Kingsman: The Secret Service

Deadpool

DEADPOOL

Deadpool (2015) – Action | Comedy

Directed by: Tim Miller

Starring: Ryan Reynolds and T.J. Miller

How I Watched: Amazon Instant Video

Best Line: “I had another Liam Neeson nightmare. I kidnapped his daughter and he just wasn’t having it. They made three of those movies. At some point you have to wonder if he’s just a bad parent.”

(I’m going to start this out by telling you that I have next to no familiarity with Deadpool and the universe surrounding him in the comic books. I sincerely apologize if I make any blasphemous misinterpretations or assumptions in the following review.)

Hollywood took a risk here. Allowing the X-Men franchise to stray into the world of violent rated R films was not without the potential hazard of being dead on arrival. Middle America is stuffy and boring and for some reason, Hollywood makes most of their choices to appease these pastor-driven zombies. I mainly drift toward independent film to avoid this, so when I heard “Marvel is making a Rated R action comedy,” my eyes and ears definitely perked up.

Ryan Reynolds hasn’t exactly had it easy since Green Lantern shit the bed in 2011. With movies like R.I.P.DThe Woman in Gold, and Self/less coming out and causing everyone to scratch their heads, you couldn’t help but wonder if it was over for him. Deadpool is more than enough to get his career back on track, though. In the movie, you get a sort of Van Wilder on a cocaine binge. His one-liners fly out of his mouth at a rapid pace and laughing at one might cause you to miss the next. He’s not afraid to make fun of himself either. There are at least a couple references to his last attempt at superhero stardom.

The other cast is unfortunately pretty underwhelming. T.J. Miller is funny as a bar owner and Wilson’s friend, but everyone else just seems to be there. The film’s antagonist is a British dude doing a Jason Statham impression and seems to really ride Reynolds’ wave throughout. Thinking about it now, though, this may have been the intention. Reynolds easily carries each scene, whether he is in the suit or casting jokes in his hamburger-like skinjob.

While Deadpool doesn’t exactly showcase a budget that its X-Men counterparts would receive, it makes the most of what it has. The script is fragmented in a way that allows those unfamiliar with the story to follow along without actually focusing too much on Deadpool’s origin. Superhero movies fall into the ‘origin story’ trap far too often (ahem, Spiderman, cough, cough) and it was nice to see it presented a different way. I realize that Reynolds was introduced in X-Men Origins: Wolverine as Wade Wilson and Deadpool, but it really doesn’t feel like those are connected at all once you watch this movie.

Maybe I was a little spoiled by violent action comedies like Kick-Ass and Kingsman, but I was prepared for a little more insanity that there actually was in Deadpool. Don’t get me wrong, right from the hilarious credit sequence, the movie is pretty nuts. Think Guardians of the Galaxy, but with stripclubs and George Carlin’s seven words you can’t say. From the way people were talking about Deadpool though, I was expecting to have my mind blown. Dredd and Punisher: War Zone both featured an unbelievable amount of jaw-dropping bloodshed, and even Netflix’s series Daredevil went off the handle once in a while. Deadpool has its fair share of R-rated insanity, but I felt like they could have gone crazier.

This was the perfect way for Marvel and Fox to dip their feet in the adult-aimed, superhero water. Grab a star that is self-aware that his last attempt at being a superhero hit a wall full of broken lanterns and let him run wild as a swearing, murdering jester in a red suit for an hour and a half. Like I said before, this could have exploded in their faces, but honestly, most everything works in Deadpool. It’s funny, pretty damn violent, and gives hope to a franchise that really, could have used this shot of coffee in its arm. If you haven’t already, check it out. If you have, watch it again. I’m sure like me, you missed a bit when you were laughing.

Final Score: 3.5/4

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Similar Films: Kick-Ass, Kingsman: The Secret Service, Guardians of the Galaxy

Kingsman: The Secret Service

kingsman

Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014) – Action | Comedy

Directed by: Matthew Vaughn

Starring: Colin Firth and Taron Egerton

How I Watched: Amazon Instant Video | Blu-Ray

Best Line: “I’m a Catholic whore, currently enjoying congress out of wedlock with my black Jewish boyfriend who works at a military abortion clinic. So, hail Satan, and have a lovely afternoon, madam.”

Director Matthew Vaughn seems to know exactly what an audience wants when they go to a movie. Whether it’s 2010’s Kick-Ass or the excellent X-Men: First Class, Vaughn consistently provides a funny and violent trip that is sure to satisfy even the most jaded film-goer. When the TV spots first dropped for this one, I had my doubts – a lot of them. But when I finally watched it last year after a glowing suggestion from a friend, I realized I should never have doubted it at all.

If you appreciate stylized hyperviolence in films as much as I do, this is a crowning achievement in that area. There are certain scenes in this movie that will make your jaw hit the floor. Just like Kick-Ass, the film does not shy away from exceptionally bloody wounds that are so insane, you can’t help but laugh. Sure, they’re absolutely computer generated wounds, but god damn, they’re ridiculous.

Speaking of which, the best scene in the movie takes place in a Southern Baptist Church. This is where The Kingsman separates itself from the rest of the Spy Movie crowd. It is so out of control and  vicious that you can’t help but bust up laughing. Colin Firth goes full Rambo amid a moshpit of rabid Westboro Baptist-like psychos set to the wild solo section of Lynyrd Skynard’s “Free Bird.” It is honestly one of my favorite scenes in cinematic history and has to be seen to believed.

I can’t help but wonder what Hollywood would have done to this film had it not been so obviously British. It does not take the tamed approach to action films that Hollywood does and instead pours on great amounts of foul language and violence. Sure, a lot of it is bathed in a cockney slang that occasionally requires subtitles to translate, but that’s half the fun. Even Samuel L. Jackson has an accent in this. It’s not British, but it’s definitely a good time.

I think having a surround sound setup in a home theater is absolutely necessary to enjoy a movie like this. I know a lot of people out there don’t have one, but your experience will definitely benefit from it with this movie. A lot of the scenes feature some spinning camerawork and slow-motion choreography that is accompanied perfectly by the sound editing. Home theaters were made for films like this one.

One thing I can’t figure out is how McDonald’s managed to product-place itself so well in a couple scenes. This movie does not strike me as one that needs to do that like any Michael Bay ride, but there are a few instances that strangely pop up in The Kingsman. Don’t get me wrong, they use it in a way that is funny, but it is still extremely odd.

The acting in The Kingsman is great. With the main characters of Taron Egerton and Colin Firth accompanied by the likes of Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Caine and Mark Strong, the movie is in very good hands. And for those of you Star Wars freaks out there, there is even a Mark Hamill sighting. This one isn’t exactly going to pass the Bechdel Test, but hey, how many action movies do?

All you out there that have seen this, might (and probably will) be pleased to know that the sequel is in the works and is due to drop in 2017. With the likes of Channing Tatum, Julianne Moore and Halle Berry joining (as well as a rumored Colin Firth return), Kingsman: The Golden Circle should be just as fun as this one.

This one is really a great movie all around. The ending though, is perhaps one of the better payoffs I’ve seen in any film recently. There are quite literally fireworks used to end the story and it, like the church scene, is a laugher. By the way, any movie that manages to slip in some Bryan Ferry is going to win me over every time.

 

Final Score: 4/4

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Similar Films: Kick-Ass, The James Bond Series, John Wick