Deadpool 2

2018, Uncategorized

Dir. David Leitch

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Morena Baccarin, Zazie Beetz, Brianna Hildebrand, Julian Dennison, Terry Crews, Bill Skarsgård, Rob Delaney, Lewis Tan, Eddie Marsan, Shioli Kutsuna, Karan Soni, and Stefan Kapicic.

Deadpool was something of a surprise hit when it came out in 2016. The foul mouthed comic book hero was an unknown entity, and the film was considered a risk by the studio. It took a campaign from star Ryan Reynolds, and some leaked test footage to convince Fox to green light the movie, of course with a limited budget, and even more limited access to the x-men franchise of which Deadpool is closely associated with. Now, the merc with the mouth is back. Original director Tim Miller is gone, creative differences were cited, and is replaced with one half of the John Wick team, David Leitch. Deadpool 2 is also released with a different weight of expectation , the first one was an unprecedented hit, and Deadpool is now more eagerly anticipated than actual X-Men movies.

Deadpool 2 follows on where the first movie left off. Wade Wilson is now living happily with his long term girlfriend Vanessa, whilst also being a successful gun for hire, only going after the bad guys. Soon tragedy hits, and Deadpool finds himself in a depressive slump. He finds new purpose though when he meets Julian Dennison’s troubled teen, mutant Russell. Deadpool sets about trying to connect with, and help Russell, even if that means standing up to Josh Brolin’s time travelling, half cyborg assassin, Cable. Who is hell bent on killing Russell for a future wrong.

If you liked Deadpool, you’re going to love Deadpool 2. It’s laugh out loud funny throughout. Continuing the meta commentary of the first, Ryan Reynolds is allowed to skewer comic book movies, pop culture, the movie industry, and his own career. There are also great moments of physical and visual comedy. One beat, which showcases Wade Wilson’s regenerative powers, is a particular stand out. The introduction of the X-Force too, which involves some skydiving in high winds is also hilarious, showcasing that it isn’t just Ryan Reynolds commentary that makes Deadpool so funny. Deadpool 2 is as funny, if not funnier, than its predecessor, it also ups the action stakes too.

The bigger budget for the sequel is, thankfully, evident on screen. The film certainly looks a lot better than the first one, if some of the CGI is still under par. Director David Leitch brings new ideas to the action sequences. This isn’t to say that Deadpool now fights like John Wick, he still retains his own style of fighting, and Leitch adds an inventiveness to the way he uses his powers. Broken limbs and spare body parts are incorporated into the fights. The big action sequences look better too, being a sequel they are much bigger, but Leitch nails them. It’s not just the action that’s expanded, the cast have too. In all, the new cast members are well incorporated, although they are still only using d-list X-Men. Zazie Beetz is the most impressive, with new character Domino, and Rob Delaney all but steals the show as Peter, an ordinary civilian who joins X-Force just because he saw the ad and thought it looked like fun. There are also some blink and you’ll miss them cameos, which are a great laugh.

I couldn’t help but leave feeling slightly disappointed. I have to admit I felt this way with the first one. The plot is much more complex than the first film, which does add more emotional resonance, but at the end of the day it’s just used as the line to hang the jokes on. It’s a hard balance with Deadpool jokes, they have to be relevant enough to comment on what’s happening today, but at the same time this makes the whole film more disposable. In five years time jokes about Logan and the DCEU will be outdated, and the references that are a bit more aged seem a little weird, there’s an extended monologue about Interview With A Vampire, which whilst funny, is only going to connect with certain cinema goers. It would have also been nice to see them reflect current issues in the movie industry more. There’s a whole line of commentary about women in film, and how the industry treats them, which could have been used, but Deadpool never goes there. It’s especially jarring when you have TJ Miller in a main role, who is dealing with historic accusations, and some behaviour problems which have led him to be cut from future Deadpool movies. Josh Brolin was a great Cable, but the character was severely underused, both in terms of action, and jokes, which may have been the biggest disappointment.

I had a good time watching Deadpool 2. It’s at least as good as the first film, if not slightly better in the action department. There’s a disposability to these movies though, that can leave them feeling slightly shallow. It has a punk rock feel to things, but this is now a studio tentpole, and that means certain things are off the table, and things are played a little safe.

7/10

 

Life Of The Party

2018, Uncategorized

Dir. Ben Falcone

Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Gillian Jacobs, Debby Ryan, Adria Arjona, Julie Bowen, Maya Rudolph, Matt Walsh, Jessie Ennis, and Molly Gordon

Melissa McCarthy’s filmography can be split into two parts. To put it simply there’s the good, where she really shines, and then there’s the bad, where she becomes increasingly annoying. Two of the worst culprits that fall into the bad category are Tammy and The Boss. Which isn’t great news as Ben Falcone who directs here, also directed those. McCarthy and Falcone are also married, and they populate this film with their friends and members of their old improv group, which makes you wonder if they see these films as a working holiday. What they’ve produced here is non-sensical at best, and at its worst is one of the most terrible comedies of the year.

McCarthy plays Deanna, a married, middle aged mum, whose life is turned upside down when her husband announces he wants a divorce as they drop their daughter off for her last year at college. In an effort to come to turns with this loss, and her new found freedom, Deanna decides to go back to college with her daughter, and finish her degree. She ends up attending sorority parties, sleeping with other students, and facing her fear of public speaking. All whilst… I can’t go on with this. The film is ludicrous, there’s no point in trying to get to the bottom of what it’s about.

The film just doesn’t work. It’s not funny, it’s not charming, and it doesn’t have a strong central message. It’s all over the show. To call it a complete mess is an understatement. There are points in the film which are so bizarre you start to question if you’re actually in the theatre, or if you’re asleep, having a fever dream. The actors themselves don’t seem to know what movie they are in, and the performances are pitched at different tones. Maya Rudolph is particularly grating, in an over the top performance that would only feel at home in an SNL sketch.

The big problem here is in the directing and editing. It feels like they had a rough outline for the film, and then just let the actors riff off the situations. This can work. Films like Anchorman thrived because of this style, but that film had a surrealist setting which suited it. Here the surrealism feels off. McCarthy plays Deanna sympathetically, and for her, she is pretty grounded. She’s mourning the break up of her marriage, and these two tones clash awkwardly. There are some good jokes, but each scene felt like it went on too long, with jokes being over-explained. It’s like a film that’s comprised of five minute sketches, none of which fully gel together. Falcone also tones down the physical comedy that McCarthy does so well, but the few brief moments of slapstick garnered the biggest laughs.

It’s not a good film. It’s an increasingly odd film, but it’s not a horrible film. There are some nice messages of finding independence, girls sticking together, and not letting she get in your way. It’s just poorly made and not very funny. A tighter focus, and a tighter edit could have really improved it.

3/10