Sort of exploding in theatres in the summer of 2016, Deadpool won both critical acclaim and was a huge hit. Irreverent, vulgar, funny, and violent, the film was wildly different from any other superhero movie ever made. By year’s end it seemed poised for a Best Picture nomination, but, despite perhaps being deserving of such, never came to pass. I found it interesting that Ryan Reynolds, star of one of the worst superhero films ever made, The Green Lantern (2011) starred as Deadpool, the horribly scarred super human dude waging war against the people who took his face and life from him. Jaunty, cheerful, cocky, and quick with a sarcastic quip, he was perfect in Deadpool.
It is with sadness I report that the inevitable sequel to the film is kind of a bore, a repeat of the first, as uninteresting as they come, and for me Deadpool 2 was a complete waste of my time.
Anyone who reads me with any regularity knows I am sick to death of the glut of superhero films being thrust upon us. True, The Dark Knight (2008) remains an absolute masterpiece, but very few, in fact only Wonder Woman (2017) has come close to the level of artistry in that brilliant Christopher Nolan film. Some, such as the aforementioned The Green Lantern are just terrible movies, which given the hundreds of millions that go into the making, is very sad. It is a sad state of the industry that films with half-assed and half-baked ideas even get made, but studio greed knows no bounds.
Could they not have waited a little longer than two years before tossing out the Deadpool sequel? Guess they have to strike when things are hot.
Ryan Reynolds is back as the jaunty, foul-mouthed hero left deformed when he thought they were curing his cancer. Well, to their credit, they did, but in the process turned him into a near invincible hero, who looks like the bad guy, his face a roadmap of scar tissue and potholes. He can regenerate body parts, he is a killing machine. Once again the day is his to save, and in an Avengers-like move he begins to assemble his own team of supers to fight the nasty group who are launching an attack on humanity.
Yawn…big wide mouthed, oxygen sucking yawn.
So damned dull, uninteresting in every way, though it starts with great promise.
Picking up two years after the last film, Deadpool lives with Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), trying to make little Deadpools every waking moment when he is not saving the world. A swift, jarring attack suddenly leaves him emotionally gutted and alone. Moving into Dr. Xavier’s mansion where the X-Men are educated, he struggles to climb out of his pit of grief.
When Cable (Josh Brolin) makes an appearance to do his horrible acts, Deadpool puts together his own Avengers and lashes back.
Now that does not sound half bad, given Reynolds black portrayal of the character, but it is executed so poorly the film ends up having none of the comic energy of the first. Reynolds is fine, giving us more of the same, though the shine has dulled, but not another single actor makes much of an impression. Part of that could be that we have seen it all before, true enough, but other sequels have succeeded on less.
One expects much more from the director of Atomic Blonde (2017) a terrific, kick-ass action flick that rocked. This one is like a still life. Just a crushing disappointment.
There are four Oscar winning actors and actresses in this film, a total of five Oscars because one of them has won twice. These performances were given between 1971-1978, and three of them have been nominated since, two of them several times.
Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, and Mary Steenburgen portray best friends who collectively read the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy, which brings change to each of them. They realize the books do more than titillate them, the books open a door to a new born sense of sexuality that had been dormant for far too long.
The men they encounter, portrayed by 80s icon Don Johnson, 70s Oscar winner Richard Dreyfus, Andy Garcia and the voice of Mr. Incredible himself, Craig T. Nelson, find themselves initially concerned but eventually thrilled with the daring of the ladies. New worlds are opened for both, bringing these seniors physical pleasure unlike anything they have experienced.
Watching the ladies together is a real treat, especially Keaton and Fonda, who are wonderful actresses, terrific comedians and genuine movie stars. Fonda was absent from the screen for far too long, leaving us to ponder what her career might have looked like had she taken some of the roles offered her. True, she is not the force of nature she once was; there is something oddly forced in her acting, but she is still fun to watch. Much of the comedy comes from the two one-upping each other, playing with each other, yet their admiration for the other is never in doubt. These characters really enjoy each other and we see that because the actresses so obviously loved working with each other. As the oversexed gal in the group, Fonda does just fine.
Mary Steenburgen is lovely as always, fascinated by what she reads and absolutely interested in trying new things. She is the prude who becomes a hellcat when unleashed.
The fourth actress, Candice Bergen, the only non-Oscar winner, though she won multiple Emmy Awards for her TV series, is not in the same league as the other three, and is used by the director more for sight gags. It works because as an ensemble, the four are brilliant together because they listen to each other, they react, and they connect.
When Fonda initially pulls out a stack of Fifty Shades of Grey, the others are scandalized, but none of them refuses to read the book. Game, they all dive in. Behind closed doors their inner sexuality is reawakened, much to the delight of the men in their lives. It is just as much fun watching the guys as the girls here, especially Don Johnson, who seems to be evolving as an actor.
Is the film Oscar bait? Nope, though it might land some attention with the Golden Globes. Not a great film, but it is a very good time at the movies.