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Deadpool 2 Is About The Problem With Fandom (Spoilers)

The first Deadpool was a parody of the superhero genre, and so is Deadpool 2 in a lot of ways. But watching the movie recently, I came away with the conclusion that this sequel is more about the superhero genre’s fans, lampooning us and our expectations going into these summer franchise flicks.

To explain this, I took to my trusty YouTube Channel Jon In Theory the other day and rambled into a microphone. It’s not the shortest video, but hopefully some of you will find it interesting. This is less of a review and more of a spoiler analysis from the perspective of someone a bit mixed on the film.

Go on…Deadpool 2 Is About The Problem With Fandom (Spoilers)

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Review: ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ Takes Fan Service to New Heights

x-men apocalypse review

Apocalypse will have a hard time swaying movie fans over to its clunky, bombastic style that feels more like a comic-book adapted to the screen than even Snyder’s Watchmen, and this latest X-Men sequel isn’t even strictly based on any one story.

Other factors work against Apocalypse in the sense that it will lose many different types of viewers along the running time. It still suffers from problems it can’t readily solve, like with how overwhelming this cinematic universe has become in terms alternate timelines, the large cast of characters, and keeping your mind off of its now irrelevant predecessors (especially when Sophie Turner’s Jean Grey makes a not-so-subtle wink at how Last Stand is the “worst.”)

These were problems with Days of Future Past, too, but for the first time since X2, an X-Men movie has come along that does far more with its material than we should have otherwise suspected. Flaws and all, X-Men: Apocalypse is an excellent work of film in both ambition and execution, despite how alienating it will be for a wide swatch of viewers.

Even at its most convoluted, director Bryan Singer offers a movie with some thrilling set pieces that connect a lot of meandering pieces. They’re some of the best moments in the franchise, even if they have to share screen time with some of the weirdest flaws in the franchise.

x-men apocalypse review

This is the third film of the trilogy started by First Class, and it even sports several flashbacks to both that and the second film in order to deepen the lore many of us took for granted over the years, including plot involvement from Rose Byrne’s Moira and even Alex Summers.

Some of the loose story threads from those films come to a head in Apocalypse, though not in a way that feels paid off by the main narrative of this movie. Apocalypse opens with the origin of its titular villain, the “first” mutant played by Oscar Isaac, a power-collecting man worshipped like a god who was buried by rebellious followers thousands of years ago. Mystique and Magneto’s actions in D.C. ten years prior have since sparked mutant cults, including one that sets out to resurrect Apocalypse for no real explanation beyond…well, he exists to be worshipped.

While this happens, the film spends a lot of time catching fans up with the established characters and setting up new mutant students that will inevitably team up to face this new threat. The pacing and plot jumping from these characters is actually quite competent, though sure to confound anyone who skipped First Class or hasn’t seen it since 2011. If you’re invested in this universe, it’s more exciting than worthy of head-scratching.

For once, Tye Sheridan’s Cyclops is given the screen time worth his due, including a sub plot that better sets him up as a future leader within the ranks. Jean Grey’s character arc is a little messier, but easy to latch onto, and Nightcrawler is handed scraps he turns into some meaty offerings, thanks to a fun rivalry established between him and Angel.

x-men apocalypse review

Jennifer Lawrence plays a more relaxed Mystique than her somewhat lazy performance in Days of Future Past. She still seems miscast here, but Apocalypse seems to have a better idea of what to do with this hero/villain who constantly finds herself switching sides. In Apocalypse, she has a more solid foot in the heroic camp, and it’s refreshing to see her work with the X-Men without the tedious guesswork over whether or not she’s sincere. It’s a testament to the film’s willingness to allow Mystique a story in these movies that follows swiftly from the first two films, rather than a correction to make her evil for the sake of being truer to the comic.

As for Apocalypse and his four, loyal followers, the film falls a bit short in giving them time to shine, aside from a satisfying continuation of Magneto’s tragic story. Yet once again, we’re forced to sit through familiar stories that place Charles Xavier and Magneto at the center, with offhand characters (including the villain and a just-as-good-as-last-time Quicksilver played by Evan Peters) working around them.

In other words, Apocalypse lives, breathes, and dies as a comic book story, not a movie. Like a comic, it shifts locations quickly and without much cohesion. Its colors brightly match the 80s time period in a way that makes me wish for more X-Men films in this decade. And the plot boils down to a simple battle between good and evil that focuses more on the main characters deciding what truly is good and evil, as well as how their actions in this battle will affect future storylines in the series.

x-men apocalypse review

Its biggest flaw is probably where it falls extremely short with visuals. The CGI is either decent or poor to the point of distraction. You have to be fully onboard with this universe of zany characters and over-the-top action in order to overlook some of the weaker effects, but it’s somewhat matched by some of the most entertaining fight choreography seen in these films, including what may forever be a wholly underrated fight sequence between Beast (reprised by Nicholas Hoult) and Psylocke (played by Olivia Munn), that utilizes both characters in a way X-Men fans probably never expected to make it to the movies.

Perhaps along the way, Singer decided to make this the X-Men film that pays more service to fans of X-Men, rather than movie fans. Unfortunately, that’s sure to be a problem for plenty of big X-Men fans as well, but that doesn’t negate much of Apocalypse that is just solidly entertaining.

Grade: B

Extra credits: 

  • I really wanted to give this film a higher score, if only because I was so enthralled by it, in a way that rivals Deadpool and Civil War even. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to overlook some of the bigger flaws and how they will be deal breakers for most audiences. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy Apocalypse as much as I did, because it’s easily one of my favorite X-Men films to date.
  • No spoilers, but stick around for the end of the credits. Not like you needed to be reminded.
  • Comparisons will likely be made to Dawn of Justice, a film that is also likened to being too much of a comic-book in terms of structure, so it’s off-putting to movie fans. The big difference is that Apocalypse does a much better job, all around. At no point was I shaking my head at plot holes or gaps in character motivation.
  • I was always a fan of X-Men: Evolution more than the older animated cartoon. Sorry. But for that reason, Apocalypse worked on a deeper level for me considering the similarities. Something about seeing Jean, Scott, and Nightcrawler as students felt right.
  • Not enough Storm. Not even close.
  • I might actually be in the camp of people who now wish for an X-Men movie that takes a break from Magneto and Mystique for a while. Apocalypse might have been something really special (and for everyone) if it had streamlined its characters more and made this an Xavier vs. Apocalypse affair.

I’m Jon and thanks for reading this. You can subscribe to my posts by clicking “Follow” in the right sidebar. Or just say hey on Twitter! @JonNegroni

Second Opinion: Why ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ Isn’t a Masterpiece

captain america winter soldier opinion

It’s strange that the sequel to one of Marvel Studios’ most ho-hum superhero origin stories is among the most celebrated as a standalone feature (and easily the best sequel of the now large catalogue of films).

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is often the film to talk about when discussing the best of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). But is it ever talked about as a movie that stands among the greatest superhero movies? That’s not as clear and most likely not the case.

Unlike “First Avenger,” Winter Soldier is not a superhero movie that happens to be a period piece. It is instead a superhero movie that happens to be a spy thriller that Robert Redford himself is cast in to echo Three Days of the Condor. Notice, though, that neither movie starts first as a genre that happens to contain superheroes in it, which arguably the best superhero movies do. Because this is, after all, a movie that has to lay the seeds down for future films, for better or worse.

The film centers around a freshly minted Steve Rogers (played by Chris Evans, as confident as ever), the man out of time who’s having trouble adjusting to a life beyond the one he had in the 1940s. His friends, connections, and even his values have been severely outpaced by his biology (and circumstantial preservation), as he’s trapped in a new world that uses him a lot more than they seem to need him.

captain america winter soldier

And he embraces this workload by diving headfirst into his job at S.H.I.E.L.D. and ignoring the suggestions of fellow Avenger Black Widow (played expertly here by Scarlett Johansson)  to get out there again and make a new life for himself. But he’s unable to do this anyway when a shadowed figure from his past arrives to disrupt a Big Brother world that Steve himself is disillusioned by, making the audience wonder why Captain America has to fight this battle at all.

It’s amazing that throughout this runtime, that is the question audiences are wondering. They aren’t put off by Captain America’s name, his moralistic nature, or his costume. Despite the fact that it’s hardly easy to relate to a man who represents excellence in every aspect, from his physical prowess to his righteousness. But the way he represents these ideals is something we can relate to, because almost all of us wish we were a little bit like Captain America, especially those of us who have grown up idolizing superheroes.

It just so happens that the handiwork of Winter Soldier is good cinema as well. The atmosphere, action scenes, and acting are all enhanced by the Russo Brothers’ vision and a solid script as mentioned. The movie is much like Captain America himself, in that it gets the job done — no more, no less.

But it’s the “no more” aspect that ultimately inhibits Winter Soldier from being one of the great superhero movies. Nothing in the film is exactly new or intriguing outside itself, but it’s still ust a great recipe that someone has managed to put together perfectly, rather than a turning point for the genre (not that it needed to be).

captain america winter soldier

This is fine because Winter Soldier already exceeded expectations by daring to even be good at all, putting forward an incredibly entertaining sequel about a character who’s seemed behind the times in more ways than one. Perhaps the film’s status as an underdog is why so many fans call it their favorite of the MCU, even above massive hits like The Avengers. I have a hard time disagreeing with them, because despite all of the credit Winter Soldier owes to previous Marvel films, it’s easily the most complete out of all of them.

Second Opinion Grade: A-


I’m Jon and thanks for reading this. You can subscribe to my posts by clicking “Follow” in the right sidebar. Or just say hey on Twitter! @JonNegroni

Snarcasm: Film Critics Aren’t People Like Us

snarcasm film critics

Snark + Snarcasm = what you’re about to read

I struggled selecting this week’s Snarcasm because at this point, I’m pretty much done talking about Batman v Superman. I’ve reviewed it, talked about it endlessly on the podcast, and I even wrote a list of over 65 problems I have with it.

I’m just done. And while typical Snarcasm fare would involve digesting (then regurgitating) an insanely contrarian piece about Jesse Eisenberg’s “Lex Luthor” being the best version of the character yet…which exists…this week, let’s take a look at something you’ve probably thought at least 300 times in your lifetime.

Film critics aren’t perfect.

snarcasm film critics

For some reason, people think that critics think that they are perfect. That they fancy themselves the end all for whether or not a movie is truly good or bad. Never mind the fact that critics disagree constantly, which is why websites like Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic exist. But this is the Internet, where all of your presuppositions and knee-jerk opinions are signed into law by Facebook Congress (I’m bad at metaphors).

Sidney Fussell at Tech Insider (because apparently the film blogs didn’t want this hot take) writes:

Here’s the problem with all those bad ‘Batman v Superman’ reviews

Weirdly, but not surprisingly, Sid gives us more than just one “problem” with these reviews. I’ll be honest though and let you know now that I have quite a few problems with this article.

“Batman v Superman” isn’t a perfect film.

When did “this movie is not perfect” become the new preface for setting up an unpopular opinion? Next you’re going to tell us that Superman has a black best friend.

snarcasm film critics
Supergirl beat you to it

 But it would have to be a lot worse to justify its embarrassing dogpiling from critics.

Would it, though? I’m one of the critics who hated it, but it’s not like BvS has a 0% on Rotten Tomatoes (as in 0% of critics liked it). It actually scored a 29%, with most critics being pretty mixed on the movie. In fact, the article Sid links to here mentions that critics almost unanimously praised certain aspects of this film, including Ben Affleck’s take on Batman.

So where is the dogpiling? The film has an average rating on RT of 5/10, which is an even split. You know, the opposite of an uneven split.

Critics are using their “BvS” reviews to express their frustrations with the big-budget superhero genre as a whole.

Holy generalizations, Batman!

First of all, critics have been frustrated with the superhero genre getting oversaturated for a while, now. Age of Ultron had a lot of complaints lobbed at it for this, and weak entries like Fantastic 4 have been eviscerated by critics. What makes BvS so special that it gets a pass for happening to be a bad movie that also exists in an oversaturated genre?

The film had to set up the DC universe, debut new characters, break even on the budget, and keep up with Marvel. Each misstep (and there are many) was reported as a complete disaster. 

Which is exactly the fault of DC for putting all of their hopes and dreams (and ideas) into one movie, when they could have just as easily taken their time and evened out their ambition. The stakes are high because DC is playing a high-stakes game and betting the house on the ponies and other casino metaphors (told you).

The pressure to do it all made for a very uneven film and many critics voiced frustration at what they saw was a rush to set up a lucrative cinematic universe (with endless spin-off and sequel potential) over simply making a good film. 

In other words, “Critics made that criticism because they’re right! What a bunch of morons!”

It’s funny though. The second season of Daredevil stuffs a lot of new characters and plots into its run, and yet critics aren’t taking their frustrations out on Marvel/Netflix. I wish I knew why.

snarcasm film critics
“It’s too dark!” 

When reading the many poor reviews of “Batman v Superman” it becomes apparent that somewhere along the way the action epic morphed from just one subpar action film into the representation of everything wrong with the (admittedly stuffed) superhero genre.

Again, this is because the movie itself is poor. If it had been excellent, no one would have made this observation. You sound like Zuko complaining because he didn’t want to go to the war meeting (“I just wanted to be invited!”)

The huge gap between critic reception and fan response shows that this movie really wasn’t “for the critics.” 

I’ve read this sentiment a lot, and I still don’t understand what it means. What, you made a movie that isn’t “made” for people who study and analyze movies? Do you think that’s a valid sentence to throw at people?

Critics review movies on the basis of how they represent the best of their own genre. Odds are that the critics have seen more superhero movies than many of the “fans,” considering they have to watch hundreds of films each year, including all of the ones you didn’t bother watching because you had the choice.

Telling a critic that a movie “wasn’t for them” is like getting mad at a garbageman for saying your moldy trash bags smell terrible. You don’t have to listen to him, but he’s probably right.

“Batman v Superman” currently has a mediocre to fair 72% audience approval rating with a ghastly 28% critic score.

Good thing people aren’t insanely easy to please.

Look, liking a movie doesn’t make it good, no matter how much I wish people liked Speed Racer as much as I did. Because it turns out that everyone likes bad movies, and it’s just tossup depending on the person.

It’s not the job of the critic to get inside your head and predetermine everything that will satisfy your Narnia mind. It’s your job to interpret a review based on what you know about the critic’s tastes, which is why people read the same critics every week, even if they disagree sometimes.

Amy Adams, who stars as Lois Lane, said the movie simply wasn’t “for the critics.”

Sure, let’s listen to the person who has a financial stake in the film she’s promoting. Not saying that doesn’t mean she’s right, but—

She’s right.

Let’s just settle down.

ultimately critics and audiences go to movies for different reasons: a critic goes to engage with a film, it’s perspective, and decide how well it executes a cinematic vision from this perspective. Audiences, especially for a popcorn action movie, go to be entertained.

Right, critics don’t care at all about entertainment, which is why they never talk about it or base their reviews on it. I’m pretty sure you have to sign an agreement on the “Become a Critic” form that states you can no longer factor in the entertainment of a movie when evaluating how entertaining it is.

If “Batman v Superman” functions well as entertainment, but not as reflective Campbellian metaphysics, then (no matter what critics say) it works.

Correction: a movie “works” if a movie works. The fact is that critics happen to be people as well, and guess what? The movie doesn’t work for them. A lot of people, fans included, don’t think the movie works. The people who do think the movie works have every right to think the movie works for them. But for everyone else who disagrees, it doesn’t work.

You can’t negate that by arbitrarily splitting up two vague generalizations of people groups and simplifying it to match your argument. That also doesn’t work.

And given its success at the box office so far, it’s working fairly well. 

Setting aside the fact that the movie had a record drop in the box office from Friday to Sunday, the big takeaway is that a movie making money is not a reflection on quality. It’s like saying McDonald’s is the best restaurant because it sells the most burgers.

snarcasm film critics

Fans have many new films and heroes to look forward to and most of it isn’t coming from “BvS” Zack Snyder.

I’m one of Snyder’s most vocal critics, and even I cut him some slack on the blame for BvS. A lot of its problems are clearly due to the studio forcing him to add unnecessary plots and teases.

Director Zack Snyder has taken the brunt of the criticism for “Batman v Superman,” with most reviewers saying his vision of an ideologically heavy-action film resulted in clunky, obtuse dialogue.

And for good reason. He may not deserve all the blame, but he certainly deserves most of it. BvS is based on his vision, as you say. And even though he doesn’t concept everything in the movie himself, he signed off on a vast majority of it as director.

And while the many teases to other properties irked some critics, at least fans can look forward to different visions for DC heroes from other directors. The sprawling DC Universe already has 11 more films in the docket between now and 2020, not a solo adventure for Ben Affleck’s Batman. 

That’s it? That’s the end of this article? Are you sure?

Let’s just call it a Thursday and get some McDonald’s.


Hey! If you’ve come across a silly article that deserves the Snarcasm treatment, send it my way via Twitter or the comments below!

I’m Jon and thanks for reading this. You can subscribe to my posts by clicking “Follow” in the right sidebar. Or just say hey on Twitter! @JonNegroni

Review: ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ Is a Low Point For the Superhero Genre

batman superman review

Somewhere in the deep recesses of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice lies a story that needs to be told. About how Gods and men should interact when the illusion of powers beyond our understanding become tangible. BvS also wants to use stylistic imagery to showcase how conflict is an experience that’s more than human, and that it’s a shared burden that unites heroes and creates bitter enemies. That no one is truly “good” or even evil.

The writers clearly had this in mind with BvS, but somewhere along the way, someone or some group of people (take your pick in this blame game) overthought and overdramatized what should have been an impactful, satisfying film. A character in this film asks, should there be a Superman? After two and a half hours of this character-assassination dressed up as a franchise starter, it’s easy to think there shouldn’t even be another Superman movie.

BvS starts as a spinoff of Man of Steel, playing off the events of that film in order to introduce a brand new (yet older to match his Dark Knight Returns roots) Bruce Wayne, played admirably by Ben Affleck. In a hasty and unintelligible opening sequence, Bruce Wayne hikes toward an office being savaged by the collateral damage of Superman and Zod’s battle in Man of Steel. For whatever reason, the people inside the Wayne Tower of Metropolis couldn’t evacuate unless Bruce Wayne was a mile away, ordering them to avoid obvious peril on his cell phone.

batman superman review

Then BvS clumsily slides into being a pure sequel to Man of Steel, rightfully continuing the storyline one would expect 18 months after the introduction of what everyone regards to as a god (this parallel, unfortunately, is so overused during the course of BvS that it becomes meaningless very early on).

The people of the world don’t know what to make of Superman. And for whatever reason, the movie uses short, unrelated scenes to drive this point throughout the first two acts in one of the most off-putting narratives I’ve seen in a superhero film.

It was as if the projectionist was shuffling between deleted scenes of the DVD at random. Think Game of Thrones, except none of what you’re watching seems to be adding up to much outside itself. A scene with one character will occur (usually with no dramatic buildup), only to be followed by something completely disparate that undermines the momentum of everything that came before it. Then watch this happen about a dozen more times.

It really is like a comic-book movie, in that it contains multiple threads and storylines that one would expect in a standalone story like The Dark Knight Returns. And yet, so was director Zack Snyder’s Watchmen, a somewhat overly faithful, yet mostly amusing adaptation to the comic that has a lot of the same problems of BvS. A comic book and a movie just aren’t the same medium, as they both have different levels of energy and pacing that dictate the structure of the story. It should be obvious, but movies aren’t meant to be written like comic books, and vice versa.

For this reason, the most interesting aspects of BvS are buried by poor editing and a clearly overstuffed script. In between two of the most pivotal scenes of BvS, which includes the titular brawl, the movie inexplicably cuts to another character hundreds of miles away watching videos on a computer, which only exists to remind the audience that a “Justice League” movie happens to be coming out next year. This bizarre, transparent ploy to earn a reaction from the audience comes at the expense of what most of the moviegoers came to see, making it quite the opposite of “fan service.”

Ben Affleck plays a well-realized Batman, complete with an inspired costume design and the best fight sequence of the entire film. But all of this goodwill is immediately eviscerated by the impossibly moronic decision to make Batman a character who kills criminals with a gunMultiple times.

batman superman review

It’s not just moronic. It’s infuriating. Not because there’s no room for evolving the character of Batman, but because this updated take on the character still borrows heavily from a source material that makes no sense if Batman is an indifferent murderer. The movie even opens with the explicit origin scene that explains why Batman would never use a gun or kill someone. The disconnect between this vigilante who willfully calls himself a criminal while literally blowing people up and the “hero” he despises for being involved in a battle that had a lot of collateral damage is too unintellectual to ignore.

And that’s just one example of what sums up what is wide off the mark with BvS, from the script to how these characters are poorly written. Once again, Cavill is forced to play an unlikable superhero who earns the mistrust of the world at large simply because his dour half-grin makes him look like he’s about to kill everyone he comes in contact with.

Jesse Eisenberg plays Lex Luthor as a sort of “Diet Joker,” rather than the unique, imposing genius that makes the villain work as an antithesis to Superman. And even poor Martha Kent is given a disgusting line to deliver to Superman at his lowest point, effectively encouraging him to just abandon the world because it’s too difficult being a hero. Even though Clark’s parents are meant to be the instigators of his innocence and decision to help others, this nihilistic mistake from Man of Steel is made even more apparent in BvS. Gone are the days when Superman actually tried to be someone people didn’t have to be afraid of.

batman superman review

Some moments in BvS are enjoyable to watch, namely a few of the action scenes that prove Snyder is a pioneer in CGI fight choreography. But most of the movie’s substance relies completely on the preconceived notions of an audience that is already on board with Batman and Superman finally sharing the big screen together. A few explosions and some nice costume designs may distract some, but most moviegoers won’t be fooled for long by what is one of the most tone-deaf superhero movies of all time.

Grade: D+

Extra Credits:

  • My wish list for this franchise? Keep the cast. Seriously, just keep everyone, because they’ve been giving it their all. The look and feel of BvS isn’t the problem. It’s Zack Snyder and his writers.
  • A lot of people will give BvS a break because they don’t mind changing things up with these characters. And I understand that. But it’s not enough to alter who Superman is for the sake of making your movie seem more important. It also has to make sense and actually improve upon what already exists.
  • I haven’t rolled my eyes this much at an action movie since Jupiter Ascending. I also haven’t yelled internally this much since Pan. When it gets right down to it, I had a miserable time watching this movie.
  • I still have high hopes for Suicide Squad, which looks like a compelling ensemble with a unique vision. It helps that seeing the trailer again before this film reinvigorated my excitement for what might be DC’s first break in this DCCU.
  • One last thing: the marketing for BvS was horrendous. The trailers don’t just give away the basic structure and major plot points. Some of the best lines in the movie were spoiled in the trailer, making them fall completely flat in BvS. Such a missed opportunity.

Review: ‘Deadpool’ Is Fantastic at a Few Things

deadpool review

The makers of Deadpool had a tall order on their hands.

A beloved comic-book antihero conceived in the early 90s, Deadpool has collected a legion of fans for a list of specific, stringent reasons. Failing to capture the exact spirit of the character would land Fox in a repeat of X-Men Origins: Wolverine history, when they first tried to fit the merc on the big screen.

But Deadpool also had to be a movie. Which means Fox had to work hard for the affections of Deadpool fans…and everyone else. And in a lot of ways, Deadpool more or less pulls this off with some creative humor and storytelling.

The film stars Ryan Reynolds, again playing Wade Wilson in a new origin story for the same character he played in Origins (sort of). After finding out he has terminal cancer, Wade leaves the love of his life, Vanessa (played by Gotham‘s Morena Baccarin), and tries to find a cure.

A group of scientists, led by “Ajax” (Ed Skrein from last year’s Transporter Refueled), manage to save Wade’s life, but they give him mutant abilities in the process. The procedure viciously scars Wade in more ways than one, setting him off on a mission to track Ajax down using his new abilities as the assassin, “Deadpool.”

deadpool review

If this sounds like a straightforward superhero movie, then I’m doing a decent job of preserving a lot of the jokes and humor that comprise Deadpool. Going into too much detail surrounding the plot and how certain scenes are set up would probably ruin a lot of the laughs you would otherwise have in the theater.

Because as you’ll realize within the first ten seconds of the film, Deadpool is absolutely a post-modern comedy. More than that, it’s a satire of superhero movies, much like how the original comic was a satire of the macho, violent 90s comics Wade Wilson was created to mock.

This is as funny as it is poignant, considering what it took to greenlight a feature film for a character most people have never heard of. And fans of superhero movies will likely consider Deadpool to be one of the best offerings in the superhero genre in years.

But Deadpool also provides an appeal that casual fans of the genre can appreciate, thanks mostly to Reynolds’ performance. His quick delivery lands more jokes than I think anyone else in the business could pull off, and his likability keeps the plot “moving forward” as you’ll discover.

deadpool review

Violence is also a hallmark of the Deadpool franchise, and Fox didn’t hold back at all this time. Deadpool belongs to a small club of R-rated superhero films, and the rating is spot on. There’s plenty of gore and grisly mayhem to justify the restriction, but that’s all part of what makes the source material so endearing. While it’s not as on the nose as the comics trying to spoof the 90s, the gratuitous violence certainly feels welcome in a genre stuffed with sanitized action and fake-out deaths.

What’s more impressive than the violence, however, is how competently Deadpool is shot as an action film. While parts of the origin story drag for a bit before getting back into the action, what we do get in these scenes is typically worth the wait.

The camera cuts at just the right moments when you want to feel the pain of a character’s head getting smashed against a wall, and impressive stunt work and effects make for an immersive comic-book movie on par with some of the best ever made.

You’d have to be pretty demanding to expect anything more from a movie that is as well-made as Deadpool, but there are enough issues to remember that Fox is just getting started.

deadpool review

The movie is overflowing with a surprising amount of faithfulness to the source material, and it’s fairly inventive. But it’s also generic, anyway. Underneath all of the delight you’ll get from well-written, self-aware humor is masked by an origin story that feels by-the-numbers and formulaic—a stark contrast to the risky business displayed by everything else in the movie, from the side characters to the soundtrack.

Perhaps this was necessary in order for Fox to ensure that there can, in fact, be a superhero movie for people who are sick of them. But for everyone else who can’t stomach the genre, Deadpool won’t do much to entertain them.

I’m going to give Deadpool a B+

If you like superhero movies, X-Men or otherwise, you’ll find a lot to love in Deadpool. Otherwise, you may find a lot of the humor flat and uninteresting. It would be a must-see for the action and Reynolds alone if only it didn’t fall back on so many origin story cliches it could have easily sidestepped.

Did you like Deadpool? Let’s talk about it in the comments.

I’m Jon and thanks for reading this. You can subscribe to my posts by clicking “Follow” in the right sidebar. Or just say hey on Twitter! @JonNegroni

Forget a Sequel, ‘Hancock’ Should Just Be a TV Series

Remember that Will Smith movie from 2008 about a homeless superhero who’s bad at being a superhero?

Well, Hancock is likely getting its long-awaited sequel soon, despite how “meh” the original was after the first hour. In fact, I speculated on what I would love to see from a Hancock follow up two years ago, and young Jon Negroni simply argued that the hero, Hancock, deserves his own superhero team. And you know what? I stand by how fun that sounds.

HANCOCK

Except now I believe the Hancock story should be reimagined as a series, perhaps with a new cast. You can blame the success of streaming hits like Daredevil and House of Cards for getting me on the Netflix content bandwagon.

The interesting thing about Hancock is that it isn’t a superhero adaptation. It’s actually based on a story dreamed up by Vincent Ngo, a writer/producer who came up with the character of Hancock back in the mid-1990s.

Of course, stalls in development kept the film in limbo for over a decade, but this world of fallen angels being reluctant superheroes is still ripe for exploitation. And thanks to Hancock‘s somewhat bittersweet ending, a reboot/refresh sounds very appealing to fans like me.

HANCOCK

See, the movie itself was pretty fun up until the third act, when it rushed its “serious” plot with a weird twist and underpowered finale. But imagine how much more entertaining the origin of Hancock would be if it was given a full season of episodes to build up its lore with the same comedic timing and exciting action sequences.

If I was in the writer’s room, I’d prefer Ngo’s original take on the story, where Hancock has a stronger relationship with Aaron, the young son of Ray and Mary. It’s a more interesting dynamic that doesn’t need the weird sexual tension built between Hancock and Mary to drive the plot. Instead, you have a broken, lonely man with powers slowly becoming a hero alongside a kid who adores him. Now that sounds like a TV show premise worth pitching.

When you rewatch Hancock, you’ll notice that his motivations for going along with Ray’s “PR rebranding” are pretty weak when you think about it too much. Hancock suddenly decides he wants people to like him, seemingly out of nowhere. But it makes way more sense if Hancock builds a realistic friendship with Aaron, which eventually leads him to discovering the truth behind his powers.

HANCOCK

In other words: more Hancock and Aaron. Less weird love triangle stuff. Oh, and more action.

Now imagine all of that stretched out over 13 episodes of a grisly weirdo learning how to be super. And then contrast this concept with the over saturation of comic book movies and TV shows about people who fight crime because it’s the right thing to do.

You know, while Hancock just does it because shrug whatever.

I love the idea of a Hancock series, especially with a new cast and refreshed plot that can deviate from what we saw in the movie by actually including real villains (not just a bunch of bank robbers).

As for casting…well, you can decide that for yourselves in the comments.

 

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