Tag Archives: Ryan Reynolds

Deadpool (2016, Tim Miller)

Deadpool never gets to be too much. The film quickly goes into flashback–narrated by lead Ryan Reynolds–but not before going through an elaborate, effects and humor filled action sequence. Maybe even two. But I think one.

It takes Deadpool over an hour to get the viewer caught up on Reynolds’s origins as a superpowered, red spandex wearing former mercenary on a mission to fix himself. Literally. Villain Ed Skrein has turned Reynolds into the super-antihero and only he can turn him back. Reynolds’s transformation severely scars him, which is why he can’t go back to girlfriend Morena Baccarin, instead leaving her available to become a damsel in distress.

And screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick actually do make an effort to give Baccarin more depth, but it doesn’t work out. She’s amiable but without enough personality to make an impression. It also doesn’t help director Miller doesn’t care. He cares about making all the gimmicks palpable, then promptly ignores them for the rest of the film. Because Deadpool doesn’t build in any intensity. It’s always exactly the same. The special effects are always great, Reynolds is always sort of likable, but the movie doesn’t move. It plods along with bursts of effects at predictable intervals.

Of course, flashbacks don’t equal character development. In fact, they sort of kill it and spending more than half your runtime on setting up what amounts to a lifelessly directed superhero action finale. It’s a long 108 minutes, especially since no one ever pays off. There just isn’t any payoff in the script–Deadpool has American Pie-style humor in a graphically violent comic book movie. But it’s more. It’s Miller and it’s the cast.

Everyone’s a caricature, which might work if Reynolds wasn’t, but he’s a cartoon character who wants to be a caricature. The cast lacks any personality–Skein is shaved head British villain, Gina Carano is his super-strong sidekick who doesn’t talk, T.J. Miller is an exceptionally unfunny sidekick for Reynolds. None of them are likable. Skein and Carano’s villains are empty characterization. Director Miller apparently told actor Miller to be a lifeless tool.

There’s some life once Leslie Uggams shows up as Reynolds’s old blind lady roommate. Those scenes are at least played for fun. There’s no fun in the rest of it after a point. Some funny superhero movie jokes but nothing fun. Not even Stefan Kapičić’s obnoxiously by the book Russian X-Man (Kapičić just does the voice, the excellent CGI occupies frame), is ever any fun. Because Reese and Wernick beat the same notes on the same drum. Over and over again.

Deadpool is exactly the same at the end as it is in the beginning, as it is in the middle, just without Miller making any effort to do anything with the project. He shows off a bunch of toys, then puts them away to turn a generic finish.

Also, just like flashbacks don’t mean character development, violence doesn’t mean dangerous. Reynolds is in no life threatening danger throughout the present action. He’s more under threat of inconvenience, which the film uses to some success (and failure) with limb regeneration. But Miller (the director) doesn’t acknowledge the particulars in plotting out fight scenes. Skrein and Reynolds’s face off, for instance, is rote.

All Deadpool needs is a little momentum, a little sense of urgency. Miller doesn’t create any, Reynolds doesn’t either, and the script is a champion lollygagger. Instead, Deadpool just moves amiably along, walking a slow march on a broad path, trying not to even make eye contact with edgier possibilities.

1/4

CREDITS

Directed by Tim Miller; screenplay by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, based on the Marvel Comics character created by Fabian Nicieza and Rob Liefeld; director of photography, Ken Seng; edited by Julian Clarke; music by Junkie XL; production designer, Sean Haworth; produced by Simon Kinberg, Ryan Reynolds, and Lauren Shuler Donner; released by 20th Century Fox.

Starring Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool), Morena Baccarin (Vanessa), Ed Skrein (Ajax), T.J. Miller (Weasel), Gina Carano (Angel Dust), Leslie Uggams (Blind Al), Brianna Hildebrand (Negasonic Teenage Warhead), and Stefan Kapicic (Colossus).


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Deadpool (2012, Tim Miller)

Deadpool is an effects test by Miller to prove a feature is possible. It’s unclear, in terms of a narrative, if the ninety second short answers that question in the positive but it doesn’t much matter. These ninety seconds of a strange masked comic book character directly addressing the viewer are phenomenal.

There’s a certain smugness to Ryan Reynolds’s performance–the titular, very skinny character is CG, but Reynolds did the motion capture and voice–but Miller makes it work. The comic timing of the test footage is what’s so spectacular.

A feature length version would probably be tiresome unless it was just one high quality action scene after another.

Miller gets everything right–the bad guys, the mood, the music–he’s proposing the idea of a superhero action movie, with lots of CG, but on a human action movie scale.

It’s a neat idea… but probably wouldn’t work out.

3/3Highly Recommended

CREDITS

Directed by Tim Miller; based on a character created by Fabian Nicieza and Rob Liefeld.

Starring Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool).


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Green Lantern (2011, Martin Campbell), the extended cut

The saddest thing about Green Lantern has to be the editing. Stuart Baird, amazing action editor of the last twenty or so years, cut together this malarky. It’s not Baird’s fault, exactly, how ugly Lantern plays—cinematographer Dion Beebe’s responsible for the shots not matching in lighting and Campbell composed them. But Baird’s always had a grace about his cutting. None of it is present here.

Or maybe James Newton Howard’s godawful score distracts from it.

The problem is Campbell and not because he can’t somehow make the shoddy CG work (though the fighter jets look okay… not real, but better than the space stuff). He isn’t directing his actors. If Campbell’s not taking the time to try to turn the crappy script into something good, why should anyone bother to see what he does with it….

I’m not talking about Ryan Reynolds. He’s terrible, sure, but there are a lot worse performances here. Blake Lively is atrocious, so is Mark Strong. Well, he’s more laughable than atrocious. Gattlin Griffith, as a young Reynolds, is hilariously bad.

More shocking than Reynolds is Campbell getting a phoned-in performance from Tim Robbins. I’ve never seen Robbins waste his time like he does here. Even Jay O. Sanders is bad, in what should be an easy role.

There’s no way Green Lantern would have been good with this script, but it could have been better. I hate blaming Campbell, who’s done excellent work; he should’ve taken an Alan Smithee on this garbage.

0/4ⓏⒺⓇⓄ

CREDITS

Directed by Martin Campbell; screenplay by Greg Berlanti, Michael Green, Marc Guggenheim and Michael Goldenberg, based on a story by Berlanti, Green and Guggenheim and a character created by John Broome and Gil Kane; director of photography, Dion Beebe; edited by Stuart Baird; music by James Newton Howard; production designer, Grant Major; produced by Berlanti and Donald De Line; released by Warner Bros.

Starring Ryan Reynolds (Hal Jordan), Blake Lively (Carol Ferris), Peter Sarsgaard (Hector Hammond), Mark Strong (Sinestro), Angela Bassett (Doctor Waller), Tim Robbins (Robert Hammond), Temuera Morrison (Abin Sur), Jay O. Sanders (Carl Ferris), Taika Waititi (Tom Kalmaku), Geoffrey Rush (Tomar-Re), Michael Clarke Duncan (Kilowog), Jon Tenney (Martin Jordan) and Clancy Brown (Parallax).


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X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009, Gavin Hood)

One has to wonder if, had things worked out differently, Harrison Ford would have made a Han Solo prequel in the mid-1980s. I mean, he did reprise Bob Falfa. While the X-Men movies did make Hugh Jackman a star, they didn’t really make him the biggest star in the world. But X-Men Origins: Wolverine does offer something else–it’s gives Jackman a chance to be charming and athletic–it’s got to be the only franchise where the target audiences are teenage boys and women of the age of reason.

The film doesn’t feature Jackman’s best performance by far, but it does reveal exactly why he’s such a singularity. He’s a movie star, one who can make this silly action movie (which is, to be fair, pretty darn violent for a PG-13) seem like a real movie. It doesn’t hurt he’s got Liev Schreiber as his nemesis. The movie could have been–should have been–framed in a long fight scene between the two of them, flashbacks playing through. Schreiber somehow manages to turn in a textured performance and gnaw through the scenery.

There are some bright spots in the supporting cast–Will.i.am is surprisingly good and Danny Huston can make his atrocious dialogue sound all right–and no one’s terrible. There’s not enough personality in the script for the actors to do any better.

The direction’s good, if a little bland. It’s PG-13 gritty.

The special effects are bad. They bring it down.

1/4

CREDITS

Directed by Gavin Hood; written by David Benioff and Skip Woods; director of photography, Donald M. McAlpine; edited by Nicolas De Toth and Megan Gill; music by Harry Gregson-Williams; production designer, Barry Robison; produced by Lauren Shuler Donner, Ralph Winter, Hugh Jackman and John Palermo; released by 20th Century Fox.

Starring Hugh Jackman (Logan), Liev Schreiber (Victor), Danny Huston (Stryker), Will.i.am (John Wraith), Lynn Collins (Kayla), Kevin Durand (Fred Dukes), Dominic Monaghan (Bradley), Taylor Kitsch (Remy LeBeau), Daniel Henney (Agent Zero) and Ryan Reynolds (Wade Wilson).


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