The Flixlist: 10 reasons ‘Deadpool 2’ won us over… again

Post by Vitali Gueron

In February 2016, our own Ruth wrote a review of the movie Deadpool by titling her post “10 reasons Deadpool movie won me over” and she made a top 10 list praising the movie. I went ahead and re-read her post, and then I realized – almost everything she listed in her post applies to the sequel. Deadpool 2 is all that but there are even more laughs and there is even more thought behind its writing.

Here’s my take of Ruth’s top 10 list…

Here are 10 reasons why the Deadpool 2 won me over:

1. The self-deprecating humor

Yes, there is plenty of that in Deadpool 2. Ryan Reynolds, as Deadpool, continues to relentlessly poke fun at himself, the actor playing him, and even the studio that made it. But many things have happened since 2016. Deadpool was very successful for the studio – it shattered the box office record with $150 million domestic gross and $264 million worldwide (not as impressive for 2018 with Avengers: Infinity War topping $500 million in just 15 days domestically). Then 20th Century Fox came out with the another very successful movie Logan in 2017, where the X-Men character Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) dies and was said to be Jackman’s final portrayal of the character on-screen.

The ‘original’ Deadpool w/ Wolverine in X-Men Origins (2009)

That fact is not lost of Reynolds, who co-wrote the script of this movie alongside the first Deadpool writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. There are many references to the X-Men franchise, the character of Wolverine and living in the Xavier Mansion. Be on the lookout for a hilarious Logan-inspired “musical ballerina” in the first part of the movie.

2. The retro throwback to 80s pop culture

While the first Deadpool relied heavily on 80s pop culture music, including George Michael’s Careless Whisper and You’re the Inspiration by Chicago, the sequel instead brought out heavy-hitter Celine Dion with her new power ballad Ashes, played during the movie’s opening credits.

Just as in the first Deadpool, where Juice Newton’s Angel of the Morning is featured during the hilariously memorable title credits, Celine Dion’s Ashes is featured as Deadpool 2 opens. In the opening scene, Deadpool decides to kill himself by blowing up his apartment while lying atop of several barrels of explosives. Cue Celine Dion!

3. That it IS a love story

Yes, Morena Baccarin returns as Vanessa Carlysle, Deadpool’s fiancée. Unfortunately, she is not featured as much in this movie as she was in the first Deadpool, but when we do see her – she makes it count!

There are other relationships explored in Deadpool 2; Brianna Hildebrand returns to play Negasonic Teenage Warhead and this time she has a girlfriend Yukio, a female ninja of Japanese origin and a member of the X-Men. Deadpool really likes and respects Yukio and clearly lets us know about it. This leads us to number four…

4. There are some bad ass women in this movie

Having already mentioned Morena Baccarin and Brianna Hildebrand, I want to focus on the other bad ass women in this movie – namely Zazie Beetz as Domino, a mercenary with the mutant ability to manipulate luck, who joins Deadpool’s X-Force team. Beetz is a fantastic addition to the movie and could easily start her own franchise if she wanted to – she is that good.

The other is Leslie Uggams, who returns from the first film as Deadpool’s elderly roommate Blind Al. Uggams is hilarious as Blind Al and continue to play the smart-ass, feisty roommate who isn’t afraid to point a gun – even if it does point in the wrong direction.

5.  I actually care about Wade Wilson

Yes, in the first movie we realized why Deadpool is a character worth caring about. But in Deadpool 2, there is another character that is worth caring about – the same character Deadpool teases during the first movie’s post-credit scene, about him being in the sequel – his name is Cable.

The Cable character (Josh Brolin) is a time traveling cybernetic mutant soldier, who returns to this exact date and time from the future to kill Russell (played by Julian Dennison), a young mutant who Deadpool tries to save. This mutant, Firefist, is portrayed as a teenager who possesses fire controlling ability. And he is the key to the storyline in this movie between Cable, Deadpool and Vanessa Carlysle.

6. The awesome opening credit

Having already talked a bit about the opening credit scene, I won’t spot it for you any further. Instead, I will focus on the post-credit scene. While I won’t tell you what it is about, let me just say that yes, it does live up to the hype – and it actually occurs during mid-credits! As previously mentioned in the self-deprecating humor section, Ryan Reynolds isn’t afraid to go after himself or any other X-Men characters.

7. Hilarious supporting characters

Having already mentioned some, there are other new and returning supporting characters that make Deadpool 2 worthwhile. First are returning characters Dopinder, the Indian cab driver (played by Karan Soni) and Weasel, Deadpool’s best friend (played by T.J. Miller).

Both help Deadpool as he recruits for his X-Force team. The other parts of that team are the aforementioned Domino, Zeitgeist (played by Bill Skarsgård), a mutant who can spew acidic vomit from his mouth, and Bedlam (played by Terry Crews), a mutant can generate a bio-EM field that wreaks havoc with electrical and certain mechanical systems. Also returning is Colossus (voiced by Stefan Kapičić), an experienced member of the X-Men with the mutant ability to transform his entire body into organic steel. All supporting characters add a new dimension to Deadpool and make him realize he is part of a team, whether it’s called X-Force of not.

8. Biting wit delivered with fun action sequences

Certainly the protagonist of the first movie – the one who is constantly wise-cracking as he shoots and makes human kabobs out of people – is back. Although director Tim Miller, who helmed the first film didn’t return, director David Leitch (John Wick with Chad Stahelski, Atomic Blonde) does use his experience as a stunt coordinator to deliver some stylish action sequences, as did Tim Miller in the first movie. Also with Reynolds as one of three credited writers, he takes more creative control with the sequel. And he makes good points about the mindless punching and grating of dubstep music cues.

9. Ryan Reynolds is perfect in the role

Ah yes, as much as it was true in the first movie, it’s even more obvious in this movie. While in the first movie we saw what Ryan Reynolds does best — showcase his comedy, Deadpool 2’s greatest strength is its restraint. As co-writer, Reynolds has less of an impulse to go for the obvious joke all the time. That being said, this sequel is funnier and filthier than the first film, and it capitalizes on its plot and supporting characters that make Reynolds shine.

10. The fact that it turns the conventional superhero formula on its head

If you can make the case that the first Deadpool was a raunchy superhero movie, Deadpool 2 is its more refined, more R-rated older brother. The film makes it a point for not taking itself or its humor too seriously, which can be harder than it looks. As Ruth said in her original review:

I think the fact that the movie IS relentlessly hilarious means the humor hits the mark. The “breaking the fourth wall” style also works well for the movie, which apparently is loyal to the comics.

Deadpool 2 continues that tradition of “breaking the fourth wall” and does it even better than the first one. Fans of the first Deadpool will not be disappointed with the sequel and by the looks of it, we have at least several more Deadpool movies to look forward to.

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A quick note from Ruth:

Having seen this last Saturday night, I definitely agree the sequel is even funnier than the original! I thought the humor would be derivative and his constant fourth-wall breaking and self-deprecating humor would annoy me but I’m glad I was genuinely tickled the entire time. The opening credits was just as hilarious as the first one, too! I like the kinetic action sequences by David Leitch (who gave us the super fun John Wick!) and so fun seeing Julian Dennison who was terrific in Hunt for the Wilderpeople (which I recently rewatched). I wonder if Reynolds even consulted w/ Taika Waititi as Julian’s character referenced some of the humor from that movie.

I also really LOVE Zazie Beetz‘s Domino! The German-African actress lives up to her über-cool name as Domino is so fun to watch and spin-off worthy! I gotta mention another new character that made me laugh: Peter (Rob Delaney) whose lack of superpower is more than made up by sheer enthusiasm! And you know what, despite all the meta zany-ness, the plot actually holds up, imagine that!

Of course, if you’re not a fan of the Merc with a mouth and his raunchy brand of humor to begin with, I’m not sure this one will change your mind.


So, what do you think of Deadpool 2?

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TCFF 2016 Reviews: ‘First Girl I Loved’ + ‘My Scientology Movie’ doc

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‘First Girl I Loved’ Review

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First Girl I Loved is a coming-of-age story for the social media generation. Mix this with a narrative about teenage sexuality and you have the new feature film written and directed by Kerem Sanga. It stars Dylan Gelula as Anne, the nerdy high school yearbook photographer, Brianna Hildebrand as Sasha, star of the softball team and the object of Anne’s desire, and Mateo Arias as Clifton, Anne’s best friend who secretly loves her.
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This is a movie that whether you like it may depend on what mood you are in. On one hand, the lead characters in this movie are teenagers that act like teenagers (no deep psychological speeches here). On the other hand, there is a lot of giggling and nonsensical teenager speak that can get annoying.

The narrative at times can be confusing as it’s told in flashback from each character’s perspective. If this was intentional to help the audience understand how conflicted these young people are, it succeeded. Dylan Gelula in particular is a standout in this movie, as she aptly portrays the angst of the high school years. I feel like this movie will really strike a chord with some viewers but unfortunately I am not one of them.

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‘My Scientology Movie’ Review

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I was intrigued by this documentary when I learned of the unconventional method that documentarian Louis Theroux (apparently cousin of actor Justin Theroux) in approaching the controversial subject matter. Directed by John Dower, Louis traveled around Los Angeles to investigate what goes on behind the scenes of the elusive church of scientology. But instead of featuring expert ‘talking heads’ as most documentaries typically do, Louis instead chooses to re-enact some of the practices and speeches, based on recruitment/marketing videos from the church that he got from whistleblowers.
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The style immediately reminds me of The Act of Killing documentary where filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer exposed one of the most brutal genocide in history that took place in Indonesia with re-enactments of the murderous ‘act’ itself. The difference is, Joshua used the actual perpetrators of the event to re-enact them, whilst Louis hired unknown actors to play the roles of major figures of scientology, including the church leader David Miscavige and the movie star Tom Cruise, the most famous celebrity scientologist in the world.

The result isn’t quite as hauntingly profound as The Act Of Killing, but still it’s quite a revelatory as well as amusing documentary. There are moments that are downright hilarious, such as when people start showing up across the street from where Louis was filming with their own video camera. When they’re confronted, they refuse to say who they are, but there’s little doubt they’re likely sent by the church to investigate Louis’ crew. The church also blocked certain roads and claimed they owned the property, which at the end is proven that it was in fact a public road. These encounters are often hilarious, but that’s not to say there’s no serious nor intense moment in the film.

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The exchange between Louis and Mark Rathbun, a former senior executive of the Church of Scientology who ‘blew’ from the church, is quite intense. There’s a certain unpredictability to Mark given that he was the inspector general of the church at one point. In fact, another whistleblower claimed that Mark had punched him during one of the most controversial practices. The scene where the actors re-enacted a brutal interrogation scene where Miscavige was berating some church members inside a room was quite intense, and I never know if at one point the actor playing Miscavige might snap and start hitting people.

Of course the church denies all the malpractices depicted in the film, including the infamous Hole that’s basically a prison for senior executives they deem as misbehaving. The whistleblowers were candid about the extreme abuse and human rights violation they suffered, to the point that they’d rather die than having to stay in the church. One of the most memorable moments was when Louis and his crew were watching a video of Tom Cruise talking passionately about scientology and they paused at a footage of him with a wild, fierce look on his eyes, as if he’s ready to strangle anyone to defend his religion. But I think its leader Miscavige is just as scary if not more as Cruise was, and he’s even more elusive.

As this is the first documentary on scientology I’ve seen so far, I don’t know if this is the definitive film on the subject. I’d think Alex Gibney’s Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief might give more insights into scientology, just based on Gibney’s previous work. Still, this one is worth a look, an entertaining doc that’d make an intriguing discussion afterwards.

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Get the TCFF App!

The TCFF app is such a lifesaver for me. Instead of futzing with paper that’s easily lost, download the app so you have easy access the film schedule at your fingertips! It’s got all the info for the daily educational events as well as film schedule, which is immensely helpful!

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10 reasons Deadpool movie won me over

To be perfectly honest, I never thought I’d actually be writing a review of Deadpool, let alone a top 10 list praising the movie. I hadn’t been anticipating this movie at all – crass, vulgar, foul-mouthed movies aren’t my thing and I’m not exactly a fan of Ryan Reynolds as an actor. But all the massive buzz got this movie blogger intrigued, I simply just had to find out what the fuss is about. Heck, I even went to the screening twice as the first time around the film couldn’t be played.

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Well, it ended up being a pleasant surprise and I totally get why people are flocking to see it. It’s shattered all kinds of box office records with $150mil domestic gross ($264 mil worldwide) which is unheard of for an R-rated flick opening in the month of February!

The Guardians of the Galaxy‘s director James Gunn weighed in on its success, “Deadpool was its own thing. THAT’S what people are reacting to. It’s original, it’s damn good, it was made with love by the filmmakers, and it wasn’t afraid to take risks.” (you can read his FB post here) Yep, I agree with him.

Here are 10 reasons why the Deadpool movie won me over:

1. The self-deprecating humor

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Photo from Archonia.com

I LOVE British comedies as they rarely shy away from poking fun of themselves. Deadpool relentlessly pokes fun at himself, the actor playing him, and even the studio that made it. That bit about the studio not being able to afford more X-Men characters in the movie got the biggest laughs. There are a plethora of jokes on Reynolds himself and his failed superhero flick Green Lantern. It’s also not afraid to make fun of famous people, that bit about David Beckham’s helium voice is absolutely spot on!

2. The retro throwback to 80s pop culture

As Reynolds is close to my age, I really appreciate the references to 80s pop culture, especially the music. I mean, WHAM! was huge back in high school, and we all were crushing on George Michael. Boy I’d never be able to listen to Careless Whisper the same way again.


I also laughed so hard when You’re the Inspiration by Chicago played on, that was my brother’s favorite band and he’d listen to it endlessly in the car until my ears bled!

3. That it IS a love story

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The marketing folks over at Fox have done some genius marketing for the film. The first time I saw this V-day poster I had a good chuckle. But hey, it turns out, Wade and Vanessa are genuinely in love, imagine that! The love story is actually pretty compelling and you get why he’d do whatever it takes to protect her. Reynolds and Morena Baccarin have a fun, playful chemistry together. I also think that it’s nice to see that they opted to hire an actress close to Reynold’s age as his love interest instead of some pretty young thing like they did in his previous superhero movie.

4. There are some bad ass women in this movie

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Brianna Hildebrand is quite memorable as the brooding Negasonic Teenage Warhead. She didn’t have many lines in the movie, but the brief exchanges between these two are pretty funny. There’s Gina Carano as the villain’s henchwoman (natch!) There’s even a hilarious bit when she dropped to the ground forcefully like Superman, obviously poking fun at the famous superhero landing. I think it’s even funnier the fact that Gina used to date Man of Steel himself, Henry Cavill. I think Vanessa herself is no damsel in distress. Even when Deadpool went to save her, she got some ass-kicking scenes of her own.

5.  I actually care about Wade Wilson

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Kudos to the writers (Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick) as well as Reynolds himself in making a character worth caring about. The fact that Wade didn’t start out to be a superhero had a lot to do with it. [spoiler alert!] He’s also the first superhero who suffered from cancer. I actually felt really bad for him, and for Vanessa when he left her. No matter how cool a character is, if you don’t give a reason for us to care for him/her, it’s hard for us to care for the movie, too. In a way, it made me think that his crazy antics is perhaps a means to cope with his pain.

The accelerated healing powers that he got as a result of the rogue experiment could’ve been another ho-hum origins story. Yet here it felt like the hero’s earned it and we root for him after all he’s been through. That superpower isn’t just cool for the action stuff, but it also made for some of the funnies, albeit cringe-worthy, jokes in the movie.

6. The awesome opening credit

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Ok, the opening credit is definitely one of my favorite scenes in the entire movie. It immediately establishes the tone and style of the movie, the extreme self-awareness and brazenness in roasting pretty much everyone involved. As we watched an action scene being frozen and played in slo-motion, we get quips like “the writers are ‘The Real Heroes Here” and “the director is ‘An Overpaid Tool” and the likes. They made fun of some of their own movie clichés like having a [one note] British villain and gratuitous cameo. It’s as if they’re making their own ‘Honest Trailer’ video of their own movie, ahah.

7. Hilarious supporting characters

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Ok so the villain is pretty much one-note and humorless (Ed Skrein), though all the jokes about his English teeth was indeed funny. But Karan Soni as Dopinder the Indian cab driver and T.J. Miller as Wade’s BFF Weasel had some hysterical lines. I think the ‘avocado’ line that Weasel said to Wade after seeing his face after the experiment is so mean yet because they’re good friends, you can’t help but laugh while cringing at the same time. Oh, and Colossus has never been funnier here w/ his Russian accent. Most of his scenes with Deadpool are simply hysterical, and the fact that he’s so polite provides an amusing contrast to the juvenile & irreverent Wade.

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8. Biting wit delivered with fun action sequences

Ok so the R-rating is absolutely warranted and it’s definitely more violent than John Wick where a lot of the shots fired are quick and blurry. But just like that film, this film certainly had some stylish action sequences. First-time director Tim Miller, who had a background in visual effects, did a nice job staging the high-octane action throughout. But what made it even more memorable is the biting wit that accompany the action. Having the protagonist constantly wise-cracking as he shoots and make human kabobs out of people certainly makes it extra fun to watch.

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9. Ryan Reynolds is perfect in the role

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You can’t make a top 10 list about Deadpool and not mention Ryan Reynolds. In many ways, he’s the reason the film worked as he & the filmmakers have fought hard to have their brazen vision of this comic-book character come to life in this adaptation. He’s played this character before in the lame X-Men Origins: Wolverine but it barely made a mark. But here, he got to showcase what he does best, that is comedy. I really don’t care for him in dramatic roles or even as a typical action hero. But here he’s so at ease at making fun of himself which is a brazen act in and of itself. Reynolds definitely got another leash on his superhero life as Deadpool will become a massive franchise after its gargantuan box office take. I’d say he should stick to this genre of action comedy as that’s what he does best.

10. The fact that it turns the conventional superhero formula on its head

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I think the whole concept of a raunchy superhero movie alone isn’t a recipe for success. Yes it’s different from the PG-13 stuff that Marvel & DC put out there, but if that’s all it’s got going for it, I don’t think the movie would be as successful. I think the fact that the movie IS relentlessly hilarious means the humor hits the mark. The “breaking the fourth wall” style also works well for the movie, which apparently is loyal to the comics. I’m not familiar w/ it but things that work in the comic books don’t always translate well on screen, so props to the writers & filmmakers for somehow making it work. It actually creates some of the funniest bits in the movie and makes Deadpool likable as he’s sort of ‘one of us.’ The pop-culture commentary and zings also made it fresh and has huge appeal to millennials AND baby boomers alike.

Now, despite all the praise, this isn’t a movie I’d readily watch again though. The graphic violence, sex scenes, full frontal nudity, and that whole scene at the strip club are gratuitous and not something I enjoy watching. But overall, this movie is pretty darn entertaining. I give props to the filmmakers for delivering on the promise of an unconventional superhero movie. It does exactly what it says on the tin and it’s refreshingly daring in its approach.

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So, what do you think of Deadpool? Did you enjoy it as much as I did?