, DC, and everything else under the sun, to the point where its probably the most meta superhero film ever. While some of the shenanigans might be over-the-top, most jokes  lets movie goers be in on the quips of what they love about their favorite superheroes and relish everything this outrageous escapism has to throw at the wall.

To match the humor, a real emotionality also settles into the story in ways that one probably wouldn't expect. When Wade's happily-ever-after with Vanessa is wiped away, his own arc begins to take shape by gradually accepting his loss and creating a X-Force family out of beatniks. Characters like Negasonic Teenage Warhead, Colossus, and Dopinder from the first movie are able to shine more, and the newer addition Domino (Zazie Beetz) is truly bad-ass. Even though the villains and assumed villains aren't exactly the most captivating parts (it sorta comes out of nowhere after the loss of Vanessa), the mismatched personalities eventually shows that this circus of misfits is heartfelt and a real tearjerker. All of the shenanigans that they go through ends up bringing them together and gives him the family he didn't know he needed or could have without Vanessa. Impressively, it's a sequel that doesn't cave in on the pressure of the first movie's success and becomes a rollercoaster ride worth taking over and over again.

Deadpool 2
Rating: ★★1/2☆
Have you seen Deadpool and Deadpool 2? What do you think?

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