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Review: Deadpool 2

Distributor: Disney’s newest plaything (20th Century Fox)

Director: A last-minute replacement (David Leitch)

Writer: The Three Caballeros (Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick, & Ryan Reynolds)

Starring: (The Great Debater) Ryan Reynolds, (Jonah Hex) Josh Brolin, (Ms. Universe) Morena Baccarin, (Winnie the Pooh) Julian Dennison, (#NotMyDomino) Zazie Beetz, (South Park reject) T.J. Miller, (The wokest X-person) Brianna Hildebrand, (Marylin Manson) Jack Kesy

Genre: Superhero (?)

Rating: R ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Given the recent deluge of personal commissions, financial instability, and the fact that I just started playing the new God of War, my time for exercising the mental and emotional finesse for writing solid film reviews has been significantly curtailed. With that established, I give you the first film review co-written by its lead character. His professionalism is questionable, and his grasp of the English language is as tenuous as his grasp on reality. Nevertheless, he seems to be the best suited to answer some of the concerns I have. I’m sure it will be a productive interaction.

Content Guide

Violence/Scary Images:  Extremely strong, bloody, graphic violence: decapitations, brains oozing out of shots to the head, limbs sliced/shot off, torture, hand-to-hand combat, self-immolation, fireballs thrown with explosive results. People crushed, smacked by trucks, impaled, burned by acidic vomit, run over, shredded, torn in half, etc. Tons of very bloody injuries, explosions, and hand-to-hand fights. One very sad death; other scenes show the tragic results of a future murder (including a dead child). Children abused by authority figures.

Language/Crude Humor: Constant strong language (occasionally said by a teenager). Middle-finger gestures.

Sexual Content: Wade’s “baby butt” is visible, and there’s a blink-and-miss shot of him showing baby genitals (during scenes when his legs/pelvic area are regrowing). Wade and Vanessa kiss passionately and plan to make love. A few other sexual/suggestive references, including some “flirting” and butt grabbing between Deadpool and Colossus. Vanessa’s IUD is shown briefly. Negasonic Teen Warhead has a same-sex love interest in the form of Yukio this time around, but no erotic intimacy between them is shown.

Drug/Alcohol Use: Wade lights and smokes a cigarette, drinks vodka in a bar (to the point that he can’t stand up well), inhales a large portion of cocaine, etc. Boxed wine and beer shown.

Spiritual Content: None.

Other Negative Themes: Deadpool/Wade has his own, very violent code of justice/morality, which frequently results in slaughter.

Positive Content: The movie explores how superheroes/mutants/people with extra abilities struggle with being selfless, helping others and following their own agenda/priorities. Ultimately promotes friendship, responsibility, teamwork, alliances, collaboration, love. There’s a clear lesson about how children can change lives: “Kids give us a chance to be better than we were.”

Lots of extremely iffy, outright illegal behavior, but Wade follows his own code faithfully; it mostly involves justice against those who’ve done big wrongs. He clearly loves Vanessa, will do anything to protect her. Three X-Men help Deadpool even though it’s not their fight. Russell is badly traumatized and searching for someone to bond with; he’s desperate for connection. Deadpool reiterates the idea that life boils down to a few precious choices and moments. Even the “villains” have motives audiences can empathize with.

Review

“Too big to fail” can be a fair description for some franchises and intellectual properties. It doesn’t seem that superheroes are going anywhere since in at least an archetypal sense, they’ve been around since ancient times and only get more popular with age. However, “too big to be parodied” is not something that can be honestly said about anything. In fact, those that are “too big to fail” are usually the ones most suitable for parody, if for no other reason but to bring people back to an honest understanding of what they’ve engrossed themselves into.

It is no secret that comic book superhero flicks have dominated the summer blockbuster arena for what feels like a lifetime now, and they’ve gone through their peaks and troughs. One particular victim of one or two of the genre’s more notable troughs is Ryan Reynolds. After the dump fire that was Green Lantern and the disastrous depiction of everyone’s favorite merc with the mouth in X-men Origins: Wolverine, it’s safe to say that Reynolds is arguably the one most deserving to give the superhero genre that much needed kick in the rear.

Granted, many thought Reynolds to be too conventionally handsome to be able to carry a comedic film franchise with any kind of finesse, but he did quite the job in proving them wrong with his turn in Deadpool two years ago, which he helped to produce.  While I certainly had a good time with that film, I couldn’t rightly consider it a favorite of mine in the genre or even in the parodies of the genre (The Incredibles is superior in that regard). Perhaps the satire taking place in an otherwise serious turn of a superhero tale would have helped the comedy stand out a bit better and land with me more consistently. It’s hard to find jokes funny when you’re constantly expecting them.

Then I suppose it’s a good thing you weren’t expecting me in this review, were you?

Wade, you know perfectly well I invited you to participate in this. I said so right up there in the opening blurb.

Yeah but I’d have to scroll a long way up to get back to that, and my fingers are still regrowing at the moment.

Then how are you typing right now?

Voice-to-text, mutha****a.

Wait. What’s with the asterisks?

Yeah, that feature doesn’t go away here. I know. I’ve tried. All profanity gets auto-censored.

But all I said was “mutha****a”. This way, it seems like I’m saying mother****er.

I know. Pre-emptive censorship never works out well. Just ask Ben Shapiro and Cal State.

Sheesh. It’s gonna take a while to get used to this. It took me nine years just to get over that thing with Gavin Hood.

I understand. That’s about how long it took for the editors to publish my article on Big Mouth.

Well clearly, we can’t afford that kind of sluggishness in writing this review, so let’s get to it. 

Well, I’ve already started, but we can pick up where I was talking about how the overabundance of humor actually undermines it to a degree. I thought your last movie was a barrel of fun, but not much to write home about after all was said and done. Taking a satirical knife to superhero blockbusters is a praiseworthy cause and one that is much needed now in the wake of what is arguably an overabundance of entries of that sort, but perhaps the scope of your last production being broader would have made it a more lasting success.

Do you honestly think that works with lasting value are actually conducive to the business plans of these studios? They obviously need people to be sick of every movie they make in a fortnight or two so that everyone’s drummed up and ready for the next release in the pipeline with hard earned cash in hand! Yeah sure, The Dark Knight is still considered by most to be an undeniable masterpiece, but do you see anyone continuing that series today? And is Warner Bros. still making new money off of it?

I do not, Mr. Wilson. Sounds a little bit grim that pursuing excellence is all too often financially counterproductive.

It’s not a little bit grim. It’s a LOT grim. It’s grim enough to get an extended Zack Snyder cut.

At least you managed some measure of progress in quality with your second outing. That’s about as far as you can go without getting to the point of “lasting” quality in the commercially regressive sense. Your first movie was essentially a romance story in the same way that Don Quixote was a knight’s tale. This time you seem to be playing it a bit more straight yourself with deconstructive satirical shenanigans being played off around you by the rest of the cast.

That’s about as “straight” as I’m ever going to be able to play it, really. I mean, putting me through the tragedy of the opening sequence can flatten just about anyone. Far be it from me to let the studio get away with that for long though.

I doubt longer than two hours or so. What exactly transpired over the course of those two hours?

Well, as an act of healing from a significant and wholly unexpected trauma, I’ve decided to become an X-Man-

Trainee.

-yes, and I thought things went well for my first outing. We were supposed to help out in a stand down with a kid named Fi- *exhales*

Be pardon?

Sorry. The kid was named FFFFFF– *chuckles*

You mean to say “Firefist”? The one played by that kid from Hunt for the Wilderpeople?

*hysterical laughter* SORRY!! I just can’t say it! I mean who honestly comes up with this stuff? Must have been overworked writers and artists during the creative doldrums of the late 80s and 90s.

Do you think the writers here did the characters justice?

As well as the studio and general public will allow them to be. We still have the veil of obscurity to our advantage with a lot of our characters and we exercise it to the fullest extent.

Yeah, I can see the “fullest extent” being practiced here.  It’s almost as though the studio wasn’t going to pay for anything beyond the bare minimum again.

The fullest extent that we could exercise on that budget. And most of it went into half of Josh Brolin’s body.

That’s the real gag to this whole film I think. You’ve done a fine job taking on the responsibility of delivering jabs at the superhero genre in general and Fox Studios’ X-Men films in particular. Now you’ve gone a step further and taken well-placed chin checks at even the source material. The central villain here is Cable (Thanos without the Andy Serkis suit), who is by my account a pretty terrible character to begin with. He’s the quintessential embodiment of pretty much everything that was wrong with comics in the 90s: Shallow, overwrought, postapocalyptic sci-fi action machismo through the eyes of a socially disenfranchised nine-year-old boy.

And we took every opportunity to run him through the ringer! Brolin’s a class act, of course. Dude knows how to rock a green sleeve. One could write off his development as lazy or simply praise it as being faithful to the source material. In fact, we’ve made it so you can do both at once!

That’s convenient. About as convenient as you, of all people, managing to successfully talk down a revenge-obsessed, emotionally unstable teen from committing murder. Or certain characters appearing at just the right time to deliver the much-needed final victory strike. Or certain other characters getting killed off just soon enough for the actors to not qualify for a larger paycheck. Perhaps there is something to Domino’s luck power.

Luck isn’t a superpower.

Maybe not, but it does make for unusually gripping and funny action sequences.

That wasn’t luck. That was tightly arranged spectacle and farce. C’mon, you’re a film reviewer, you should know that much.

Dude, I’m not even getting paid for this review.

Neither is Ryan Reynolds, but at least he has some idea of what he’s doing here.

Granted. Writing this review has been an enormous mental strain for me. Oddly enough, my last review was on You Were Never Really Here, which is far more esoteric and challenging than anything you’ve given me, and yet writing on it was fairly simple.  As for this? What was I to come away with? All I was expecting was another feature-length romp of candid superhero satire and parody with a healthy smattering of inside jokes for the geeks in the crowd and Morena Baccarin on the side. That’s what I got!  What am I supposed to say when I get pretty much EXACTLY what I asked for and was expecting?

That. You’re supposed to say that. All of that. What you just said.

I really hate you sometimes.

I hate myself all the time, so I got you beat there. If it’s any solace to you, I think your dear readers will appreciate this unorthodox approach to film criticism, even if it is terribly contrived.

I guess so.

Look, I think my work here is done. Would you mind leaving me a hyperlink to the review for my video game on this site? Like to see what they thought.

Sorry, Wade, they haven’t done that one yet.

Figures…

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