atomic blonde

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.

Atomic Blonde's action can't overshadow plot by Ryan Hill

 

Not that there was any doubt, but Charlize Theron is a bad ass. She’s never been afraid to mix it up, but 2015’s classic Mad Max: Fury Road only solidified things. The Oscar winning actress takes things to another level with Atomic Blonde, beating the ever-loving snot of everything that comes her way, and looking good while doing it.

Atomic Blonde is 100 percent style over substance. It looks gorgeous, has a great soundtrack and the action sequences are amazing, though the film could’ve used one more to keep things from dragging a bit in the middle. But the plot?

Well …

Maybe it’s best not to worry so much about that. All that’s necessary to know is near the end of the Cold War in 1989 Berlin, British spy Lorraine Broughton (Theron) has been assigned to find out who killed a fellow agent and stole a list containing the names of spies hidden in a watch. Lorraine is partnered with a shady agent played by James McAvoy, who’s intentions are very easy to figure out. The cast also includes John Goodman, Toby Jones, Sofia Boutella and Toby Jones.

Again, when watching Atomic Blonde, don’t worry about the plot. It borrows the list of spies idea from the first Mission: Impossible and surpasses that film’s topsy-turvy, hard to follow plot by throwing so many unnecessary twists into the mix near the film’s ending, it’s enough to make one throw up their hands and give up trying to make sense of life in general. It’s a true mess. Thankfully, the plot isn’t the main attraction. That’s the action and it delivers in spades.

Directed by David Leitch, one half of the duo behind the first John Wick (and the upcoming Deadpool 2), the action in Blonde is fierce. Wick was a ballet of bullets, but Blonde trades bullets for fists, culminating in a stunning fist fight that lasts a good five minutes. The best part? The characters actually get tired from the fighting, stumbling around as they struggle to get breaths in between punches. It’s fantastic.

The bonkers plot really hurts Atomic Blonde and justifies the film’s style-over-substance feel, but the action – and Charlize Theron – deserve better than a plot with a zillion holes in it. There’s been talk of a sequel, and if so hopefully Atomic Blonde 2 will have a plot that makes sense. Or at least partial sense.