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Posts tagged “Superhero

Guardians Of The Galaxy 2 (2017)

gog1Heh, that Japanese poster on the left made me chuckle when I first saw it so I thought I’d share. So, we finally push confidently off into blockbuster season yet again dear friends, although this arguably has already left the starting blocks with the latest instalment of  Fast And The Furious franchise whose continual success remains a total mystery to the Menagerie*. The original Guardians is among my favourites of the magnificent Marvel movie multiverse, for a number of clear and concise reasons. Firstly I loved the freedom they had with the oddball characters who weren’t enmeshed in nervous studio executive intellectual property / branding cages, I was beguiled by the scintillating  Jack Kirbyseque cosmic backdrops and Gunn’s impish sense of humour, and I just loved the fresh approach to the MCU which was becoming encumbered by the intrinsic weight of cross referencing demands and the emergence of new superhero clichés – origin story chains and reboots, final act villain plots that involved orbital beam doomsday weapon countdowns, mainstream, unchallenging three act tedium, tired and template CGI chicanery. Among this environment Guardians emerged as a lovely, freshly minted bubble-gum sensation of unadulterated blockbuster exuberance which didn’t treat the audience like imbecilic, dollar spawning gnats. Accordingly when Gunn and the same team were announced for the inevitable sequel I was on board for another adventure throughout the further intergalactic reaches of Stan Lee’s starflung cerebellum.

gog2Whilst I left the first movie with a beaming, rictus stamp of appreciation on my face the second time around elicited more of an agreeable grin, as although some of the vitality of meeting these characters for the first time has waned this is still another agreeable, colourful romp which plays to Marvels usual formula – we’ll come back to that. The gang of  rogues are in the midst of a mission, headed by interstellar kidnapping victim Starlord (Chris Pratt),  disgruntled green-hued assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana),   socially boisterous tattoo ogre Drax The Destroyer (Dave Bautista), sarcastic vermin ordinance specialist Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) and infant elemental spirit Groot (Vin Diesel) whom after sacrificing himself in the last picture now has reached the inquisitive fledgling phase of his bizarre photosynthesis lifecycle. As the film opens in a tour de force credits sequence the mercenaries best an inter-dimensional threat at the behest of an arrogant gold hued species known as the Sovereign. After their business relationship sours a frantic escape leads Starlord into the path of a powerful entity known as Ego (Kurt Russell), both sporting a remarkable genetic alignment which makes you wonder if the CGI boffins didn’t conduct some secret pixel presdigination.  The encounter of his father – no, this is not a spoiler its in the trailer and occurs in roughly the first 15 minutes of the film –  leads him on a revelatory path to unearth his true patronage and destiny. We’ll leave it there for now, also returning to the fray are Michael Rooker as Starlords former slave-master Yondu and Karen Gillan as the vengeance fuelled Nebula, while new characters emerge in the form of a surprising appearance from Sly as some high ranking Ravager which I was not expecting, and   Andorian antenna alike empath Mantis  (Pom Klementieff) whom with Drax’s assistance provides much of the films instinctive wit.

gog3What is firmly back on the agenda is the prismatic panorama of a vast multiverse teeming with a vast array of exotic flora and fauna, I think this is the first 3D projection I’ve seen this year and it was easy to get lost in the celestial visual landscape of distant exploding supernova and associated astrological flotsam and jetsam. The fun quotient is high with a cluster of dizzying set-pieces falling on just the right side of spatial comprehension, with the banter and gags landing with a carpet bombed 60% or so accuracy. There’s maybe a few to many plots nuzzling for attention alongside Starlord’s investigation into his celestial history. This is always the screenwriters bane when it comes to team movies, the hunger to give all four of the other Guardians some sort of character activity and growth, especially since unlike most other franchise threads all the main denizens here are fun and amusing to hang-out with. Groot, like the first film probably wins in these terms with the cuteness quotient turned to 11, but the producers have fully committed to an ensemble piece, perhaps at the expense of giving us much in the way of the wider Marvel cosmology of characters and artefacts.

gog4After the soaring first act I think it is fair to say that the plot weaves and wanes a little, adopting an autopilot trajectory as the team is split across two planets for hereditary excavations and an encounter with the bounty hunting Reavers. These threads and a few mysteries are solved are intertwined for a largely satisfying and visually dexterous finale, even if they do resort to the clichéd bomb countdown pulse-quickener against a foe who might just a little too abstract and elusive for visual representation – hopefully you’ll understand what I’m driving it when you see the film. The soundtrack choice, so important for the charm of the original really didn’t work for me this time around but that’s a subjective criticism depending on your musical taste, I think it will need a diagnostic overhaul for Episode III which Gunn has already confirmed his hyphenate writer-director return. Naturally there’s a smattering of references and cameos – the first big-screen appearance of a voyeuristic specialist of the multiverse had me chuckling in fanboy delight – but virtually zero reference to the overall Infinity Stone strand which seems like an oversight. Still, that didn’t prevent the executives from cramming a half dozen credit stings which is getting slightly ridiculous now. Overall this is a fine continuation of the MCU which keeps matters on an even keel rather than blasting into new territory, an instalment which nearly equals but never eclipses the exhilaration of the first adventure, another pleasing elixir of prismatic CGI chimera, schmaltzy comradeship, risqué in-universe banter and dexterous action sequences from the Marvel laboratory where the formula boffins continue to insist that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it;

* Not really, I know exactly what the success of that franchise is – big, ridiculous yet memorable action set piece engineering, four-quadrant attuned, multi-racial casting, and a pummelling global marketing campaign which emphasizes the action over the verbal….


Justice League (2017) Trailer

Oh dear;


Guardians Of The Galaxy 2 (2017) Trailer

There is clearly something in the water as the full trailers for this years nervous franchise holders are dropping thick and fast, and this looks several parsecs more entertaining that Alien 8. Still, not sure they had to crowbar in that fairly major spoiler;


Spiderman – Homecoming (2017)

I dunno, I’m sure the fanboys are going crazy but I think any residual affection I had toward the ole web-slinger has faded. It doesn’t help when they’re churning out throughly flat trailers either;


Suicide Squad (2016)

ss1And lo, Warner Brothers feeble attempts to establish a cinematic universe to rival their Marvellous competition did once again fail to deliver. Anticipation for Suicide Squad, the studios third stab at bringing their intellectual properties to the big screen was relatively high, mostly following a colourful pastel bruised marketing campaign and a promised new take on fan favourite The Joker. In the industry however the turbulence behind the scenes as set the gossip pages gloating, with tales of a fractious shoot and heavy executive artistic meddling, as the clueless suits attempt to steer the franchise up to a furious fiscal firmament. Charming director David Ayer has towed the party line but the studio’s decision to test-screen two versions of the film back in May has caused ruptures, do doubt in part due to the critical mauling that Batman Versus Superman quite appropriately received back at the start of dilly season. His preferred, measured take on the material was overridden with a more jaunty, fractured introduction to the characters and their space in the universe, complete with millions of dollars of reshoots and frantic reassemblies, and the dire effects of all this molestation is all too apparent on-screen. I’ve never read the comics but the prospect of staging the villains as the main protagonists could have been an interesting take on this most exhausted of modern serialised entertainments, when as the dust settles and the film limps into multiplexes it sounds as if the arduous making of the picture would be far more garishly entertaining.

suicide2Taking events further after the gloomy ending of Batman Versus Superman the government has decided to activate a clandestine programme in order to tackle a future attack by a so-called meta-human, instructing the ruthless Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) to use any methods necessary to combat the threat against international security. We learn this through an extremely choppy opening dinner scene between Waller and some faceless executives, giving Ayer a chance to really strut his MTV montage moxie, as a confusing cacophony of characters and backstories are scuttled against the screen. Through this ugly technique we meet the super-acurate ballistics expert Deadshot (Will Smith), a hired assassin who isn’t all bad as he welly wubs his wuverly wittle 11-year-old daughter, ensuring that Smith’s good-guy persona isn’t too tarnished, despite the hundreds of people he has presumably and ruthlessly massacred. Next up, animated Lolita rag-doll Harley Quinn (Gillian Jacobs Margot Robbie), a psychiatrist who has somehow fallen in love with everyone’s favourite playing card The Joker (Jared Leto), he’s still on the run, she’s practicing her gymnastics while her guards pant like those creatures that spot an attractive lady in an old Warner Brothers cartoon. Beyond these two main characters me meet the leathery Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) the pyrotechnic Los Zetos El Diablo (Jay Hernandez), haunted blade wielding super-ninja Katana (Karen Fukuhara), the faithful sticked Captain Boomerang  (Tom Hardy Jai Courtney), tartan flavoured adamantium tree-trunk wielding Khyberman (Sean Connery), and Paella-lass, a scorching beauty who wields her lethal cooking utensils with as much spicy severity as her favoured Mediterranean dish (Penelope Cruz). OK, OK, I might have made some of those up but is this really the best we can do, ensuring that each ethnicity sports their countries identifying melee weapon of choice? That is, when they’re not mercilessly mowing down hundreds of goons during the most pornographic celebration of firearms since last year’s double-booked AVN/NRA convention – but we’ll come back to that…

ss6This film is a mutilated mess, and not of the amusing or entertaining kind. Characters are introduced then re-introduced ten minutes later, plot lines and motivations have obviously been dissected and reassembled in a patchwork fashion which betrays the overall hesitant treatment, with lip-service paid to the potentially interesting question of sending the bad guys in to do the good guys work – isn’t that the central query of the film? You’ll have no idea of who or what the major big bad is, its plan, its minions or its motives, other than the usual so tired cliché of obliterating everything in sight then sending some phallic blue beam up into the heavens as a rather convenient rallying point for our erstwhile anti-heroes. Clearly I’m getting my multiverses muddled as I thought the Enchantress was a Marvel villain from the same Asgard realm as Thor and Loki, in the DC pantheon it appears to be some incarnation of an immortal Aztec spirit priestess, allegedly with the ‘powers of a god’ which Waller grimly intones at some feeble attempt of dramatic gravitas, while in reality her powers stretch to levitation, speaking with jagged subtitles and possessing numerous squadrons of doomed servicemen which our ‘heroes’ proceed to massacre with gruesome glee. After their introduction and introduction to theatre Suicide Squad is essentially a collection of confused and brutally violent action set-pieces which sets them on a journey to meet and confront this character, an expanded first and third act without any intermediate exposition, but maybe our new friends will find a little out about themselves on the way, prove that they’re not all bad and all that robbing, murdering, kidnapping and pain they have inflicted was just a glitch of their misunderstood nature? It’s a dark film in many ways, from its contempt for an audience who enjoy such antique notions as plot, nuance or originality, to the cinematography which bathes the screen in enough flickering shadows and cyclones of dust and detritus to make you squint through the 3D glasses to see who is punching who, not that you’ll actually care or be invested in the consequences.

suicide4But you all want to know about the Joker, right? Right. Well, I welcome various takes on such iconic characters and there is nothing wrong with trying something different to previous successes, but I for one am not falling for Leto’s albino Cuban gang-banger interpretation, coated in bling, garish gulag tattoos and prowling about like Keith Flint in a discarded Prodigy promo. In Suicide Squad the little we see of this beloved super-villain reflects the lack of care or inspiration this time around – apparently volumes of material were shot and discarded – and he gets no good lines, no maniac psychopathology, and does little more than spew out a few rounds from his gold-plated AK47 while cackling like a castrated hyena. That was a reaction I mirrored during the action scene speed-ramping technique which which I loathe for its pornographic impurity, when its not obscuring the aural space with the most tedious song montage choices – The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, The White Stripes. They’re all good bands and tracks but its just been done to death in other films, while the main score seems to be little more than an updated and libel avoiding barley concealed rift On Her Majestys Secret Service of all things. With one exception all the other characters that are complete non-entities, with the possible exception of Killer Croc whom they didn’t even bother to flesh out with a mouth-watering origin flashback.

suicide3I did like the take on Harley Quinn however, she might be the single saving grace in the picture, she at least seems to have some kind of personality and purpose, with a couple of memorable comic book inspired moments even as the camera lingers on her attributes with all the chaste atonement of Michael Bay on Viagra. Some of the production design had its merits, the smoky, charcoal world gone to hell aesthetic sheen and the costuming and make-up smears out beyond the grimy lenses, adding a small sense of characterisation against a seemingly endless urban malaise. But where’s the camaraderie, the quips or playful interactions? The sense of a team coming together as bunch of loathed misfits? I’d be lying if the inner fanboy didn’t quite a twinge of arousal when we get to see the likes of Arkham Asylum but these glimpses are few are far between, scattered over further character inconsistencies and plot  that I can’t purge due to spoiler screams. Its an exhausting, bruising and near depraved picture, quite honestly the fetishisation of firearms leaves a nauseous coating to the entire enterprise, alongside the repeated, exasperating scenes of Deadshot pining over his estranged daughter (hey dude, wanna get back to you daughter, then maybe STOP KILLING PEOPLE?), all the way down to the studio mandated, sequel signalling finale which has quite obviously been tacked on after some test screening analysis. The Justice League and Wonder Woman pictures are gonna have to be Dark Knight quality offers in order to resuscitate this feeble franchise, yet another 9mm nail in the coffin of Hollywood’s slide into obsession with mere content and product and lining up the next installment in the series, while such ancient notions as drama or energy are thrown out with like the proverbial focus-grouped baby with the bath water;

 


Captain America: Civil War (2016)

cw1Oh joy and joys and an abundance of wonders, it’s superhero time yet again at the movies. It’s been a long, languid wait of at least a month since the last bout of spandex sparring, and sarcasm aside I was generally looking forward to Civil War, mostly due to the Russo brothers having proved their proficiency in the director’s chair for one of the better movies in the MCU – Winter Soldier. The marketing for the film, the 13th produced in the franchise series since its inception with Iron Man in 2008 has hinged upon the central conflict in the movie, the first of the so-called third phase in Marvel’s multiplex mastery. Are you Team Cap or Team Iron? is evidently one of the great modern mysteries of our time, a pondering which the great philosophical minds have been keenly debating which the furiosity of the Schrödinger’s cat phenomenon, whereas the intellects behind the menagerie couldn’t give a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut, just as long as the mental Marvel mechanics melee was as fun as its fulfilling as some of the highpoints in the franchise. In other words I just wanted to check my brain at the multiplex and enjoy two hours of pixelated mayhem, with all the requisite source material call-backs and ferocious fan service to make me reminiscent of my committed comic reading youth. For the most part Civil War delivered, with a few caveats around the critical invulnerability that these films amass – the movie has taken $200 million on it’s first weekend alone and it hasn’t even opened in Russia, China, India or North America yet……

cw2Although it is allocated under the Captain America banner the first thing to be made clear is that this is an Avengers film, with the omission of Thor and Hulk everyone else is in this, although the focus, admittedly, falls under swellhead’s relationship with his brainwashed friend Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Shaw). Therein lies a critical problem but your mileage may vary, as after dragging this quasi-romance over three pictures I’m sorry to say I just didn’t care, so when the central story arc isn’t provoking much in the empathy zone the film suffers the equivalent of an ultimate nullifier detonation. Other critics have wept actual tears at the film’s childhood dream fulfilling conquests, I wasn’t remotely that invested but in places Civil War did muster a mental fist-bump. After an tempo setting opening prologue the Avengers team clumsily decimate downtown Lagos when attempting to retrieve a hastily misplaced bio-weapon. Coming under intense global scrutiny the team are visited by the venerable Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross (William Hurt) who instructs them to sign-up to a United Nations mandated Memorandum Of Understanding, submitting to the will and directives of the democratic global community. Thus the central fissure in the teams morale is struck, with Captain America fulfilling his namesake by refusing to submit to any moral or legislative authority but his own, warning of being restricted by civilian oversight in quite frankly a ill-judged and philosophical immature ideology. Stark, riven by the consequences of his arms dealing and destructive perversion of his technology hanging from previous films stands in the opposite corner, arguing that they should submit to those pencil necked dildos down at City Hall, fostering strength and defence through a mediated community. Potentially, that’s a nourishing thread to follow in the modern superhero film, here is something to be said about exploring issues of responsibility, of accountability and the consequences of collateral damage like Batman Versus Superman completely failed to do, but likes that film Civil War’s premise gradually fades away as the fisticuffs start frantically flailing, and on that front I’m happy to say the film delivers like an adamantium enhanced gut-punch.

cw3The narrative is tensile twisted travelogue, bouncing around the globe like an unruly and boisterous child, skipping from Lagos to Vienna, Berlin to um, Cleveland. The actors are fairly well enshrined in their parts through the franchise, and the schlocky nature of the material doesn’t particularly provoke room for  manoeuvre in terms of character development, but everyone commits the necessary gravitas to the material, although quite why they cast Martin Freeman in an identikit counter-terrorism official is beyond me. The film also takes some risks considering the financial fortune at stake, although the main villain is pulled from the rich decades of the multiverse they have modernised him within the contemporary context of the plot, adequately angered by Daniel Brühl whom is quietly becoming one of the finest actors of his generation. Ultimately though these films cruise on the simple, unalloyed nostalgic reflection from characters we embraced in our youth, and the wonder induced witnessing of them finally interacting and knocked each other through urban conurbations and planets in all their pixelated glory, with the sly odd quip and reference speckled across the film like the Superskrull’s alien barnacled cerebellum.

cw4As we’ve come to expect the film ignites an entire new tranche of product stretching well into the next decade, with numerous new characters to explore throughout a variety of media delivery systems. Crucially, and most welcomingly the film realigns the beloved Spidey after his fall from cinematic grace over his last few digitised appearance, with newcomer Tom Holland balancing the perfect blend of wisecracking affability with dazzling arachnoid acrobatics. A fairly significant time is proportion to the enigmatic king of Wakanda, with the prospect of the worlds first African leading man in a major Hollywood blockbuster surrounding by predominantly African cast destined to break boundaries in 2018  – he is pretty darn badass cool in that motorway chase scene. Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man gets all the big laughs, especially during the films airport helmed carnage which is unquestionably the films highpoint, a terrifically orchestrated combat sequence which is among the best blockbuster brain buggering bruising’s of the entire franchise.

civilSo while it yields its fun fanboy moments I can’t guzzle the kool-aid on this one, and I exiting the cinema with a resigned shrug rather than a blazing smile. After that highpoint Civil War dragged on to its fairly lacklustre conclusion, answering a question I never cared to be asked – who’s harder, Captain America or Iron Man? It’s an initially  nourishing but thin gruel that the films offers in terms of character affection, interaction, and not even Stark got any of his trademark quips to land with a virbranium quivering bull’s-eye. It seems I’m alone on this one as most other critics have praised these dimensions but I just can’t see it, any my attention and affection started to wane as the film weaved into third hour of its bloated 147 minute run-time.  Maybe I’ve been spoiled this weekend by finally biting the bullet on a Netflix account and mainlining all 26 episodes of Daredevil, possibly the greatest achievement of the entire MCU as far as I’m concerned, but that was inevitable as someone who loves gritty urban noir, crime films and is a huge, huge fan of Millers Daredevil which I coincidently retrieved from storage last week. To be fair the Russo brothers are proficiently paving the way to the Infinity War which is where things could get really interesting, and it was refreshing to  a superhero film which didn’t climax with some alien extinction threatening monstrosity pulverising a major capital city before the tesseract is combined with the soul gem to plug the intra-dimensional wormhole. Or something. In summary though Civil War is more of a courteous disagreement than epoch shattering genocide which should keep the franchise fiscally frisky throughout this third phase of multiplex mastery, but for my money the Nietzschian novelty of the year is still Deadpool;


Dr. Strange (2016) Trailer

You know what, I’m sick of Bundersnatch. I realise this isn’t the most original opinion in the known multiverse, but it seems like you can’t pass a idling bus, buzzing TV screen or yawning theatre marquee without seeing his shark poised smile bearing down on you, in a spectacular tsunami of over-exposure and saturation. Nothing against the guy personally you understand, he’s done some fine work, and I suppose he was an ideal choice for the sorcerer supreme given his slightly off-kilter screen presence and popular fan-base. This trailer looks like it might have made some karmic amends for those dodgy looking set leaks from a few weeks back;

Are we approaching Marvel fatigue yet? Judging by the spectacular social media opinions spewing forth from this weeks secret screenings of Civil War I suspect not, and despite that ropey accent from an allegedly top chameleon thespian this had some interesting   CGI money shots, and no-one told me that Tilda Swinton inhabiting the mentor role? Me and my friends have some long running gags concerning this particular character so it is indescribably amusing to see him actually helming a major production, so I’ll be there in all its reality warping glory come November…..


Suicide Squad (2016) Trailer 2

I’m not fantastically interested in Suicide Squad if I’m honest, I’ll probably go and see it if I don’t have much else on during it’s opening weekend, so if I’m honest I just wanted an excuse to post this which is further proof that the exhibition and special events gods are smiling on me this year…..

Oops, official site here, with obligatory monolith themed trailer.


Deadpool (2016)

DeadppIt’s barely February and already the Marvel juggernaut continues unabated with its latest big-screen addition to the spandex roll-call, except this time we have a R rated twist to the sequential panel storytelling that is quite a foul-mouthed fulmination true believers. For the most part the character of Deadpool was an unknown to me, he arrived guns ablazing on the scene after I stopped reading comics on a regular basis, and from a distance the inclusion of a wise-cracking assassin was hardly breaking the traditional post Dark Knight Returns grim and violent 1990’s graphic novel mould. In that sense I have no baggage, no ‘it’s not like the comics’ nerd-rage tedium to taint the opinion of what I found to be a largely amusing and entertaining romp, a mischievous melee which manages to annihilate that acidic aroma of Reynolds relationship to the terrible Green Lantern picture from a few years back. If I’m honest those initial trailers for the film left me rolling my eyes in faux exasperation, but I needed an alternative to the grievous subject matter of the other two movies we have circling in the airspace, and some of the conclusions oozing out of various social media faucets seemed to suggest this could be an entertaining aside. The Marvel marketers have also pulled an amusing coo by programming this against Valentine day’s weekend as Deadpool, as its titular character voiceover asserts is in many ways a love story. Well, when I say love story, I mean love story that follows a rather non-traditional pathway of boys meets girl, girl meets boy, boy contracts terminal cancer and submits himself to a horrific secret medical procedure which leaves him a wretched and ragged shadow of himself whom is immune to pain and regenerates shattered tissue as he mercilessly hunts and exterminates down the members of the shadowy syndicate whom have subjected him to this horrific fate.

dead5If that sentence was a little breathless and overwrought then you’ll forgive me for aping the film itself in such a meta-textual way, as it opens in a balletic mid-combat title sequence where the traditional credits have been supplanted by descriptions of the roles from Deadpool’s perspective, hence ‘Produced by a couple of Douche Bags’, ‘Starring A British Villain’ and ‘Also Starring A Dumb Sidekick’ set the framework for the general direction of travel. We are thrust into the midst of the second act transition to the climax, where after a quick action beat chaser our wise-cracking guide Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) provides through flashback his origin story, sliced by frequent asides to camera, whip crack montages and frequent shattering of the fourth wall, all fostering a general disregard for genre credentials in a boisterous charge that sustains momentum throughout the movie. As an ex-mercenary type Wade is the aforementioned guy who robs from the bad guys in order to maintain his own degenerate lifestyle, a path that changes when he meets Vanessa (Morena Baccarin, best known for Homeland and that terrible V reboot from a few years back) at the seedy bar that his friend Weasel (T.J. Miller) runs with a hirsute, criminal efficiency. True love and frequent fucking blooms until the cancer raises its ugly head, leading Wade into the arms of a shadowy cabal. These swine subject him to a torturous experiment that disfigures his body but leaves him with accelerated healing powers, setting him on a righteous path of vengeance, punctuated by bone shattering violence, wank gags and frequent Marvel legendarium in-jokes – and a couple of third tier X-Men appearances…..

dead2I don’t think it was unreasonable to assume that this could have been some obnoxious frat-boy of a movie judging by some of that trailer content, and with Van Wilder Party Liaison himself in the driving seat I believe my caution to be justified. They obviously caught me on a good day as I cackled like a tickled wraith throughout Deadpool, I relished the squelching violence and let the flow of risqué quips and convention buggering bulldozer demolish my snooty objections, while the light scattering of in-jokes wasn’t as possibly onerous as a sandpaper dildo, just to steal another line from our potty-mouthed protagonist. With a Shane Black inspired machine run ratio the various eviscerating beats land with a 70% to 80% accuracy, and even that perennial failure of the Marvel brand, a toothless charisma void of a main villain, didn’t particularly wound the film by evidently being grown in some Jason Statham clone tank. Crucially the action is well choreographed and reasonably inventive, and the appearance of comic book characters like Colossus power drives enough weight to lift the attention from Reynold’s hyperactive histrionics. Where it might be most subversive is with its structure, not to get to boring or academic but running the origin movie requirements movie in voiceover attuned flashback from the second to third act transition worked quite well, and broke up the linear original story template in a fresher, more engaging fashion than this particular strain of films usually attempt.

dead3It took a few hours for the penny to drop that the appearance of the two lower tier X-Men and associated in-jokes results from the rights to the main characters being bound to another studio – this a Fox production, not Disney who no doubt would have recoiled at such a disgusting expression of corporate ambition. This brings to light the total lack of explanation of Deadpool’s connection to Xavier’s school for gifted pupils and the entirely new (to me) character called Negasonic Teenage Warhead, a sobriquet that I thought was another deeply buried in-joke, but no, she’s just another z-tier character whom they thought would be funny to render on-screen. But I digress, just as our narrator does in the picture before catering off on some new wet sliced woes. For all the films proud rule breaking it still struggles in giving the character of Vanessa any effective agency, so it was a shame to see her slip away from the narrative until the final, inevitable damsel in distress clustered climax. Closing a film on some furious set-piece structured showdown isn’t exactly original but these are minor quibbles, as overall I loved that Deadpool is that rare beast which really seems to throw caution to the wind and confidently express ‘fuck it, let’s go’, so for me its closest ally in attitude and tone must be something like Dredd or even Team America:World Police. Not that I was particularly seeking any clues but I didn’t even notice the hand of any specific director, auteurist led aficionado that I am, so the news that this was some talented Second Unit / SFX guy who has been given the step up wasn’t surprising, as visually it still cleaves to that  gleaming Marvel identikit aura, that bright and clearly defined digital ambulation. It’s some of the specific turns that still leave me chuckling – the ‘mask’ reveal, the corpse semaphore – two incidents that individually have within them more wit and genuine subterfuge than the entire run-time of Kick-Ass or the genuinely disgusting Kingsman movie whom both pretend to wallow in the same subversive space – god, I fucking hated that movie.

dead4Still here? Well I think we’ve finished and there isn’t much else to say? Well, if you insist I suppose we could take a cursory look at the state of the industry with yet another big scoring superhero picture, based on a pre-existing media entity. By my reckoning 90% of this Superbowl montage is reboots and remakes, and I assumed that that odd Turkish Airlines corporate interjection was a fucking skit until with growing horror I realised it was genuine, as was the shameless pilfering of the iconic  Fight Club visual – you can justify replicating comic panel compositions all you like Snyder, but that is just….well, my initial reaction is disgust. In a recent S&S article the landscapes of reboots, reimagining and sequels was explored, with the usual and expected positions floated – Hollywood and the industry worldwide has been in the business of xeroxing success since the two-reelers were a blazing technological breakthrough, thus there is nothing new here. What was more interesting was the slow change in the gender and racial composition of the protagonists (Hunger Games, The Force Awakens) that seems to be slowly changing, and the four quadrant chasing that Deadpool may already have eviscerated, that an incredibly successful film has to be family friendly to be successful, at the expense of the wider richness and diversity of the subject matter mustered by the industry. Naturally the initial reaction has been to green light R rated fare now the almighty dollar has mitigated the fiscal risk, and that didn’t take long now did it? For me this not in the top tier but certainly in your B grade superhero fare, not as originally satisfying as Guardians, or parts of The Avengers or The Winter Soldier, but I’m glad they are carving out space for R rated material which might just save a increasingly yawn inducing genre. In the spirit of Mr. Pool I’d like to provide a hesitant link to this skit and warn that it is extremely NSFW and likely to offend due to its dark subversive wit, a piece from Comedy Bang Bang precursor Comedy Death Ray which might be the kind of sketch our hero would enjoy as he embarks on his claret soaked carnage. What will be dredged up next? Well true believer I’m waiting for that impossible sounding Turk Luis Guzmán starring spin-off, but who knows, anything is possible, as the obliterating onslaught of omertà obligated objectives obviates all objections – erm, excelsior?

 


Captain America – Civil War (2016)

Well this looks surprisingly low-key, like a TV episode or something. Nevertheless I thoroughly enjoyed The Winter Soldier more than it deserved, and the same crew are behind this so I’m in;

Wait a second, is that William Hurt as General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross, as in reprising the role from the 2008 Edward Norton  starring The Incredible Hulk picture? Is that still canon? I’m getting confused. Still, I Judging by the blink and you’ll miss it reveal of another favourite MCU character could it be old Shellhead versus the crown prince of Wakanda? Could be interesting…..