Movies

Deadpool 2: Exciting, Funny . . . And Sort Of, Kind Of Disappointing?

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Well, I finally got my busy ass to the theaters to see Deadpool 2!  

After failing to see the original Deadpool in theaters, I was determined not to make the same mistake twice.  Even though I was not fortunate enough to catch Ryan Reynolds and company in the newest entry of the Merc With a Mouth’s on-screen saga, my wife and I managed to leave the two younger children with Nana and grandpa so we could take our twelve-year-old to the 9:40 showing at Destiny USA this Sunday.

Let’s start by saying that everyone – my wife included – enjoyed the flick.  Casting Reynolds as Wade Wilson was nothing short of a stroke of genius, and with the exception of T.J. Miller (who I prefer to hear, not see), the rest of the cast in the Deadpool films have managed to nail their parts just as well.  When you have cast of characters who not only perfectly fit their roles, but are obviously having the times of their lives playing said characters, you are halfway to an enjoyable movie, before filming even begins.

Of course, even a fantastic cast needs a script that is at least partly coherent, and for the most part, Deadpool 2 delivers here, too.  This film has more jokes than you can shake a chimichanga at, and plenty of exciting action set pieces, too.  I don’t want to get into a debate over which franchise, Guardians of the Galaxy or Deadpool, is better at blending humor with action, but if Deadpool is not the funniest comic book movie franchise, it sure as hell is a close second.  Not every joke works, but there are enough that do to keep you from worrying about the few that missed their marks.

So if the movie has a pitch-perfect cast, enjoyable action moments, tons of jokes, and a kick-ass soundtrack (a factor that you can not overlook these days!), what in the hell gives me the right to call the flick a bit of a disappointment?  That’s easy: the love story.

I’m not saying there is no room for a love interest in the Deadpool movie franchise – it worked just fine in the first movie.  In this sequel, however, I felt TOO much time was devoted to Wade’s attempts to reunite with Vanessa.   It really slows the movie down, especially in the first third, and for a film that wants to break the fourth wall and be unconventional, the love story written into this movie is as about as conventional as it gets.   Just compare how the first film handled Wade’s relationship with Vanessa to how much more serious and . . . ugh . . . romantic Wade’s scenes with Vanessa are in this one.  That kind of vibe might fit in the Spider-Man films when we are talking about Peter Parker and Mary Jane, but in Deadpool 2 it felt more like a studio demand and less like an organic component of the story.

Don’t get me wrong: I love Vanessa’s character, and I understand that what happens to her in the movie is what shapes Wade’s story arc . . . but damn it, the scenes with her in it slog down this movie.  And given how the movie resolves her fate in the end credits, it seems entirely unnecessary to devote so much time to this part of the story.

Some people will argue with me, of course, and that is why I write this and you don’t, because you are all wrong, ha ha!   My concerns over the drawn-out and overly-serious nature of the romance certainly do not cripple my opinion of the movie – it’s still entertaining as hell, even if I was disappointed with how safe it played it with the Vanessa angle.  If you liked the first Deadpool you should obviously see this one, and even if you have not seen the original but are looking for a good time at the movies, you can’t go wrong with Deadpool 2.   Besides: any movie that has the balls to kill off two of the most popular actors on the planet who made brief cameo appearances gets two thumbs up in my book!

 

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Movies

Deadpool 2 Officially Has The Best Marketing Stunt In Movie History

Here’s the scene:

After a busy day of work, getting kids to soccer practice, and watching my oldest play baseball, I took two of the kids to Walmart.  Our mission was simple: secure a 4K Ultra HD copy of Marvel’s Black Panther.

Unfortunately, Walmart was sold out of the 4K version, which shocked the hell out of me.  I knew the movie would fly off the shelves, but around where I live, 4K is still not a massive hit.  I have never gone to purchase a new movie and found less than 10 copies of the 4K edition in stock, so my brain literally could not process the empty rows that had held Black Panther on 4K Ultra HD.  Instead of seeing the store was out of stock and doing what a normal person would do – leave – I spent a few extra minutes desperately searching for a 4K version, looking behind the regular Blu-Rays and even behind, below, and on top of the other Blu-rays and DVDs in the movie section, just in case someone had put the movie down, if a kid had knocked one out of place by accident, etc.

Essentially, I turned into the movie nerd equivalent of a junkie crawling around a dirty floor on his hands and knees, looking for some leftover cocaine or whatever the hell those losers are addicted to . . . and as ridiculous as I might have looked at the time, I am super glad I did not just leave, or else I would not have stumbled across the most brilliant marketing scheme I have ever seen in my Whole.  Damn.  Life.

Initially, the stunt went right over my head.  See, last week Walmart had one entire side of a rack of movies devoted to Blu-rays from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  Pretty every movie since the original Iron Man was on display with brand new cover art, an obvious attempt to cash in on the Avengers: Infinity War craze.  Last night, that display had been relocated, and in its place was a collection of Blu-Rays distributed by 20th Century Fox, including all the movies in the X-Men Franchise and the first Deadpool movie.

At first glance, my brain recognized the covers of X-Men: Days of Future Past and X-Men: Apocalypse, so I kept looking for Black Panther . . . and then my brain realized that there was something off about the cover of X-Men: Apocalypse, so I went back for a closer look.  Here is what I saw (give or take – this Tweet isn’t mine but the display I saw is almost identical):

That’s right: the geniuses in charge of promoting Deadpool 2 decided to revamp the cover art of classic 20th Century Fox titles in order to feature the Merc with a Mouth.  Instead of seeing the face of Apocalypse, then, I had actually seen Deadpool, but my brain had not registered it because it happened so fast.  The same goes for Days of Future Past . . . and Logan . . . and Terminator . . . and Castaway and Fight Club and so on and so forth in what is THE GREATEST MARKETING STUNT EVER.

Hyperbole?  I think not.  Prove me wrong in the comment section below, but don’t expect me to answer, because you’re wrong and I still have a 4k Ultra HD copy of Black Panther to track down.

Video Games

Marvel’s Spider-Man is a PS4 Exclusive So Of Course Now I Have To Get a PS4

There’s a new Spider-Man coming to video game consoles this year!  I cannot wait to pop that disc into my Xbox One X and enjoy the webslinger in 4k glory and . . . wait.

What’s that you say – it’s a Playstation 4 exclusive?

Damn it all to hell.

Over spring break, my wife and I surprised the kids by taking them to New York City. with one of our* highlights being our visit to the Microsoft Store on Fifth Ave.

*My wife and daughter not included

The boys and I spend close to an hour in the Microsoft Store, and came THIS close to walking out of the store with an Xbox One X.  Had it not been for the fact that I would have had to carry that box around the city for the next eight hours, I probably would have pulled the trigger on the purchase; instead, I opted to wait, knowing that I could probably score some kind of deal around the holidays.

So even when the new PlayStation-exclusive God of War came out and received phenomenal reviews, I wasn’t too worried.  Sure, it sounds like a game I would play, and my oldest son has expressed an interest.  Still, we have no shortage of titles that we want to play, and to be honest, outside of Destiny (whose single player campaign was ridiculously short), the last time I completed a single player campaign for a video game was . . . hmmm . . . hold on, it will come to me!

Honestly, I used to own a PS3 and I enjoyed it, but ever since I traded that it and decided to commit to Xbox, my family and I have had zero complaints.  All I really have time for any more are games I can hop into and play for 30 minutes at a time.  The same goes for my boys; we limit how much time they get, so they mostly stick with multiplayer games because it sucks to play a game with a story when you find yourself constantly having to stop before you have even completed a level.   There is never a shortage of multiplayer-heavy games to play, and even though PlayStation does get some exclusive titles, they have never had one that was important enough BY ITSELF to make me regret my decision to pass up a PS4 and snag a second Xbox One . . . until now.

There’s just something about Spider-Man that is impossible for my family to resist (and by “my family” I mostly mean “me”).    My infatuation with the web slinger is well-documented (just ask me how I broke my arm in kindergarten!), so the appeal of playing as him in video game form is too much for me to resist.  Check out the gameplay footage below of Insomniac’s upcoming Marvel’s Spider-Man and I’m sure you’ll agree: this game looks sick.  Guess I’ll be paying closer attention to PS4 deals from here on out!