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Deadpool

For fans of Marvel’s best mercenary, the traditional twelve days of Christmas has been turned into what the Fox Studios marketing department is calling “the 12 Days of Deadpool,” a twelve-day event of online Deadpool goodies such as posters, IMAX trailers, and magazine covers, all leading up to this Christmas day event, the release of a second trailer for the film of this lovable cancer patient, Deadpool. In honor of the holiday event coming to a close, and because I’m such a big Deadpool fan, I’ve watched the trailer more times than one person feasibly should in one sitting, to give an in depth analysis about what this trailer is saying about the film. Warning, potential spoilers for both Deadpool the movie and Deadpool comics ahead.

The trailer starts off with Deadpool in the backseat of a cab, as he wiggles his way to the front to converse with the cabbie. Here we get our first hint at the merc with the mouth’s humor. When the cabbie questions Deadpool on his choice of a red suit, he breaks the fourth wall ever so slightly to inform us that it’s Christmas, and he’s got someone on his “naughty list” to take care of.  We then cut to Deadpool slicing down baddies, finishing off as he he shish kebab’s one with his katanas. He makes a quip about this being a different kind of superhero film, and cut to a flashback of his terminal cancer diagnosis as Wade Wilson, before he donned the red.

From here, I can already tell that the film is taking heavily from the character’s comic book origin, where he goes to the Weapon X program in a desperate attempt to cure his cancer. Here he undergoes horrific genetic experimentation to give him an accelerated healing factor, making him able to heal from anything. The Weapon X representative who sells this idea to Wade is thought to be a young Dr. Killebrew, the doctor who performed these experiments on him, but I don’t think that to be the case. Present throughout the trailer, however, is Deadpool’s nemesis and Killebrew’s assistant, Ajax. Ajax seems to be spearheading Wade’s surgery. Before now it wasn’t 100% clear what Ajax’s role in the film would be, but after this trailer it seems like that’s been established. (WARNING: POTENTIAL SPOILERS AHEAD)

The story, from what I can gather between the two trailers, is that Ajax has kidnapped Wade’s wife Vanessa after Wade’s survival of the Weapon X facility being destroyed. Now, Deadpool has to rescue her from Ajax and his cronies. Along the way he’ll receive help from his buddy Weasel, Deadpool’s arms dealer from the comics, and the two X-Men Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead. If this is true, the story seems like it’ll be very basic by superhero standards, but it’ll work. Given how complicated other superhero flicks have gotten in their stories, it might even be a breath of fresh air to have one that’s simple by comparison.

Moving on to what we know about the characters, there’s not much to be said about the supporting cast. Ajax looks intimidating, Weasel looks like he’ll be the sarcastic friend he’s always been, Colossus looks like he’s the silent strong type, and NTW looks like she’ll be filling the role of the angst-filled sidekick who doesn’t take orders well, and wants to work on her own terms. The one character we do see plenty of to give us an idea of what we’ll be seeing in February, is Deadpool himself.

Ryan Reynolds, not only in both trailers but in other media promoting the film, is doing a phenomenal job portraying the character. Both with the mask on, and as Wade Wilson prior to his life changing event, Reynolds is filling the character with the sarcastic, witty humor he’s known for. As far as the fourth wall breaking that Deadpool is known for, this has been kept to a minimum in the trailers, only appearing in two places, with only one of them being him actually talking to the audience. I appreciate this, as two hours of Deadpool doing nothing but breaking the fourth wall would get old quick, and lose its humor even quicker. Luckily both the writers and director Tim Miller seem to understand this, and have used this form of humor as little as possible.

One major concern I’ve been noticing online is that the film isn’t going to be funny, like it’s going for. Some online fans are afraid that the trailers have shown all of the good jokes, and the rest of the film will be mediocre and unfunny. While this is a legitimate concern especially with comedies, I don’t feel that this will be the case. One major thing that’s being forgotten is that this isn’t being released as a straight comedy film. The official billing for the film is Action/Adventure, with elements of sci-fi and comedy thrown in. So while the comedy of Deadpool himself is being advertised as a major selling point, it won’t be the sole focus of the film. True Deadpool is the main character, but there’s much more to this film than just one character, and while he’ll be the major player, the film isn’t 100% reliant on him being constantly funny. Deadpool as a character is a mix of humor, action, and the often-ignored depth that the character hides with that humor he’s so popular for. If Reynolds can pull off this mix like he seems to be doing in the trailers and marketing, I have no doubt that the film will do well for fans of the character.

In addition, between the two trailers, we’ve seen a total of seven scenes from the film, with both trailers focusing on one scene in particular, a freeway battle between Deadpool and what appears to be some hired goons he’s been contracted to take out. I believe this to be a deliberate choice on the filmmaker’s part, choosing to focus on using those scenes to advertise the character and get people to want to see the rest of the film, and leaving the rest to be a surprise. This is an incredibly smart move on their part, making the choice to spoil only one area of the film (which, I might add, is a direct reenactment of the CGI test footage leaked to spark interest in the film in the first place) to leave the rest in tact for the fans to enjoy and consume on February 12th.

Now, it comes time for me to predict my rating of the film. This is a difficult task, but I believe it’ll be a 5/5 for Deadpool fans such as myself, and a 3.5/5 for just the general filmgoer. The trailer has me hopeful for the film, and I believe it’ll be an incredibly accurate version of the character, getting the core of the character right rather than just the “meme Deadpool” that the internet knows and loves. It’ll have enough to keep the general film going public entertained if only for the two hours it’ll run on screen, and may even help break up some of the “superhero formula” that plagues the genre by being so radically different from what we’ve seen, as Deadpool promises in the trailer. For fans of the character, it’ll be the film they’ve been looking for to represent their favorite character. And at the very least, it’ll be a more accurate portrayal than we saw in X-Men Origins: Wolverine

 

star-wars-force-awakens-official-poster

To call me a Star Wars fan would be a gross understatement. Like most children growing up in the late ‘90s/early 2000s, I was absolutely engrossed in the world of Jedi, Sith lords, and the Force. Having been 6 years old when the prequel trilogy started with The Phantom Menace, I was exposed to the original trilogy of episodes IV-VI by my caring mother in between episodes I and II. While I loved the prequel trilogy as a child, growing older I like many others grew to resent the overly childish, poorly written trilogy of Anakin Skywalker, and preferred the much better executed, more mature original trilogy. Having lived to face the disappointment of mediocre Star Wars films, I’ve been excited but wary since hearing that Disney obtained the rights to the series and planned to set a course on yet another trilogy. Today, having finally seen The Force Awakens, I can safely say that fans can rejoice. Star Wars is great again.

Sitting in the theatre as the opening title crawl scrolled, giving us a summary of the 30 years of backstory that took place between episodes VI and VII, I immediately felt the chills go down my spine, and an ear-to-ear smile break out on my face. The John Williams composition, the familiar scroll superimposed over the vast openness of space, all preceded by those words, “A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away…” This was the Star Wars that I remembered. And this feeling of childlike glee is what would set the tone for the remainder of the film.

The film is chock full of nostalgic goodness, that will make any long time fan of the franchise scream with joy. From the familiar characters popping up, to references of the original trilogy, and even the familiar beats of the story that are reminiscent of Episode IV, A New Hope, this film is a much needed reminder of just how fun a Star Wars film can be when not bogged down by talk of ancient prophecy’s and trade negotiations. This doesn’t make the film inaccessible, however. The story is well fleshed out to stand on its own without needing to know all of the background information from the previous films of the series. Something important, as this film is likely some of the first exposure an entirely new generation of fans will be receiving to the franchise. Moving along from just how nostalgic this film made me, however, let’s take a look at the film on a technical level.

Without getting into spoilers, the film is distinctly a Star Wars film. As mentioned earlier, the film takes some major inspiration from the original trilogy, right down to the beats of the film being very reminiscent of Episode IV. Despite this, director J.J. Abrams adds his own style to the film, helping it stand out as a more “modern” Star Wars film despite the inspiration from the originals. The characters are all solid, and not just the established heroes from the Galactic Civil War. While it’s fun to see Han and Leia back together again, Chewy sitting co-pilot in the Millennium Falcon, and C-3P0 back to his helpful if not slightly overbearing ways, the new cast of characters do their best to establish themselves, and they do it well. Finn and Poe are great both in their scenes together and apart, and Captain Phasma is incredible during her short time on screen. Adam Driver gives us an excellent antagonist in Kylo Ren, a surprisingly complex antagonist who gives us more than your standard Star Wars villain is used to. I’d go as far to say as he was my second favorite character in the film, keeping me most interested in his character, second only to the leading lady herself.

I personally believe Daisy Ridley steals the show in her portrayal of Rey, providing an excellent female lead who manages to avoid most tropes that typically befall the women in these films. She’s strong and independent, not relying on her male counterparts to come to the rescue. She’s an interesting and compelling character, who leaves just enough of her back story unknown to keep fans speculating and talking until Episode VIII is released in 2017. Among this talented cast of both familiar and new faces, I think it’s safe to say that Ridley will be the “new face” of the next generation of Star Wars.

While I’ve been singing the praises of this film, it does have some flaws as most films do. The dialogue, while good for the most part, is still very clunky in some parts, and makes a point to tell us many things that could be simply shown on screen. That being said, it’s still far better than the dialogue that George Lucas gave us in Episodes I-III. In addition, the story while good did seem a bit forced and scattered in parts. Finally, as much as I like the nostalgic feel that the film exudes, this is the beginning of a new trilogy, so while I feel this strategy worked for one film, the next two films are going to need to work hard to give us something different and interesting to keep the fans interested and giving it the positive feedback that Episode VII got.  While these are flaws in the film, they weren’t enough to ruin my experience, and won’t ruin the experience for a die hard fan.

In all, J.J. Abrams has brought life back to the franchise. The film is much more than a sequel. It’s an invitation to a new generation, to experience Star Wars the same way generations before them did. Both as this invitation and as a continuation of the established story, the film succeeds. I’m giving The Force Awakens a perfect 5/5. The characters, story, and references to the previous films are enough to keep the most diehard fans entertained, and interesting enough to introduce a new generation of Jedi to the Force.