Deadpool 2

This was always going to be a chancer, but Ryan Reynolds and co. have managed to pull it off … but only just.

First, the good: the film is funny. It’s very funny. Not as funny as the first one, but still gets a few good laughs through a two hour stretch that could have done with being a little more pacey in places. Reynolds relies a lot on breaking the fourth wall to keep the smirks coming, but I think the trick doesn’t work quite as well as it did in the first outing.

deadpool-2-flashdance.jpg

And the film is good. Well … when I say good, I mean that it knocks the spots off anything the DC Universe has produced to date, but when compared with the rest of the Marvel/Sony collection, I’d say its sailing near the lower-middle of the pack.

Okay, Ryan Reynolds was obviously born to play Deadpool and Josh Brolin turned in a creditable performance as Cable, though it was probably a little more intense than I was expecting. Zazie Beetz (no, I have no idea who she is) was really good as Domino, which again was something of a surprise because I’m assuming this isn’t her day job.

The script was okay, but it lacked the relaxed, anarchic feel of the first outing. I got the impression that writers were out to prove that the phenomenal success Deadpool 1 wasn’t a fluke, and as a result they ended up trying too hard. Some of the humour seemed forced, and some of the sequences leading up to the joke were a little contrived. The plot bounced all over the place, occasionally flying off on blind tangents,just about holding the story together, but not always keeping the audience interested.

A nod to the action sequences though: some of the best fight scenes I’ve seen on screen; just a pity there weren’t more of them.

If you’re a fan and you liked the first one, then definitely see the sequel. If you’re kind of on the fence about the whole Deadpool thing then you might be a little disappointed. It’s a good movie; I just expected better.

Six out of ten.

Avengers: Infinity War

Okay, so it’s finally landed and as promised, it’s an absolute epic. Just about every Disney/Marvel character from the past decade makes an appearance – that’s about twelve leading characters in all, and to be honest I wasn’t sure how they were going to handle it; that is a lot of people to pack in a movie set to run for two-and-a-half hours.

Well … they pulled it off, and I think I see how they did it.

So you’ve got Thor, the Black Panther, Doctor Strange, the Guardians of The Galaxy, Spider-man and the Avengers in one movie, fighting a common enemy on Earth and in space, and that was what the movie was about: the common enemy: Thanos, possibly the most powerful and complex villain in Comicdom.

avengers-infinity-war.jpg

So instead of trying to divide the audience attention between too many heroes and their problems and personality defects, the directors focussed on Thanos and his very simple agenda: eliminate half the population of the universe. What makes him so fascinating as a villain trul is that believes he’s doing this for the greater good (there aren’t enough resources in the universe to support its ever-increasing population, so a drastic “correction” is needed). Yup, lots of villains reckon they’re on the side of the greater good, but Thanos is willing to sacrifice anything to achieve his aim, no matter what the cost to himself.

thanos_and_death.jpg
For thousands of years, Thanos has an enjoyed an on-off relationship with the universal embodiment of death…

Who survives his universe genocide will not be a choice based company in wealth, race, age or religion – it’s a choice the universe itself will make completely at random (though I imagine he’s going to make sure he’s safe). Thanos himself is brilliantly played by Josh Brolin (who’ll be pulling double duty as Cable in the next Deadpool movie) and a lot of CGI. The rest of the cast does an excellent job even though they’re support players to the villain’s master plan. There’s a lot of humour, a lot of tense interaction between the people trying to save the universe, and considering how much screen time has to be shared between so many people, you still get the sense that the characters are more than two-dimensional. That couldn’t have been easy, but it was probably helped by the fact that we know them so well already.

The story works, the plot hangs together (a small miracle in itself), and Marvel Studios continues to kill it when it comes to set action pieces and special effects (this has got to be one of the most expensive movies ever made). It’s edge of your seat stuff from start to finish, so don’t even think you’ll have time to nip out for a comfort break.

An easy ten out of ten.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

This one's from the extraordinary visual imagination of Luc Besson; you might remember him: the chap who brought us the brilliant Fifth Element many many years ago? So if nothing else, Valerian and the City of the Thousand Planets would be a treat for the eyes. And it was a treat for the eyes; unfortunately, it was pretty much nothing else.

Okay, in terms of scope, artwork, imagination and attention to detail, then this is something of a masterpiece, especially when you think that the movie was made outside of Hollywood. The scenery is breathtaking, the aliens are inspired (though some of them did look as if they'd been recycled from the Fifth Element). If that sort of thing floats your boat (it certainly floats mine) then it's well worth the rather drawn-out two hours and fifteen minutes you'll have to spare to sit through it. But in terms of storyline, script and performance then I'm afraid it misses its mark by a good light year.

valerian.jpg

The main problem with the film is that while it was concentrating so hard on being the movie equivalent of a catwalk model, it sort of forgot what it was trying to be; it blended action scenes, bits of history with a rambling and uninspired love story.

Continue reading “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets”