Monthly Archives: May 2018

We Review: #Deadpool 2 “5 shining stars. I can’t recommend this movie enough.” – MR

Deadpool 2

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Deadpool 2
Deadpool 2 poster.jpg

Theatrical release poster
Directed by David Leitch
Produced by
Written by
Based on
Starring
Music by Tyler Bates
Cinematography Jonathan Sela
Edited by
Production
company
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date
Running time
119 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $110 million[2]
Box office $363.9 million[2]

Deadpool 2 is a 2018 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character Deadpool, distributed by 20th Century Fox. It is the eleventh installment in the X-Men film series, and a sequel to the 2016 film Deadpool. The film is directed by David Leitch from a script by Rhett ReesePaul Wernick, and Ryan Reynolds, with Reynolds starring in the title role alongside Josh BrolinMorena BaccarinJulian DennisonZazie BeetzT. J. MillerBrianna Hildebrand, and Jack Kesy. In the film, Deadpool forms the team X-Force to protect a young mutant from Cable.

Plans for a sequel to Deadpool began before that film’s release, and were confirmed in February 2016. Though the original creative team of Reynolds, Reese, Wernick, and director Tim Miller were quickly set to return for the second film, Miller left the project in October 2016 due to creative differences with Reynolds, and was soon replaced by Leitch. An extensive casting search took place to fill the role of Cable, with Brolin ultimately cast. Filming took place in British Columbia, Canada, from June to October 2017. During filming, stunt woman Joi “SJ” Harris died in a motorcycle accident; the film is dedicated to her memory.

Deadpool 2 was released in the United States on May 18, 2018 and has grossed $363 million worldwide, making it the eighth highest-grossing film of 2018. It received generally positive reviews from critics, who praised its humor, performances (particularly Reynolds, Brolin and Beetz), and action sequences, with some calling it better than the first film, although the perceived ethnic stereotyping of supporting characters and a feeling of cynicism drew some criticism.[3][4] An extended cut of the film is in the works, and a sequel, Deadpool 3, is in development.

Plot

After successfully working as the mercenary Deadpool for two years, Wade Wilson fails to kill one of his targets on his anniversary with his girlfriend Vanessa. That night, after the pair decides to start a family together, the target tracks them down and kills Vanessa. Wilson kills the man in revenge. He blames himself for her death and attempts to commit suicide six weeks later by blowing himself up. Wilson has a vision of Vanessa in the afterlife, but the pieces of his body remain alive and are put back together by Colossus. Wilson is left with only a Skee-Ball token, an anniversary gift, as a final memento of Vanessa.

Recovering at the X-Mansion, Wilson agrees to join the X-Men as a form of healing. He, Colossus, and Negasonic Teenage Warhead respond to a standoff between authorities and the unstable young mutant Russell Collins / Firefist at an orphanage, labeled a “Mutant Reeducation Center”. Wilson realizes that Collins has been abused by the orphanage staff, and kills one of the staff members. Colossus stops him from killing anyone else, and both Wilson and Collins are arrested. Restrained with collars that suppress their powers, they are taken to the “Icebox”, an isolated prison for mutant criminals. Meanwhile, a cybernetic soldier from the future, Cable, whose family an older Collins murdered, travels back in time to kill the boy before Collins ever becomes a killer.

Cable breaks into the Icebox and attacks Collins. Wilson, whose collar has broken in the melee, attempts to defend Collins. After Cable takes Vanessa’s token, Wilson forces himself and Cable out of the prison, but not before Collins overhears Wilson deny that he cares for the young mutant. Near death again, Wilson has another vision of Vanessa in which she convinces him to help Collins. Wilson organizes a team called X-Force to break Collins out of a prison-transfer convoy and defend him from Cable. The team launches its assault on the convoy by parachuting from a helicopter, but all of the members except for Wilson and the lucky Domino die in the landing. While the pair fight Cable, Collins frees fellow inmate Juggernaut, who repays Collins by agreeing to help him kill the abusive orphanage headmaster. Juggernaut destroys the truck he and Collins are in and they escape.

Cable offers to work with Wilson and Domino to stop Collins’ first murder, which will lead to more. He agrees to give Wilson a chance to talk Collins down before attempting to kill the boy again. They arrive at the orphanage and are overpowered by Juggernaut while Collins attacks the headmaster.

Cast

  • Ryan Reynolds as Wade Wilson / Deadpool:
    A wisecracking mercenary with accelerated healing but severe scarring over his body after undergoing an experimental regenerative mutation.[5] He forms the X-Force, a team of mutants,[6] after finding himself at his “lowest point” at the beginning of the film.[7] The film makes several references to Deadpool’s pansexuality after the first film was criticized for ignoring it.[8] As a co-writer on the film, Reynolds ad-libbed much of dialogue throughout the production process.[9] For the film’s mid-credits sequence, archive footage of Reynolds portraying Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine is used, and Reynolds also portrays himself before he acted in the film Green Lantern.[10]
  • Josh Brolin as Cable:
    time-traveling cybernetic soldier, “in many ways the opposite of Deadpool”.[11] Director David Leitch called the dynamic between Cable and Deadpool “sort of classic buddy-cop fare”, and compared them to the characters portrayed by Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy, respectively, in 48 Hrs. (1982).[12] Leitch added that the character as written in the script was mostly just an “action character”, and he relied on Brolin to add nuance to the role and explore the character’s internal pain to avoid it becoming a caricature.[13] Brolin signed a four-film deal to play the character,[11] and described his appearance here as just the introduction for the character, with “three more movies to reveal more.”[14]
  • Morena Baccarin as Vanessa:
    Wilson’s fiancée.[15] The character is killed at the beginning of the film in an example of “fridging“—the killing of a female character solely to forward the development of a male character. This happens to Cable’s wife and daughter as motivation for his story arc as well. Leitch and the writers admitted that they were unaware of the term “fridging”, and said they were not being “consciously sexist”. Earlier versions of the film simply had Vanessa breaking up with Wilson, but the writers wanted to use the opportunity to “engender great suffering for him by having his line of work be the thing that costs Vanessa her life”. They were also more comfortable with the deaths due to the increased number of strong female characters in the film overall, and because those deaths are all reversed by the end of the film through time travel; Reese stated, “We ran with that. And maybe that’s a sexist thing. I don’t know. And maybe some women will have an issue with that. I don’t know. I don’t think that that’ll be a large concern, but it didn’t even really occur to us.”[7] Baccarin said she trusted the storyline was necessary for the film, and emphasized the fact that Vanessa is saved at the end of the film.[16]
  • Julian Dennison as Russell Collins / Firefist:
    A young mutant with pyrokinesis who is being hunted by Cable.[17][18] Dennison was the only actor that the creative team considered for the role, with Russell “sort of a tailor-made character” for the actor,[12]with Reynolds insisting on casting Dennison after seeing him in Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016).[18] The character is considered a villain for much of the film,[19] which Leitch thought was an “interesting take on the whole angle of the villain”.[12] Sala Baker portays an older Firefist, in Cable’s future.[20]
  • Zazie Beetz as Domino:
    A mercenary with the mutant ability to manipulate luck,[21][22] who joins Deadpool’s X-Force team.[23] Leitch described the film’s version of the character as Beetz’ own “real fun interesting take”,[12] with the actress interpreting the character as an only child who forms a “sibling sort of relationship” with Deadpool, with “that back-and-forth banter where she is not dealing with his.”[24] Beetz began “working out everyday” when she got the role, which required her to shoot guns and use “full body” physicality.[25]
  • T. J. Miller as Weasel: Wilson’s best friend and the owner of a bar frequented by mercenaries.[26]
  • Brianna Hildebrand as Negasonic Teenage Warhead:
    A teenage X-Man with the mutant power to detonate atomic bursts from her body,[27] she is now a “new level of X-Men” after being a trainee in the first film.[28] Hildebrand felt that “it’s cool that she’s grown and matured and she still has so much of this essence of a punk kid” from the first film, and added that the character would have a “cooler” costume in the sequel.[29] The filmmakers intended to have Hildebrand shave her head to indicate that her abilities burned off her hair, but she was unable to do so due to a television series commitment.[30] The film also reveals that Negasonic is in a same-sex relationship, which is the first openly LGBTQ relationship depicted in a Marvel film.[8] When Reynolds asked Hildebrand how she felt about the potential storyline during development, the actress—a member of the LGBTQ community herself—responded positively with the stipulation that the film not make “a big deal” about the relationship.[31] In a statement, GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis praised the relationship as “a milestone in a genre that too often renders LGBTQ people invisible, and should send a message to other studios to follow this example of inclusive and smart storytelling.”[32]
  • Jack Kesy as Black Tom Cassidy:
    A mutant who is incarcerated with Deadpool and Firefist.[33] His role was reduced from being the main antagonist, who would have acted as a “devil on Firefist’s shoulder”, when the writers felt there were too many antagonists and they would rather spend the money needed to portray his abilities on a character such as Juggernaut.[34]

As well as portraying Deadpool and himself in the film, Reynolds also provides the voice for Juggernaut. The character is credited as being voiced by “himself”. Juggernaut was previously portrayed by Vinnie Jones in the 2006 film X-Men: The Last Stand, but according to Reese the creative team on Deadpool 2 felt that appearance did not do justice to the character. Wanting an additional villain for the film to support Firefist for the final fight with X-Force, the writers considered Juggernaut because he is “a force of nature [who] was probably the coolest character never to be used as of yet in the right way.”

Our Thoughts

This is one of the few movies where the second in the series is just as good, if not better, than the first. I laughed and laughed at the antics in this film. There are not many movies that blend action, special effects, and comedy this well, and I applaud the audacity of the people who created this film, for their ability to pull it off. I have no choice but to give Deadpool 2, 5 shining stars. I highly recommend this one. – MR

Find Deadpool 2 and see the new trailer here.

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We Review: #Avengers #InfinityWar “4.5 stars. If you like the Avengers franchise this is a must see.” – MR

Avengers: Infinity War
Avengers Infinity War poster.jpg

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Anthony Russo
Joe Russo
Produced by Kevin Feige
Screenplay by Christopher Markus
Stephen McFeely
Based on
Starring
Music by Alan Silvestri
Cinematography Trent Opaloch
Edited by
Production
company
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Release date
  • April 23, 2018 (Dolby Theatre)
  • April 27, 2018 (United States)
Running time
149 minutes[2]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $316–400 million[3][4][5]
Box office $1.843 billion[6]

Avengers: Infinity War is a 2018 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics superhero team the Avengers, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It is the sequel to 2012’s The Avengers and 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, and the nineteenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film is directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, and features an ensemble cast including Robert Downey Jr.Chris HemsworthMark RuffaloChris EvansScarlett JohanssonBenedict CumberbatchDon CheadleTom HollandChadwick BosemanPaul BettanyElizabeth OlsenAnthony MackieSebastian StanDanai GuriraLetitia WrightDave BautistaZoe SaldanaJosh Brolin, and Chris Pratt. In Avengers: Infinity War, the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy attempt to stop Thanos from amassing the all-powerful Infinity Stones.

The film was announced in October 2014 as Avengers: Infinity War – Part 1. The Russo brothers came on board to direct in April 2015 and by May, Markus and McFeely had signed on to write the script for the film, which drew inspiration from Jim Starlin‘s 1991 The Infinity Gauntlet comic and Jonathan Hickman‘s 2013 Infinity comic. In 2016, Marvel shortened the title to Avengers: Infinity War. Filming began in January 2017 at Pinewood Atlanta Studios in Fayette County, Georgia, and lasted until July 2017, shooting back-to-back with a direct sequel. Additional filming took place in Scotland, England, the Downtown Atlanta area, and New York City. With an estimated budget in the range of $316–400 million, it is one of the most expensive films ever made.

Avengers: Infinity War held its world premiere on April 23, 2018 in Los Angeles and was released in the United States on April 27, 2018, in IMAX and 3D. The film received generally positive reviews from critics, who praised the cast, visual effects, emotional weight of the story, and action scenes. It has grossed over $1.8 billion worldwide, making it the fourth highest-grossing film of all time, as well as the highest-grossing film of 2018, the highest-grossing superhero film, and the eighth highest-grossing film in the United States and Canada. In its opening weekend, it grossed $641 million worldwide and $258 million domestically, setting the records for the highest-grossing openings for both. It also became the fastest film in history to reach a worldwide gross of $1 billion, doing so in 11 days. The untitled sequel is set to be released on May 3, 2019.

Plot (Spoiler Alert!)

Having acquired the Power Stone from the planet XandarThanos and his lieutenants—Ebony MawCull ObsidianProxima Midnight, and Corvus Glaive—intercept the spaceship carrying the survivors of Asgard‘s destruction.[N 1] As they extract the Space Stone from the Tesseract, Thanos subdues Thor, overpowers Hulk, and kills LokiHeimdall sends Hulk to Earth using the Bifröst before being killed. Thanos departs with his lieutenants and obliterates the spaceship.

Hulk crash-lands at the Sanctum Sanctorum in New York City, reverting to Bruce Banner. He warns Stephen Strange and Wong about Thanos’ plan to kill half of all life in the universe; in response, Strange recruits Tony Stark. Maw and Obsidian arrive to retrieve the Time Stone from Strange, drawing the attention of Peter Parker. Maw captures Strange, but fails to take the Time Stone due to an enchantment. Stark and Parker pursue Maw’s spaceship, Banner contacts Steve Rogers, and Wong stays behind to guard the Sanctum.

In Scotland, Midnight and Glaive ambush Wanda Maximoff and Vision in order to retrieve the Mind Stone in Vision’s forehead. Rogers, Natasha Romanoff, and Sam Wilson rescue them and take shelter with James Rhodes and Banner at the Avengers Compound. Vision offers to sacrifice himself by having Maximoff destroy the Mind Stone to keep Thanos from retrieving it. Rogers suggests they travel to Wakanda, which he believes has the resources to remove the stone without destroying Vision.

The Guardians of the Galaxy respond to a distress call from the Asgardian ship and rescue Thor, who surmises Thanos seeks the Reality Stone, which is in the possession of the Collector on KnowhereRocket and Groot accompany Thor to Nidavellir, where they and Eitri create a battle-axe capable of killing Thanos. On Knowhere, Peter QuillGamoraDrax, and Mantis find Thanos with the Reality Stone already in his possession. Thanos kidnaps Gamora, his adoptive daughter, who reveals the location of the Soul Stone to save her captive adoptive sister Nebula from torture. Thanos and Gamora travel to Vormir, where Red Skull, keeper of the Soul Stone, informs him the stone can only be retrieved by sacrificing someone he loves. Thanos reluctantly kills Gamora, earning the stone.

Nebula escapes captivity and asks the remaining Guardians to meet her on Thanos’ destroyed homeworld, Titan. Stark and Parker kill Maw and rescue Strange. Landing on Titan, they meet Quill, Drax, and Mantis. The group forms a plan to remove Thanos’ Infinity Gauntlet after Strange uses the Time Stone to view millions of possible futures, seeing only one in which Thanos loses. Thanos arrives, justifying his plans as necessary to ensure the survival of a universe threatened by overpopulation. The group subdues him until Nebula deduces that Thanos has killed Gamora. Enraged, Quill attacks him, allowing Thanos to break the group’s hold and overpower them. Stark is seriously wounded by Thanos, but is spared after Strange surrenders the Time Stone to Thanos.

In Wakanda, Rogers reunites with Bucky Barnes before Thanos’ army invades. The Avengers, alongside T’Challa and the Wakandan forces, mount a defense while Shuri works to extract the Mind Stone from Vision. Banner, unable to transform into the Hulk, fights in Stark’s Hulkbuster armor. Thor, Rocket, and Groot arrive to reinforce the Avengers; Midnight, Obsidian, and Glaive are killed and their army is routed. Thanos arrives and despite Maximoff’s attempt to destroy the Mind Stone, removes it from Vision, killing him.

Thor severely wounds Thanos, but Thanos activates the completed Infinity Gauntlet and teleports away. Half of all life across the universe disintegrates, including Barnes, T’Challa, Groot, Maximoff, Wilson, Mantis, Drax, Quill, Strange, and Parker. Stark and Nebula remain on Titan while Banner, M’BakuOkoye, Rhodes, Rocket, Rogers, Romanoff, and Thor are left on the Wakandan battlefield. Meanwhile, Thanos recovers on another planet.

In a post-credits sceneNick Fury transmits a signal as he, Maria Hill, and others disintegrate. The transmitter displays a starburst insignia on a red-and-blue background.

Our Thoughts

I liked most of this film but the ending left me very disappointed.  It is very entertaining, and I can’t give it less than 4.5 stars despite my gripes about the conclusion, (or maybe cliffhanger ending.) It is definitely worth the price of a premium ticket. If you like the Avengers movies this one is a must see. – MR

Find Avengers: Infinity Wars and see the new trailer here.