Deadpool 2 mostly delivers

Deadpool 2 is still juvenile, but it does so with no small degree of success.

Advertisements

Deadpool 2 gives a pointed lesson on first impressions. The opening, say, half hour of the movie is heavy-handed and shockingly self-unaware considering the masked man’s modus operandi. The movie has deservedly been taken to town for playing straight into well-worn tropes early on (tellingly, the fourth-wall breaking jokes it makes about it call attention to its shock value, despite the fact that it’s the first play of the anti-hero playbook), and the film does get stuck in the mud for an uncomfortably long time. But once it gets an injection of fun, starting in earnest with the formation of the X-Force, Deadpool 2 really finds a groove.

Comparisons aren’t the best way to phrase what works about something, but I really appreciated Deadpool 2 as something that just takes everything that kinda worked about the first Deadpool and makes it work just that much better. The action feels more fluid, providing a decent dollop of blood and ballet. The one-liners are just as sharp as ever, although many of the digs it makes at Marvel and DC movies feel like they’ve been floating around Twitter for years. Most importantly, the supporting bench gets a crucial addition in Zazie Beetz’s Domino, who is just the best, and while Negasonic Teenage Warhead takes a bit of a backseat, Deadpool 2 really zeroes in on the fantastic Deadpool-Colossus chemistry. The biggest flaw of the first Deadpool, completely uninteresting villains, also gets fixed. Josh Brolin’s Cable is more cool-looking than actually interesting, but is still a vast improvement over whatever Ed Skrein was doing last time, and Hunt for the Wilderpeople‘s Julian Dennison has some excellent moments as the unfortunately named Firefist. Biggest of all is a semi-surprise appearance from another X-Men adjacent character who, like Deadpool after Origins: Wolverine, was in desperate need of rehabilitation, which he gets here in spades.

There’s a setpiece involving healing legs that is perhaps the single weirdest thing to be dreamt up for a superhero movie yet. I don’t know how to work that in more eloquently, but its brilliant.

Deadpool 2 is still juvenile, but it does so with no small degree of success. Its a smidge too long, takes a while to get going, and it still feels like there’s a better Deadpool movie out there (and it really feels like Deadpool is a better supporting character than lead). While it may not succeed in being the most subversive superhero movie of all time, its not a half-bad superhero movie in its own right.

B

Deadpool 2 (2018)
Directed be David Leitch
Starring Ryan Reynold, Zazie Beetz, Morena Baccarin, and Josh Brolin
Rotten Tomatoes (82%)

More like Infinity Snore, right folks?

Infinity War is a protracted third act which quickly and cheaply cashes in the often excellent groundwork of the previous installments. 

(SPOILERS)

Avengers: Infinity War lives and dies by its ending. Talking about Infinity War without discussing details about how it all shakes out is tantamount to just spouting niceties about the very nice beards everyone in the movie has, and not just because the ending is legitimately worth talking about (take that as a big giant SPOILER WARNING). Infinity War is constructed in such a way that the ending is the ONLY thing worth talking about, with the previous two hours simply barreling towards the end without really doing anything in themselves. Sure, you can say that about any story to an extent, but Infinity War is a protracted third act which quickly and cheaply cashes in the often excellent groundwork of the previous installments.

Take the trials of Thor in Ragnarok, which I didn’t love but did have an honest-to-goodness arc with meaningful consequences. Infinity War undoes all of it within the first ten minutes. Thor goes on to be one of the better-served characters in Infinity War, thanks to an inspired pairing with Rocket Raccoon, at least before being shipped off to hang out with a kinda-terrible Peter Dinklage in search of a tertiary MacGuffin.

Perhaps most infuriatingly, take the conclusion of Gamora’s storyline. Infinity War is decentralized enough that the character who can best claim to be the “main” character is probably Thanos. To the credit of the movie, Thanos is actually a really good villain (creeping at the edges of the Top Five for the MCU), with clear motivations and a bit of humanity to him. Sure, he’s an abusive genocidal maniac, but he’s coming at it from a place of concern and pain, without quite as much ego as might be expected from his giant gold armor, and with an endearing affinity for bubbles. But when Gamora’s big moments in Infinity War happen with her as a supporting character in Thanos’ story rather than the other way around, it cheapens her development in her own films. Not to mention that the deadly rules for obtaining the Soul Gem transparently play out as if they were originally labelled “INSERT DRAMA HERE” on the script outline.

But for all these faults, Infinity War often succeeds at spectacle. Aside from the mentioned Thor/Rocket dynamic, Doctor Strange is an infinitely more interesting character bounced against Tony Stark than he was in his own movie. Thanos’ henchmen are a memorable crew, particularly the slinky Ebony Maw. After wearing a bit thin in Guardians 2, Drax once again runs away with the whole damn movie every time he shows up here. And, for a brief fleeting moment, I was overjoyed at the thought of never seeing Bucky ever again.

So here’s where we get to the ending. It’s an incredibly bold move on paper, immensely changing the status quo, but immediately cheapens itself by going too far. The Avengers are in need of thinning, as Thanos and much of the audience would agree on, but trying to convince an audience that you’ll completely kill at least three highly profitable franchises is a stretch. It’s an ending that exists only to be undone, and while a final moment between Parker and Stark is touching in the moment, its emotional enormity is overshadowed by the logistical probability of it actually sticking. Infinity War and next year’s Avengers 4 were originally billed as Part 1 and Part 2, and the ending here makes it clear that Infinity War never had a single intention on standing alone. While, as a crossover spectacle, that’s fine, it also leaves Infinity War without anything to be about itself. It’s a 150-minute third act that’s missing any semblance of a conclusion.

C

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo
Starring Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Zoe Saldana, and Josh Brolin
Rotten Tomatoes (84%)

Infinity War MVP Rankings

  1. Thor
  2. Drax
  3. Ebony Maw
  4. Thanos
  5. Gamora
  6. Spiderman
  7. Rocket
  8. Hulk
  9. Scarlet Witch
  10. Proxima Midnight