Posted in 2010-2019, Film Review

Deadpool 2 (2018)

Image is property of 20th Century Fox and Marvel

Deadpool 2 – Film Review

Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Morena Baccarin, Zazie Beetz, Brianna Hildebrand, Julian Dennison, TJ Miller

Director: David Leitch

Synopsis: When the menacing mutant Cable travels back in time and threatens the life of a troubled young mutant, Deadpool must bring together a team of heroes and to stop him.

Review: The journey for Wade Wilson AKA Deadpool to get to the big screen for his first outing a couple of years ago was a troubled one. Yet when he finally arrived in all of his red spandex glory, it smashed all sorts of records and changed the game as far as comic book and superhero films go. Though in Deadpool’s case, the hero “tag” is perhaps not one he is best suited to. Nevertheless, the fans responded and, with his katana in hand, the Merc with a mouth cut box office records cut in half, and it was inevitable that a sequel would be given the thumbs up.

While the first film was your classic origins story about how the man became the Merc. This time around, we meet Wade trying to balance his Deadpool duties with his personal life with Vanessa. This is until his path crosses with Russell, a mutant with some fire abilities, and the villainous Cable, who travels back from the future with the sole goal to kill this boy. Part of what made the first film the juggernaut of the success it was its routine fourth wall breaking, pop culture references, quite excessive uses of profanity and upping the violence factor considerably. If the first film was not your thing, chances are this film will not bring you over. The story does go in interesting and ballsy directions that keeps things moving swiftly along in a gleefully bloody direction.

Just casually jumping out of a plane, as you do…

Every once in a while, when an actor takes on a superhero role, they are just such a perfect fit that you just cannot see anyone else stepping into their shoes, and Reynolds fits into this description with his performances, gone be the memories of the first time he stepped into the role of this character. Likewise to that other time he took on the mantle of a different hero. Aside from the returning Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead, there are a plethora of new characters this time around. Though many are just filler, the main ones to focus on are the lucky superhero Domino (Beetz) and Josh Brolin’s Cable, clearly having not filled his villainous boots after going after those Infinity Stones as Thanos.

The film boasts considerably more action than its predecessor, and having suited up John Wick for the first time (in addition to having killed his dog), former stuntman David Leitch takes over from Tim Miller as director. Like he demonstrated with John Wick, the action scenes are slickly produced and just extremely entertaining to watch. Though the film is for the most part extremely entertaining with some excellent gags to some classic Hollywood cinema (one will stick out in your mind in particular) the plot while undoubtedly entertaining, does run out of steam in a few places, and is a little bit thin on the ground.  Furthermore, you will find it difficult to look at certain plot points and think back to certain films of the past.

In any case, with the memories of the ill-fated first time he stepped into the role, it is great to see Reynolds seemingly have such an absolute blast with the role that he has completely made his own. In this era of superhero and comic book genre dominance, it is refreshing to see this type of superhero film that just honestly doesn’t give a shit and just wants to serve the audience up with a quality sized slice of hilarious, fourth-wall breaking and crude entertainment. If that is what you’re after, then Mr Deadpool is the man to provide that, in hilarious and extremely bloody fashion too.

As crude as its predecessor, all while delivering much bigger action set pieces and some very amusing gags, all while building depth to the Merc with a Mouth’s character. Maximum effort, maximum enjoyment. 

Posted in 2010-2019, Film Review

Life (2017)

Image is property of Skydance Media and Columbia Pictures

Life – Film Review

Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, Hiroyuki Sanada, Ariyon Bakare, Olga Dihovichnaya

Director: Daniel Espinosa

Synopsis: An international crew on the ISS capture what they believe to be the first sign of life from Mars. Yet upon examination, the extraterrestrial being they have found is not very hospitable…

Review: When you have the premise of a crew of human beings aboard a space station in space, and there are some aliens involved, it’s almost a certainty that this means doom and gloom for those poor souls on board. Aliens don’t tend to be the sort of beings that want to sit down and have a beer and natter about everyday life. Nope, they usually want your flesh and blood and that’s exactly what you get in this intriguing mesh of sci-fi meets horror meets thriller.

Indeed, this is a genre and a combination that is not exactly new to audiences, as it’s become a very trodden path down the years. As such there’s nothing truly revolutionary about the story, but it still manages to be suspenseful and gripping to watch. Writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick of Deadpool fame do their best to try and add something new to the table and save for one scene where the Martian symbiote decides to make a meal out of a lab rat, it’s your standard Humans vs Alien set up, with the humans trying desperately to survive. The cast do their best but ultimately there’s very little flesh on the bones of the characters (not such good news for Mr ET in that case!) The acting is of a decent order, but there’s no standout performance from what is a very talented cast, which is a huge frustration.

Indeed the likes of the Alien trilogy and Gravity have set the bar of quality in this genre, the latter of which particularly when it comes to recreating the look and feel of a space environment.  The effects are well done, as is the production design and set decoration. Director Daniel Espinosa does make it feel as though you are in space, but given today’s technology, and after seeing what Cuaron managed to achieve with Gravity, this is not as jaw dropping as it perhaps once was. What this film does very well though is the tension. Through some very quick cut editing and some solid camerawork, the tension really begins to build when the alien is coming after the crew one by one, and the remaining crew work out their plan for survival, which isn’t exactly easy in such narrow hallways aboard a space station.

There are some memorable moments, and one death in particular that is particularly horrifying to watch that could perhaps cause one or two astronauts to have nightmares, but overall Life does not better the films that serve as its inspiration. The film does have some interesting things to say about humanity as a species and does offer up interesting questions as to what would the reaction of humanity be if we discovered life on a different planet that is not our own. An event that might well happen several decades from now, so should that event ever come to pass, perhaps this film can serve as a lesson.

  Suspenseful, gritty and visually impressive without a doubt, but a lack of memorable characters and originality prevents this from becoming a true classic of the extraterrestrial/space genre.

Posted in 2010-2019, Film Review

Deadpool (2016)

Deadpool-poster-2

Image rights belong to Marvel, Kingberg Genre, TSG Entertainment and 20th Century Fox

Deadpool – Film Review

Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, TJ Miller, Brianna Hildebrand, Ed Skrein

Director: Tim Miller

Synopsis: When an operation goes awry for former mercenary Wade Wilson, he gains super healing abilities and adopts the alter ego of “Deadpool”

Review: It kind of goes without saying that comic book movies have surged massively in popularity in recent years, becoming a staple of Hollywood in the process. However, for all the films that have graced our screens, we have yet to encounter a comic book film that pushes all the boundaries it can, and goes in directions that very few have gone in. Well, thanks to the Merc with a Mouth, we have now.

It has been a long time coming, as the film has had a difficult journey to the big screen, after being in development hell for many years.  A now infamous “appearance” in the much reviled X Men Origins: Wolverine, that infuriated the fans who felt it was not at all true to the comics. Thanks to 2014’s Days of Future Past, those events are now banished forever. When test footage leaked back in 2014, it finally prompted 20th Century Fox to move forward with a solo outing for him, one that has remained very loyal to the comics, and one that will no doubt leave hardcore Deadpool fans, very satisfied indeed.

Deadpool is not the first superhero character Ryan Reynolds has portrayed, as he had a lead role in the 2011 Green Lantern flick. But having had an interest in playing this role since 2005, it is apparent that this character is his favourite and it’s very evident he’s having enormous fun playing the role, and he’s electrifying to watch. The dark humour, the crude jokes, the profanity, the breaking of the fourth wall repeatedly, the violence. It’s all on show here and it provides the audience with some glorious entertainment right from the opening credits. In addition, the film gleefully makes light hearted pops at other films and other super hero movies with great aplomb. The laughs are packed throughout the 108 minute running time, with some violent action also thrown in there for good measure, which is tremendously well handled by Tim Miller in his directorial debut.

This is the Deadpool show, but he does have some help in the shape of steel man mountain Colussus and newbie Negasonic Teenage Warhead, who are helping him confront the man who was responsible for Wade’s disfigurement, this being Ed Skrein’s Ajax. British actors are known for their portrayals of villains,indeed the opening credits make a joke about this fact. Ed Skrein does a tremendous job with the material he’s given but his character is never properly fleshed out and is not given the ample screen time to really elevate him above the majority of the villains that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has provided. The action is well filmed and provides some great viewing. Lots of action with sequence after sequence can sometimes feel like overkill (Man of Steel anyone?) But while there is a fair quantity of action on show, it would have been great to see just a little bit more, as some sequences are over before they had a chance to get going.

The disappointment of 2011’s Green Lantern as well as the misfire that was his appearance in Origins: Wolverine might have killed Ryan Reynolds’ hopes of making it in the superhero world of cinema, and for a while it did kill Deadpool’s hopes of a worthy cinematic outing. Yet his dogged determination to get this adaptation of a character he has an obvious passion for is admirable. The plot is a little bit formulaic but the film’s storming box office success has already resulted in a sequel being green lit. The Merc With a Mouth has ensured that 2016’s comic book movie offerings have got off to a terrific start.

Crude, dark jokes aplenty packed with Tarantino-esque violent action scenes. This is the Deadpool film that the fans have been waiting for.

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