Friday, April 8, 2016

Logan (2017) (Movie Review)

     The 2017 movie “Logan” marks the end of legacy, the final portrayal of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, and it’s about time he got an Oscar nod for his iconic portrayal. Seriously, Hugh Jackman as Wolverine is one of the great, long lasting character performances in movie history. For 17 years he’s brought the famous comic book hero to life, has given consistently solid performances, and still, no one is asking for him to leave. This is a special case in which it’s the actors choice to end his character in a blaze of glory, rather than drag it through the mud and get tired. Obviously Wolverine was already the main hero of the X-Men films, but he’s such an iconic hero that he really disserved his own stand alone series. Typically when you have an A-list actor playing an iconic superhero in a successful blockbuster franchise, things often get the exact same reception. Usually the first film is regarded as a classic, the second is a solid continuation, and the third spoils everything. Well, in the case of Hugh Jackman’s stand alone Wolverine trilogy, the exact opposite happened. His first solo movie titled “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” is widely regarded as one of the worst action movies of the past decade. His second solo movie titled “The Wolverine” wasn’t perfect but was regarded as largely superior. Now we have his third solo movie titled “Logan”, which has been unanimously praised as not only the best “Wolverine” or “X-Men” movie by far, but possibly one of the all time greatest comic-book adapted movies ever made. Now just like with “X-Men Apocalypse”, I’ll be basing this review on my own personal opinion, and not what everyone else says. With all that addressed, let’s talk about “Logan”, the conclusion of “Wolverine’s” solo film series, and the tenth installment in the “X-Men” movie Franchise.

      One great thing about Wolverines film series is that each movie has its own set tone, and represents a different genera. The first movie was a superhero origin story, the second was a Japanese martial arts film, and this third movie is done in the style of a Western. It even makes direct reference to the 1953 classic “Shane”, which I personally watched with my dad at a young age. As such it was very nostalgic to see how that movie actually plays into the theme of this film. The year is 2029, a biological agent is killing off the mutant race, with no new mutants born in the past 25 years, and the X-Men have been regarded as heroes of old. We meet the old-man version of Wolverine, who’s lost most of his healing powers due to the bio toxin, and is slowly being poisoned by his own metal skeleton. He’s also taking care of a withering Professor X who’s suffering from Alzheimer’s or some kind of mental deterioration. The two have basically given up all hope, and are ready to just die already. Fortunately for them, a mysterious little girl suddenly comes into their lives, and subsequently gives them something they both previously lost, which is a family. It’s revealed that she is Wolverines daughter, or at the very least the 23rd attempt to clone someone from our hero’s DNA. Thus she’s branded as X-23, and apparently is every bit like her old man, right down to raped healing, sharp claws, and a temper to match. Now a reluctant Wolverine must embark on a mission to take this child to a safe-haven called Eden, before an evil group of cybernetic solders and doctors called the Reavers get to her first. 

      As far as performances are concerned Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart have never shined brighter than in this film. Both have always been respectable in the roles of Wolverine and Professor X, but this time they both add a great deal of emotional wait to the film, as both characters are at the end of their ropes. Hugh Jackman’s performance speaks for itself, and I really believe he disserves an Oscar nod for his work. Patrick Stewart is frighteningly good this time around as Professor X, infusing the character with pathos, as well as an over the top crazy side, and the same warm humbleness we’ve come to admire from the character. There’s several moments near the end in which his performance brought back memories of my own late grandfather, and I couldn’t help but feel touched. Even some of the smaller side characters like the mutant Caliban are played very well, and add something to the film. Of course the big break-out character is X-23, played by new comer Dafne Keen. I’ve been a long time fan of this character, and was beyond thrilled to finally see her shine in a live action movie alongside Wolverine. The young actress Dafne Keen is phenomenal in the role, and a real discovery. You wouldn’t think an unknown child actress could hold her own acting alongside seasoned talents like Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart, but she nailed it ... nailed the shit out of it! This wasn’t an easy role either, as the character doesn’t speak much, and has to convey everything through her emotions. Whenever she shoots a look it’s like piercing daggers, but she also conveys just the right amount of sympathy to balance out her more beastly side.

    Unfortunately, just like every other Wolverine movie, the villains aren’t very good, and this time are just plain forgettable. The main villain is a mechanical armed soldier named Pierce, and he’s a bad guy taken right off the shelf. Nothing original, nothing menacing, and he felt like a product from an 80’s action film. I’ll at least give the actor Boyd Holbrook some credit, as he played the role well, and looked like he was having fun as this clichéd evil cowboy stereotype. Also, as an X-Men fan, I’ve never really cared for the Reavers, but I do like how they were handled in the film. I like that their cybernetic details are very mild, so they can function as threats without off-putting the films more down to earth tone. There’s also this completely random evil doctor named Rice, who has some vague connection to a character Wolverine apparently killed in one of the previous films. This is the one character who I think should have been completely removed from the film, as he did nothing and was very boring every time he was on screen. Wait a second, I just noticed something about the cast. Over the past five X-Men movies, this is the first one that doesn’t feature any cast members from the “Game of Thrones” alumni ... that’s crazy.  

      At last we have an evil Wolverine clone who’s also played by Hugh Jackman, and I have some mixed feels about this guy. On the one hand, I like what the character represents, that Wolverines greatest fight comes in the form of himself if he’d abandoned all humanity, and was a completely savage animal. This evil Wolverine is also utilized in effectively frightening ways, and one little detail I love is that his facial hair resembles Sabertooth from the first Wolverine movie. The problem is that this character didn’t seem to leave much of an impact on our hero, and he just seemed to lack the tension required when having the older Logan battle his younger self. There was never a moment when the real Logan sat down and thought to himself that he’d have to face a younger, more aggressive version of himself, and if he even stood a chance. I also didn’t like that the evil Wolverine never spoke, and was just a puppet for the two boring human villains. I think this movie would have benefitted greatly by giving the evil Wolverine clone his own characterization, and motivation, rather than just being a tool. Maybe he thought of himself as the real Wolverine, and old man Logan was just an echo that needed to be silenced, just little things like that would have made this character more interesting. I will say that the fights between Wolverine and his evil clone are the most epic duals that our hero has ever had. Forget about Sabertooth, Lady Deathstrike, Mystique, or the Silver Samurai, it’s this evil version of Wolverine that gives him the real challenge, and their unhinged, bare knuckled (well, claw knuckled) fights are every bit as brutal as they are hard core.

      The fights with X-23 are also sensational, and I have to give serious props to the little girl doing all the stunt work. Also, coming off the heels of the super powered, special effects driven battles from the previous “X-Men Apocalypse”, it was a genuine breath of fresh air to see smaller scale action, with practical stunt work, practical effects, and a great use of surrounding environments. One of my favorite moments comes during a car chance. Our hero’s are in a vehicle heading toured a fence at high speed, the driver shouts “Hang On!”, and in a great twist, they actually can’t crash through it. Instead they have to back up, and drag the chain link fence along with them, and I absolutely love little touches like that. Oh, and of course this movie is ratted R, and its hard R. While the 2013 movie “The Wolverine” had a light R ratted version on Blue Ray, this was the first theatrical Wolverine movie to get a really violent make over, and it’s mostly for the better. I don’t care for violence and gore as a spectacle, but the brutally violent content really helps convey the grit, drama and tone of the film. This is a very savage world, with big consequences, and a lot of the personal struggles our characters both endure and suffer through here wouldn’t have been nearly as effective in a PG-13 movie.

     Let’s talk about the theme, as every Wolverine movie has a different theme of our hero rediscovering something he lost. The first movie was about him re-discovering his humanity after being pushed to the edge. The second movie was about him re-discovering what it means to be a hero, after he lost everything he initially fought for. This third movie is about our hero re-discovering what it means to have a family again after losing everyone he loved. I personally prefer his character arch in “The Wolverine”, as he rediscovered his hero status, and while “Logan’s” theme of family is good, I think it could have been stronger. For example, the scenes between Wolverine and his doubter are very good, and well acted, but I feel the movie needed more scenes with them bonding. There’s a pivotal moment near the end, when Wolverine takes his daughters hand, squeezes it, she softly calls him “daddy” and then he smiles discovering how beautiful it is to be part of a family again. It’s an excellent scene, but it would have been so much more impactful if the movie gave us more scenes building up their father/ daughter relation.

     Also, the passing is a little slow at times. I can’t say that the film is boring, but it definitely feels long, especially in the first 30 minutes. Combine that with the films joyless overtone, and it makes the movie a little difficult to watch at times. Now there are several great highlights throughout that help keep things balanced. There are some deeply thrilling moments that don’t rely on strait forward action. Particularly when Professor X’s mental state causes a psychic shock wave, freezing everyone around him except for Wolverine and X-23, who both have to work together to stabilize him. I especially love the simple moments, like this humble little dinner scene in which our heroes share a meal with a family. It’s beautiful seeing them bounding with strangers, while subtly reminiscing about old times. My favorite little touch of all is that the X-Men Comic-books actually exist within the movie, and are based around events from the previous films. That is frisking awesome, and a very original idea that I’ve never seen utilized in a comic book adaption. It’s also pretty serial to see Wolverine looking through a comic book with pictures of himself in the classic yellow and blue costume. There are even toy action figures, as we see a little boy holding a polished Wolverine doll. 

      As we build to the finally, our heroes meet more genetically cloned mutant children who are being hunted by the Reavers. Watching these kids unleash their powers on the attacking solders is the closest this film ever gets to feeling like a real X-Men movie, and it’s great. The climax in general couldn’t be simpler, as it’s just Wolverine and his daughter fighting off armed troopers in the woods, just to keep some kids safe. It’s so simplistic, yet it’s so much more engaging then the super-powered brawls we usually get from most comic book films. Seeing Wolverine and X-23 fight side by side is a dream come true, as well as pure bad ass. This is also the most intense climax of the X-Men series as our hero is beaten, bruised, bloody and out of breath the whole time. When the fighting concludes, we get to the films big, emotional highlight ... the death of Wolverine. To kill a big name super hero like Wolverine is a risky venture if not handled well, but I’m happy to say that it was very well earned in this film. All the previous themes in the film come together beautifully, and the scene was shot with perfection. The acting on display is sensational, and Wolverines final words are as impactful as they get. Also, I love that final shot of Wolverines grave, and how the cross is turned on its side to resemble an X. It’s the best closing moment of any X-Men movie by far. Although, I didn’t care for Johnny Cashes “When a Man Comes Around” playing during the credits. It should have been Johnny Cashes “Hurt” instead, that would have been awesome to hear during the credits, but that’s just me nit-picking.   

      You really have to go into this movie with the right mind set, that this isn’t a fun, summer pop corn flick. “Logan” is a brooding, dramatic and emotionally draining experience, which for me makes it a little harder to re-watch. To be honest, I’d actually rather watch the previous “X-Men Apocalypse”, not because it’s better mind you, but because it’s a lot more “fun”, and easy to watch again after a long days work. When I watch “Logan” again, I really need to be in the right mind set to appreciate it, and to an extent, enjoy it too. Also, while I can safely say I love 2013’s “The Wolverine”, I just can’t bring myself to say I loved “Logan”. I just felt that it could have been stronger in parts, and the experience was just a little too draining at times. This is definitely a good movie, as well as ambitious, and it’s great to see that the risk paid off. This was a project that clearly came from the hearts of the cast and filmmakers, which is really important now days because studios have had too much free range to crank out whatever will make them money. Plus, there’s still plenty things in the movie I loved, ranging from the solid performances, the fierce action, and especially for the theatrical introduction of X-23. I feel that the “X-Men” franchise really needed this movie, as it defied genera conventions, and was a very meaningful send-off to Hugh Jackmans long standing legacy as my all time favorite superhero.  

                                               I give “Logan” 4 stars out of 5.  


X-Men Apocalypse (2016) (Movie Review)

     There’s something that has to be said about the third installment of a popular movie trilogy ... they usually don’t turn out so well. The common consensus is that the first movie of a trilogy is great, the second is the best by far, and the third is a disappointing conclusion. The 2016 movie “X-Men Apocalypse” is the third installment of the “X-Men First Class” trilogy, and it’s very self aware of a third films bad reputation. There’s even a hilarious moment in which some of the young characters are coming back from a screening of “Return of the Jedi”, in which they all agree it was the weakest of the three films. 
Quick side note, I personally love Return of the Jedi”, and consider it my favorite of the "Star Wars" trilogy, but that's a discussion for another review. Unfortunately for X-Men Apocalypse, being self aware wasn’t enough to protect it from pore reviews. Obviously we're all entitled to our own opinion, but in most cases, I can at least understand why some films receive criticism. For example, I say with no shame that I really enjoyed “X-Men 3: The Last Stand”, but I at least recognized the problems in the film, and respected why others didn’t care for it. In the case of “X-Men Apocalypse”, I really don’t understand where all the hate and criticism is coming from. Not only did I find this to be a sold conclusion to the “X-Men First Class” trilogy, but it’s also one of my favorite installments in the franchise as a whole. Maybe I’m just a sucker for this series, or maybe the critics were too quick to right this off as just another middling third installment, but either way, here’s “X-Men Apocalypse” and these are my honest thoughts on it.

      The movie begins in ancient Egypt, where we see the origin of our main villain Apocalypse. Basically, he was the world’s first mutant, and is the reason mutants came to be in the future. In the past, he would harness the powers of various other mutants by transferring his mind to their bodies, but during a ritual, he was betrayed by his followers, and placed in a state of hibernation. I’m not going to lie, this is probably my favorite opening sequence of any X-Men movie thus far. It was brutal, tense, beautifully shot, the music was great, and everything leading up to the main title card gave me chills from head to toe. 
On that note, I also love the opening credit sequence, as it artistically goes through the ages, leading up to the 1980’s in which the movie is set. At this point, it’s been 10 years sense the events of “X-Men: Day’s of Future Past”, we see that Professor X has finally established his mutant school as a home for the gifted, Mystique is secretly aiding other lost mutants on the side lines, and even Magneto has settled down with a wife and is raising a child. However, one of the X-Men, a young Jean grey has a vision of a future in which the whole world is reduced to ruble. This gets Professor X nervous of something malevolent on the horizon. Sure enough, the dreaded Apocalypse awakens from his slumber, and is furious of the world he’s awoken to, believing that the weak have inherited the earth. Now we come to the dramatic highlight of the movie in which Magneto tragically loses his wife and child do to human intervention. Magneto’s grief and renewed hatred of humanity get the attention of Apocalypse, who both join forces to reshape the world as they see fit, with only our heroic X-Men there to stand in the way.

        Right off the bat, let’s talk about our main villain Apocalypse, as he’s the title character. One of many reasons this film has received negative reviews is due to Apocalypse being a clichéd villain, which I have my own defenses against. First of all, from the characters inception in both the comics and the TV shows, Apocalypse has always been a clichéd villain of sorts. He’s not complex or deep, and has always been the mega threat that aims to bring about the end of the world ... as if his name didn’t already imply that. 
Whether it's comics, TV or the movie, Apocalypse’s only function is to provide our hero’s with their biggest challenge, and I think this film was faithful to the character. I loved the movies overall make-up and costume design of Apocalypse, and I especially felt that the actor Oscar Isaac delivered an appropriately restrained, yet menacing performance. I like that he was very soft spoken, and quiet, as he didn't yell that often, and it just made him all the more menacing. I also like that he's introduced as this frail, almost pathetic looking figure, yet he still had a dooming presence. Honestly, I felt that Apocalypse had a legit presence every time he was on screen, and I was genuinely excited to see one of the X-Men’s most classic foes finally brought to life in a movie. He has this menacing glare whenever he looks into the camera, and I got chills like he was staring into my soul. Some of the things Apocalypse dose in the film were also very intimidating, especially this one scene in which he unleashes every nuclear bomb on the planet. I’ve always been scared of nuclear war fair, so this scene coupled with a speech from the villain came off as genuinely intimidating.

     Now weather Apocalypse comes off as a clichéd villain or not, Magneto played masterfully again by Michael Fassbender is anything but cliched, and he helps balance things out as the more complex, tragic villain. I honestly felt that Magneto’s story arc was more compelling in this film then any of the previous X-Men movies. In the beginning of the film, we see Magneto’s sudden instincts to do good, and make good with his life, right down to using his powers to save a human. Tragically, life just can’t deal him a winning hand, as this one act of kindness leads into the death of his family at the hands of frightened police officers. Even though the scenes with Magneto's family in the opening were brief and admittedly predictable, their demise still left a big impact, mostly thanks to a solid direction and powerful performance from Fassbender. When Magneto joins Apocalypse, we see a different side to him that we've never explored from his villain persona, and it made his reformation at the end all the more satisfying. This movie introduces more colorful villains in the form of Apocalypse's four horsemen. The character Psylocke has always been a favorite of mine, so it was a real treat to finally see her make a live-action appearance in an X-Men movie. She looked amazing, it was great to see her signature pink sword powers, and kudos to actress Olivia Munn for doing all her own stunts. The characters Storm and Angle are commonly seen as X-Men, so it was cool to see them in the roles of villains for this film. Although I would have liked maybe a pinch more from Storm, and her reformation at the end could have been handled a little better.   

       One great highlight is the return of classic X-Men characters like Cyclops, Jean Grey and Nightcrawler, now played by a new young cast. These are characters I’ve been waiting to see in the “X-Men First Class” series for some time now, and their presence just made the movie feel fresh,  new and not just another sequel relying on the same cast again. I really loved this new cast, especially Kodi Smitt-McPhee who was extremely charismatic and hilarious in the role of  young Nightcrawler. Of course we need to spin that rolodex of “Game of Thrones” actors to see who makes an appearance next, and this time it’s Sophie Turner who I loved as Sansa Stark from the show. As far as casting is concerned, she is spot on in the role of a young Jean grey, and the character was actually more interesting here then she’d been in the previous films. I like that she’s considered an outcast by the other classmates, who are scared to get close to her. This makes Jeans relation with Cyclops work because he too is scared to get close to anyone due to his powers that he can’t control. This is the first time I ever felt real chemistry between these two, and it was sweet to see the origins of how they both became X-Men.

     One thing I can’t emphasis enough is that the performances are very solid, not just from the new cast, but from the returning cast as well. James McAvoy delivers another compelling performance in his signature role of Professor X, and it’s always great to see Nicholas Hoult as Beast. The greatest returning character by far is Evan Peters as Quicksilver who once again steals the show, and is more prominent in this film then he was in “X-Men: Days of Future Past”. The scene in which he rescues the team from an exploding building is one of the most fun and creative action set pieces I’ve seen in years, even better then what he did in the last film. Seriously, we don’t get fun, creative moments like this enough in action movies. Rose Byrne reprises her role as Professor X’s love interest Moira MacTaggert from “X-Men: First Class”, and it’s nice to see her come back into play. This is also Jennifer Lawrence’s third time in the role of the shape-shifter Mystique, and while Jennifer is clearly done with this series, I like how the characters arc concludes in this film. This is the third movie to feature the X-Man Havok, and he has a subtly effective death scene that resonates with Cyclops, making for another dramatic highlight. There’s also some well placed cameo’s from various other X-Men alumni including Jubille, the Blob and even the Sentinels from “X-Men: Days of Future Past” make an appearance. Speaking of cameo’s, X-Men creator Stan Lee makes another cameo, this time alongside his wife, and it's actually more serious than his more lighthearted cameo’s in other Marvel movies.  

      Personally, my favorite thing about “X-Men Apocalypse” is that it looks and feels more like an X-Men comic book brought to life on screen then any of the previous movies. The costumes for example have never looked this good. Some of the characters like Psylocke and Nightcrawler look just like their TV show counterparts. Magneto’s costume looked amazing, and honestly I’d like to think this film could get an Oscar nod for best costume design. Obviously the special effects are also impressive, but this movie utilized some signature X-Men visuals which "as long time fan" absolutely thrilled me. We see Jean Grey in her fiery Phoenix form, we see Professor X in a mental battle with Apocalypse on an astro-plane, Cyclops eye piece glows red and when Nightcrawler teleports we see him traveling through dimensions. My favorite moment of all is when Magneto separates Apocalypse from the X-Men by combining two large poles together, and making them resemble a large X. These are the kind of visuals, events and set pieces that characterized the X-Men in both the comics and the TV show. It truth, it just made me feel like a kid again seeing this all come to life on the big screen. Obviously, this film is shot on a much larger scale then the majority of the X-Men movies, with lots of destruction, lots of energy, but with just enough humanity and comedy to balance out.   

     Now there’s one little detour in the narrative structure of the movie that will either be a positive or negative for some. Said detour revolves around Wolverines arch human nemeses Colonel Striker, who captures the older leaders of the X-Men, while the younger members go on a mission to rescue them. I’ll admit, this portion of the movie has no real barring on the plot, but personally, it’s another one of my favorite scenes that the film has to offer. First off all, it’s great to see the younger X-Men on a mission to rescue the grownups, and it really played to my nostalgia of the TV show “X-Men: Evolution”, which revolved around young high school mutants that went on small scale adventures. Second, this little detour never overstays it’s welcome, and is just a plain awesome action scene. Third and most obvious, this scene features Hugh Jackman reprising his signature role as Wolverine. It’s kind of like a small remake of the movie “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”, except done so much better, with some brutal kills, and Wolverine in his classic Weapon X head gear. An especially amusing touch is that Wolverine kills this one gourd played by the film’s director, Bryan Singer himself. There’s an after credit scene with Wolverines blood taken by some suits after the incident, which is a set up to the next movie titled “Logan”. This sub plot has also been criticized for being tacked on, which I can understand, but I can’t say that I didn’t enjoy it either.

    Yet another criticism levied against the film is the action sequences being “overloaded”. Now I’m not a fan of over the top action, and is the main reason I refuse to watch movies like “Transformers” or "Man of Steel", but in regards to this film ... I honestly thought the action worked great. It wasn’t even that over the top when compared to then the action from either of “The Avengers” movies or even the previous “X-Men: Days of Future Past”, and those movies were praised for their action spectacles ... so why not this? 
Heck, there really aren’t too many fights scenes in the film at all until the climax, and because of that, I was able to enjoy how supercharged and massive this final battle got. After all, this is the X-Men’s epic showdown with Apocalypse and his four hours man ... of course it’s going to be a big spectacle! Sense Apocalypse is the most powerful mutant of all, our hero’s have to team up and combine their powers together in order to stop him, and it’s just plain awesome! This climax takes that impressive final battle from “X-Men 3: The Last Stand” and makes it look like a snow ball fight. There’s a great little moment when Apocalypse takes note of Jean Grey’s destructive Phoenix powers, and when he dies, he gives his satisfying look that the world will be destroyed by something even more powerful than him, which gave me chills. 

      In the end, I found this to be a very ambitions X-Men movie, and it’s honestly one of my favorite’s of the whole franchise. I don’t know what the magic formula is for this specific film, but it just felt the most like “X-Men”. It did things differently from past installments, it looked amazing, it had great energy, the new young cast was an excellent addition, the villain had a dominate presence, the classic music cues are still great, and it just took me back to when I was a kid that grew up loving both the comics and the TV shows. Now every "X-Men" movie has its resonant themes, and this film is no exception, but I’ll admit, the subtext isn’t nearly as strong as the previous themes in “X-Men: Days of Future Past”. and I think that’s why the critics were harder on this film. The predecessor did such a good job raising viewer expectations that it made “X-Men Apocalypse” feel middling by comparison. As always, I can’t speak for everyone, but personally, I was absolutely thrilled with this film. I thought it was a strong conclusion to the “X-Men First Class” trilogy, and a very underappreciated installment in the long running, yet still reverent superhero franchise.  

Thanks for reading my review of the 2016 Superhero movie “X-Men: Apocalypse” ... and lets not forget the hero's outside of the comics.      

Deadpool (2016) (Movie Review)

    Up until 2016, the X-Men films were arranged in three distinct groups, the original X-Men trilogy, the “First Class” series, and the stand alone Wolverine films. With so many different characters and arguably the largest super hero universe ever created, why not branch out and give other select X-Men characters, or closely related X-Men characters their own stand alone films? Storm, Gambit, Rouge, the list goes on, and any one of them can easily hold their own in a film. Well, ask and you will receive, because it’s time for a select character from the X-Men universe to get his own film, but it still takes place within the X-Men film series. Our star for the day is none other than Deadpool ... um ... cool, I guise. Okay, I know Deadpool is one of the most beloved characters ... scratch that, “things” in all of pop media, and fans have been demanding a movie, especially sense the disappointment of how his character was previously featured in “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”. Personally, I’m just not that big a fan of the character. His methodic hummer and trademark of breaking the forth-wall can be very entertaining at times, but the character himself really doesn’t do that much for me.  

      When this film premiered, it was a monster hit, it got critical praise, is currently the highest grossing film in the series, and even the highest grossing R ratted movie ever made. All the films praise and attention actually pushed my hot button a little, because I was very disturbed thinking about how many kids were going to get roped into seeing this. Like seriously, a film of this sort should not be getting “this much” attention. Also, I’m not overly fond of films that bank on dirty sexual based comedy, and needlessly harsh Meta hummer. I knew the film was going to be chalk full of that stuff as it really banked on the novelty of being the first R rated film in the X-Men series, but I’m also willing to give any film the benefit of the doubt. Once the movie ended, I surprisingly didn’t hate it as much as I thought I would, if fact, I found it to be far more entertaining and worthwhile then a movie revolving Deadpool had any right to be. I didn’t love the movie by any means, I found it to be okay at best, but it certainly wasn’t terrible, and it did at least surpass my small expectations. 

     Wade Wilson is a small time mercenary, usually hired by adolescent teens that are having problems with really jerky people. One night, completely out of the blue, he comes across a woman named Vanessa, they fall in love instantly, and a relationship blooms between the two. Everything is fun and games until Wade is diagnosed with terminal cancer, and it’s kind of hard to have a long and happy relationship when you’re either dead or dying. Desperate for help, he goes to some back ally doctors who claim that they can cure his cancer, as well as give him the added bonus of having super powers. As it turns out, these doctors are in fact a splinter group from the Weapon X division, and their goal is to experiment and torture people in order to unlock their mutant powers, then they’ll be brainwashed and used as mind controlled super agents. Through a series of abuse and experiments, Wade’s mutant power of self regeneration comes to surface, curing his cancer, but the experiments left a rather damaging effect on his good looks. After he escapes, he takes the name Deadpool, vows to track down and kill every doctor that was involved in the experiments, leading up to their boss named Ajex. Bloody action ensues, his girl friend gets kidnapped, and the X-Men find themselves roped into the situation when they fail to recruit Deadpool onto the team.

      I’ll say this, the film is very funny, cleaver, stylish, and very self aware of what kind of film this is. It’s also very self aware that we “the audience” see superhero movies all the time now day’s, so it cleverly parodies all the common tropes, while making them awesome again. There’s even an after credit scene that’s clearly paying homage to “Ferris Bueller's Day Off” and spoofs the notion of every comic book movie having an after credit scene. It’s also very aware that many fans didn’t like “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” and makes fun of it at any chance it gets. I’ll actually go so far to say that this film actually transcends the superhero formula, and is kind of refreshing when compared to how familiar comic book movies these days are. It’s also a rare case in which a film from an action series becomes a full blown comedy, but it still fits very well within the X-Men universe. The movie is directed by Tim Miller, who was also involved in films like “Scott Pilgrim vs the World”, so he was the perfect chose to direct this movie. The films method of breaking the forth wall is brilliant, and the overall comedic style of "Deadpool" is wildly original. It actually reminded me of the 2005 movie “Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang”. "Deadpool" also begins with one of the funniest opening credit sense ever, it hooked me in right away and set the tone for what kind of film this is. The cartoony, R rated violence also worked very well in a film of this sort. It’s some of the funniest and most entertaining action I’ve seen in years. Of course it still has those sexual innuendos and dirty references that I don’t care for, and just roll my eyes at. This definitely keeps me from loving the film, but I do my best to glance over it.  

    Unfortunately for this film, another one of its biggest short comings is the plot. It’s a movie with great style, and some high entertainment quality, but the plot itself is as boring and “been done” as they get. This applies to the character of Deadpool himself. Whenever he’s in his costume, cracking jokes and kicking butt, it’s a real joy to watch. However, when the film cuts back to the actual origin story of Deadpool, or his love story, I was bored out of my mind, and just wanted the film to get back to the action, comedy and forth wall jokes. Ryan Reynolds is the only returning actor in the film, and does a respectable job in the role. It’s a clear sign that he just didn’t have anything to work with back in “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”, because he is in fact very charismatic and funny in the role. His costume too is fantastic and I love the added expression in his eyes. There’s a comedic best friend character played by T. J. Miller, who’s about as obnoxious and annoying as they get. Every time he was on screen, the movie just died, but that’s me talking. The girl friend is also a generic girl friend stereotype, who’s just there to fall in love and get captured, nothing else. I will say that it was nice to see actress Morena Baccarin of “Firefly” fame in the role. The romance just didn’t grab me either, it actually came off as a very unhealthy relationship, so I didn’t feel as invested when something negative happened to them. I will say that the film at least tries to convey some emotion between the two, especially when the cancer gets in the way of their romance, but I also felt that it clashed with the films comedic tone and style. At times, I felt that this movie became the same kind of origin film it was parodying in the first place, which is much harder for me to glance over. 

     The Villains are also very boring, stock bad guys that we’ve seen a million times before, not just in comic book movies, but action movies in general. The main bad guy called Ajax is probably the most pathetic villain of the entire X-Men film series. First of all, his supper power is that he can take a beating ... yeah, he doesn’t have healing powers like Deadpool or Wolverine do, he still gets injured, he just won’t feel the pain. That’s the big threat to challenge our hero’s, someone who can’t say “OW!” when he gets punched. He also has a very generic design and appearance, which makes him even harder to remember. He’s played by Ed Skrein, and he at least does a decent job in ... wait a second, wasn’t he in “Game of Thrones” too? Boy, these current X-Men movies just can’t go without roping in an actor from that show can they. Anyway, the secondary villain is a woman called Angle Dust, and once again she’s a very stock “Evil Henchwoman”, but she at least posses more of a threat during the action. Despite her appearance, she actually posses super human strength and can even best the mighty Colossus, which is no small feat. 

     On that note, I love how this movie took place within the X-Men film universe. I originally thought this film would just feature Deadpool and maybe throw in some little references and quips to characters like Wolverine and Professor X, which it does, but we also see the X-Men mansion, and two of the team members are main characters, which is great. This movie honestly harkened back to my nostalgia for the 90’s “X-Men” TV series more so then most of the movies did. There’s a great scene when our hero’s are just sitting down, watching TV while eating breakfast, then breaking news comes on screen, they drop what they’re doing, and take off in the X-Jet while exchanging some witty quips, and that little moment alone just captured the spirit of the X-Men perfectly. Then it hit me, a film series has to make every movie stand out like a big event, but the TV show allowed the characters to have smaller missions that were still significant but didn’t need every team member, and didn’t always need to be a huge spectacle. “Deadpool” is the perfect opportunity for them to just have a simple mission in-between such mega films like “Days of Future Past” and “Apocalypse”.

      This is the fourth X-Men movie to feature the supper strong, metal skinned team member called Colossus, however in all the previous films he was played by Daniel Cudmore, now he’s voiced by Stefan Kapicic, and played by several different motion capture actors. This is the best portrayal of Colossus by far, and honestly, it’s one of the five best on screen portrayals of any of the X-Men yet. He finally had a Russian accent, I liked that he was in his metal skin form the whole time, and I absolutely loved his personality. He’s just a nice big lovable guy, and a great contrast to Deadpool’s trashy attitude. The second X-Men featured in the film is a young trainee called Negasonic Teenage Warhead, played by Brianna Hildebrand. With a colorful name like that, angst teenage character traits, and super power to create her own explosions, she’s arguably the best young team member, and should be more well known. She was certainly better then Jubilee in the animated TV series.  

    At last we have the big climax, which is hands down one of my favorites of the whole series. Usually these final battles start with the X-Men taking off in the X-Jet, but this time their all squeezing in a little cab, which is hilarious, and a fun way to kick things off. Then we get that classic action movie cliché of our team of hero’s walking in a straight line, which is undeniably one of my favorite takes I’ve ever seen of this as it was both funny and kick ass at once, right down to Deadpool looking at the camera and saying “cue the awesome music”. The fight takes place in junked up ship yard, which is an awesome location, allowing the characters to cover a lot of ground, and destroy a lot of objects. It’s also really refreshing to have an epic final battle with simplistic stakes, and only a hand full of team members brawling. It all concludes with a one on one dual between Deadpool and Ajex, which is actually a pretty darn cool fight. Deadpool fights with his swords, Ajex fights with axes, the choreography is swift and quick and much like “The Wolverine” movie, it was a treat to see such a classy, old school fight in a superhero film.  

    This certainly isn’t a film for everyone, because if you’re not a fan of really rude, needlessly sexual, and overly violent Meta humor, you should probably skip this film entirely. However, if you like extremely clever, forth wall breaking comic book satire, interjected with lots of style and charismatic performances, then "Deadpool" will entertain the living crap out of you! As for me personally ... I'm caught somewhere between the two extremes. It had its moments that both disgusted and annoyed me, plus it had a plot that was very standard. Never the less, the film can be extremely entertaining at times, I loved how it took place within the X-Men movie universe, and the main character can be a lot of fun, at least when he’s in costume. If you’re one of the many fans of this character, you’ll love this film, as it certainly does the character justice. It’s not a film I’ll be watching again anytime soon, but for all the stuff I liked in the movie, I certainly don’t regret seeing it, and may even watch it again someday when I don’t have anything else to watch.

                                              I give "Deadpool" 3 stars out of 5.