Movie Review ~ Deadpool 2


The Facts
:

Synopsis: Foul-mouthed mutant mercenary Wade Wilson (AKA. Deadpool), brings together a team of fellow mutant rogues to protect a young boy of supernatural abilities from the brutal, time-traveling mutant, Cable.

Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Zazie Beetz, Leslie Uggams, Jack Kesy, Shioli Kutsuna, Julian Dennison, Morena Baccarin, Brianna Hildebrand, Stefan Kapicic, Karon Soni, T. J. Miller, Bill Skarsgård, Rob Delaney, Terry Crews

Director: David Leitch

Rated: R

Running Length: 119 minutes

Trailer Review: Here

TMMM Score: (7.5/10)

Review: When Deadpool arrived on the scene in 2016, it sent a much-needed electric charge through the comic book genre that was quickly beginning to grow stale. Proving there was an audience for an R-rated superhero, Deadpool established a new breed of franchise that saluted the foul-mouthed and violent. To date, the copycat factor is low and if anything it’s asked PG-13 audience friendly fare to step up their game and get back to providing entertainment instead of just laying ground for future installments. Now, two years later Deadpool 2 is upon us and it’s poised to create similar sparks.

Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds, Woman in Gold) has settled into life as Deadpool, a mercenary for hire intent on wiping out bad guys and gals in all walks of life as indicated in a prologue that brings us up to speed with his recent exploits in bloody fashion. Living with his love Vanessa (Morena Baccarin, Spy) and thinking about starting a family, Wade is just getting comfortable when everything goes wrong. Thus launches a surprisingly complex story involving time travel and Deadpool’s protection of a young mutant (Julian Dennison) from the Terminator-esque hulk Cable (Josh Brolin, Sicario).

There’s little more I could relay here without giving away major spoilers but if you were a fan of the first film you’ll find an equal amount of fun to be had here. I was worried the success of the wisecracking style in the first movie would result in smart-alecky shenanigans that were too self-aware and sure enough the movie struggles with sincerity out of the gate. In all honesty, the film takes a solid 20 minutes to find its feet and a frenzied bit of opening exposition weighs the film down needlessly. Thankfully, director David Leitch (Atomic Blonde) and screenwriters Rhett Reese (Life), Paul Wernick, and Reynolds himself get these tiresome trapping out of their system early on.

What I continue to appreciate about this series is its willingness to make itself the butt of the joke. There’s a hefty amount of self-referencing gallows humor that works almost every time and enough inside jokes to keep the most pop culturally adept among us satiated. As was the case in the previous film, no superhero is off limits and one of the first gags employed is a hysterical Logan reference that sets the tone perfectly. Keep your eyes and ears open for a cavalcade of digs and dings at everyone from The Avengers to Brad Pitt – the jokes come fast and furious so stay alert.

Another selling point to this film is that it’s unpredictable and not just because it moves so fast you don’t have time to catch up. No, the film actually takes some turns that feel unique and that creates a sense of engagement to keep you on the edge of your seat. As more and more characters join the mix (and, in one laugh out loud diversion, form the basis for X-Force) it can feel overwhelming but it’s clear Reynolds and company know where this clown car of craziness is headed.

The closing credits of Deadpool 2 are alone worth the price of admission – I wouldn’t dream of giving away any of the surprises but I almost felt like standing up and applauding once they were complete. It takes a lot of balls and brains to pull off the feat of living up to a heralded original film and everyone involved in Deadpool 2 meets the challenge head-on. If you can forgive a rocky start (and I’m positive you will) this is one sequel that feels equal.

31 Days to Scare ~ Intruders

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intruders

The Facts:

Synopsis: Anna suffers from agoraphobia so crippling that when a trio of criminals break into her house, she cannot bring herself to flee. But what the intruders don’t realize is that agoraphobia is not her only problem.

Stars: Beth Riesgraf, Martin Starr, Rory Culkin, Leticia Jimenez, Jack Kesy, Joshua Mikel

Director: Adam Schindler

Rated: R

Running Length: 90 minutes

TMMM Score: (7/10)

Where to Watch: Xfinity On Demand

Review: When you go to film festivals, it can be a crapshoot as to what you’re going to get.  I definitely hemmed and hawed about hauling myself out to attend a 10pm showing of Intruders (back when it was called Shut-In) because there was nothing yet on the net about it.  Sometimes if I’m on the fence I’ll do a little recon work to see if it’s something worth the late hours but there was zero, zip, nada information available to help sway me either way.  I went in blind.

And so should you.

This review is going to be brief because to divulge even a teeny bit about this clever thriller above and beyond the synopsis above just wouldn’t be right.  Don’t be put off by the generic title or poster (clearly ripping off The Cabin in the Woods) or the fact it bypassed theaters and moved directly to streaming platforms.  Writers T.J. Cimfel and David White have designed a puzzle box of a movie where nothing is quite as it appears and no one can be trusted.  Even the first major twist manages to keep the film afloat and chugging along until the next curveball Cimfel and White pitch at you arrives.

Director Adam Schindler and cinematographer Eric Leach make good use of the cramped quarters, adding enough claustrophobia to keep the tension high.  The cast is pretty swell too with Beth Riesgraf strongly leading the way as a would-be robbery victim who turns the tables on some no-goodnicks that have broken in to her secluded home looking for cash. The movie has some squirm inducing moments and several sequences that will have you white-knuckling your armrest, but it’s not a messy gore-fest either.

If you’ve seen Don’t Breathe, Intruders may feel pretty familiar but for my money this is the superior film because it has the subtlety and balance Don’t Breathe lacked.  As is almost always the case, the movie begins to run out of steam before the credits roll but it very nearly makes it to the finish line in one piece.  There are a few gaps of logic that don’t quite pan out but on the whole the set-up feels solid.  A good thing to mention is that I think there’s some replay value here in order to afford audiences the opportunity to go back and pick up on what they missed the first time around.