comic book movie

The world is in for a treat with Deadpool 2 by Ryan Hill

 
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Upon first viewing, Deadpool came across as a typical superhero origin story buoyed by a fantastic Ryan Reynolds performance as the title character, a role he was born to play. Repeat viewings brought Reynolds’ Deadpool to the forefront, and any narrative shortcomings fell by the wayside, making Deadpool a near-classic in the superhero genre.

Methinks the same will be said of Deadpool 2 after seeing it more than once.

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As promised in the Deadpool post-credits stinger, the Merc with a Mouth indeed goes up against Cable (Josh Brolin), a mutant from the future who’s part robot. To combat this threat, Deadpool creates the X-Force, which includes Domino (Zazie Beetz), a mutant who is effortlessly lucky. To say more of the plot would be a disservice, since the trailers have done a great job of teasing what’s to come in the film without revealing any of the surprises – and there are plenty of those, before and during the credits.

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The jokes, both meta and non-meta, fly fast and furious in Deadpool 2, even more than its predecessor. The jokes come from every direction, and are so random it feels like the filmmakers spent a weekend on a coke-fueled bender coming up with every joke possible to put in the sequel. Even Reynolds, who’s acted as a steward for Deadpool for years, receives a co-writing credit with original Deadpool writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. Most of the jokes land, even if the film itself sometimes struggles to maintain a consistent tone between serious, silly and meta. But that’s a minor gripe.

Atomic Blonde and John Wick co-director David Leitch takes the reins from Deadpool’s Tim Miller, but largely keeps the same ascetic from the first film in place. It allows for consistency, but the next-level action Leitch oversaw in Wick and Blonde barely makes an appearance.

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Apart from starting off with a common sequel pitfall - coasting on the audience’s familiarity with the characters - there really isn’t much in Deadpool 2 to gripe about. It’s consistently funny and sometimes laugh-out-loud hilarious, and once the narrative kicks in things move very quickly, giving any bits that don’t work a swift and merciless end. Brolin and Beetz are perfect as Cable and Domino, though their presence takes away screen time from characters that appeared in the first Deadpool, mainly Blind Al, Weaseal, Negasonic Teenage Warhead and Colossus.

Deadpool 2 is a ridiculous amount of fun. It’s not quite as good as the first Deadpool, but honestly that’s like the difference between getting an A on a test and an A-. It’s not worth making a fuss over. Just enjoy the greatness that is Ryan Reynolds having the time of his life in a tight, red, leather outfit.

Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman... Everyone is Wasted in Justice League by Ryan Hill

 
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When director George Miller, he of the Mad Max films, was gearing up to make a Justice League Mortal film years ago featuring a younger cast (including Armie Hammer as Bruce Wayne/Batman) there was outcry among the fan community. It was developed during the height of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, and that plus aging down the DC Comics characters to their early twenties made the movie a bad idea from the beginning.

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Ten years later, the Justice League has finally made their way to theaters, courtesy of the minds behind Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Honestly? I wish the studio had moved ahead with Justice League Mortal.

The “plot,” as it is, centers around the big bad Steppenwolf, trying to get a hold of these three mother boxes – or whatever they’re called; it doesn’t matter – so he can remake Earth in his Hellish image. It should also be noted that Steppenwolf, voiced by Ciaran Hinds, is made up of the finest computer graphics that 1997 has to offer. Standing in his way are the Justice League: Batman (Ben Affleck), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Superman (Henry Cavill), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), The Flash (Ezra Miller) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher). After the league spends the first hour trying to figure out if they want to team up, they decide to stop Steppenwolf.

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Where to begin with Justice League and its buffet of issues. Zack Snyder’s direction? His muted, bland color scheme? The unnecessary slow-motion, which even features a crate of fruit flying? The special effects, which look worse than they did in the trailers? The fact that its painfully obvious which parts Joss Whedon reshot, especially the scenes where the filmmakers used CGI to get rid of Henry Cavill's mustache? The obnoxious use of green screen thrown into bits of every scene, including an exterior corn field conversation between Henry Cavill’s Clark Kent/Superman and Amy Adams’ Lois Lane? Giving well-known characters like Commissioner Gordon nothing to do except show up on screen? Ben Affleck’s paunch? His obvious boredom? The film’s three beginnings, none of which connect to the other? The plot, which doesn’t even kick in until halfway through the film? The overreaction – again – to BvS’s criticism that it unnecessarily killed thousands of people by having some random family get caught in the crossfire between the heroes and the villain?

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My mother always said if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all, so here’s the nice things about Justice League. Composter Danny Elfman resurrects his old Batman theme from 1989, and even John Williams’ original Superman theme for the score. Aquaman has a couple of cool scenes, mostly because Momoa himself is cool and will always be cool, because he’s Khal Drogo and that’s just the way the world works sometimes. Ezra Miller’s Flash has a moment or two, but all the speed scenes are wasted. Quicksilver, the Marvel universe’s resident speedster, was utilized so much better in two X-Men films and The Avengers: Age of Ultron. In response, Justice League offers up Miller obviously running on a treadmill as CGI lightning bolts fly around him.

Oh. Wait. I got back into saying not nice things. Sorry Mom!

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Justice League s garbage. In their rush to replicate Marvel’s success, Warner Bros. and DC have skipped the years of legwork their adversary put in to get to The Avengers, which works so well because most of the characters were established in standalone films. On the other end of the spectrum, Justice League is overburdened with the task of establishing so many characters, spending the first hour going in six or seven directions trying to let the audience get to know everyone, including newcomers Aquaman, The Flash and Cyborg. At 119 minutes, Justice League was edited down to the bone, leaving more breathing room in outer space than the film. There isn’t close to enough time to do anyone justice – GET IT??? – leaving everyone with maybe one okay scene to strut their stuff.

Considering the $300 million budget, Justice League shouldn’t feel like a workprint that still needs effects work and editing.

Audiences deserve better.

The DC films deserve better.

The world deserves better.