Dead vs dumb

For Valentines weekend two big movies opened at the box office. You had Deadpool for the comic fans and millennials and then you had Zoolander oft forgotten but still worth your time I made a deal with my movie going partner: I would go to Deadpool the opening weekend as long as I got to see Zoolander 2. Here’s how the two movie stood up to expectations.

Deadpool-Jump-GunDeadpool has slowly been building steam. I was unexcited for another mediocre super hero movie. I had read some of the title character’s comics and enjoyed it but that didn’t mean I was running to the theaters. But early review came in and people loved the movie. It was so hyped up even Bettie White gave her endorsement. So I got excited about the movie and, honestly, this was the worst thing I could have done.

Deadpool follows a non-super hero as he avenges himself and his overly erotic lady love. Wade Wilson starts off as a violent, jerky mercenary that is diagnosed with cancer. In an effort to prolong his life and be with the woman he loves, he takes a dangerous treatment option. But that treatment turns sinister and he is turned into a mutant with insane healing powers. The down sides? His skin has been ruined leaving him literally scarred for life. Wade then takes up the mantel Deadpool hiding his hideousness behind a flashy costume while taking down the man who has changed his life.

In the first two minutes, I was convinced this would be the nest Guardians of the Galaxy (the best modern comic hero movies). The opening titles poke fun at what has become the predictable formula of these movies. It’s meta presence is sprinkled through out the film with many reference to Wolverine and Hugh Jackman. This jokes are perfectly timed and not over done. But the ,movie degenerates as it goes along. Part is the lack of faith buy the studio. The movie features third string X-Men whose characters were flat and one delusional. But the biggest issue is that the movie tries too hard to break the mold. The movie was raunchy, yes, but there were times were it was just offensive for offensive’s sake; it didn’t propel the story it just hurt it.

But over all the movie performs well. Ryan Reynolds is perfectly cast and does his best work when playing off other characters. In fact, he is a better leading man than several other movie heroes including Ant-Man. A future film with Cable (or heck Hawkeye but we can’t move across studios now can we?) will make better use of this banter as a anti-buddy buddy flick. Now that would be perfection.

Speaking of buddy buddy movies,Zoolander 2 shows us what happens when two perfect idiots get together. I am not a big Ben Stiller fan, but the original was too perfect not to love. The movie was ridiculous and stayed ridiculous (in a good way). It knew how to push the envelope with out knocking it off. It was laugh after laugh even after multiple viewings. So when they announced a sequel I was nothing but excited. The trailers didn’t disappoint; it was still just as ridiculous. It was going to be a great laugh. The movie met those expectations and I was more please with it than I was with Deadpool.

After a tragic accidents kills his wife and has his son taken away from him, Derek Zoolander has sequestered himself away. His pity party is crashed by Billy Zane who tells him he has been grieving for long enough and it was time to get back to work so he could get his son back. He is reconnected with Hansel who can’t stand him because the accident left Hansel scarred and ruined his carrier. But the two must put aside their issues and get to the bottom of why media stars are being killed.

Zoolander beats out Bill Pullman’s character in Ruthless People as the stupidest human635907104884099048-ZL2-12177R being alive. And it’s funny because this is a pooling of various idiotic statement people have actually made. When humanity’s various stupidity is put into one person, its collectively hilarious and believable. But that is all that is realistic about this. Every other event and plot point is exaggerated with great glee. For a time you are taken out of the violence and seriousness of the real world and get a chance to laugh. Here fictional male models ironically due what models are suppose to do: transport you to another place weather it is the runway, the visions in a fashion designers mind, or to a world were there is someone more stupid than Donald Trump.

The two movie are so polar that is it hard to compare them especially at what is a better movie. Zoolander made me laugh more and gave me just what I was expected. Deadpool didn’t meet my expectation but gave me some glorious shots of Ryan’s Reynolds butt.

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Summer Showdown Part 3

This week’s showdown focuses on two comic based movies- one for the older generation and one for the younger.

Loving Him Was Red

20130717171933red_2_3Red 2 came out with a bang bringing in the middle age and older crowd. Red contains that generation’s beloved stars like Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren and Anthony Hopkins. Based on the DC Comic, Red follows retired spies as they try to live in world where they are no longer spies. The first movie was a huge hit adding humor and action together but didn’t at all have a comic book feel.

In the sequel, Frank is brought back into the fold against his will. He wants to do nothing but keep his girlfriend safe (Mary-Louise Parker) and get out of the spy game. When they are connected to a weapon of mass destruction, its kill or be killed. Joined by old friends and new (Catherine Zeta-Jones joins this go around), this group of retirees must prove that though old they are not senile.

Red 2 is as entertaining as the first with Malchovich stealing the show at every turn. It’s got action and its fun. It does get dragged down some by the Frank’s relationships woes. But its fun to see him interact with Zeta-Jones, and Parker’s great at the scorned and jealous lover.  Red 2 is fun and a great movie, but it isn’t Parker best performance of the weekend.

To Protect and Serve—The Living

The better movie by far is R.I.P.D. It’s fun; it’s humorous; and it sticks to its comic book roots. Parker shines as Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridge’s matter-of-fact boss.ripd-ryan-reynolds-640

R.I.P.D. is the Rest in Peace Department where the world’s best law men go in the afterlife to take down the demon scum that is running amok in the living world. Reynolds is Nick the newest edition to the department and has been paired with the Western lawman Following the trail of “deados,” the partners learn that the undead are collecting gold in order to assemble a demonic tool that will allow the dead to walk on Earth. Things become even more complicated when Nick finds out his old partner is working with the deados.

R.I.P.D. is fun and funny. Somewhere between Men in Black and Betelgeuse, this Dark Horse comic comes to life with gorgeous action and well done CG sequences. The producers kept the feeling of the comic books brining the surreal to life. Combining the other world and living can be hard to accomplish but nothing looks cheesy or overdone.

It’s the ensemble that truly brings the characters to life. Parker is superb as Proctor, nailing the “I don’t give a crap about your issues boss” whose only intent is to serve the Powers that Be and keep the world safe. Her relationship to Bridge’s lawman is both tenuous and full of sexual tension leaving you guessing where the two of them really stand. This is Reynolds’s fourth forays into comic land, and he does well as the hero. But his character isn’t exactly the crooked cop the tone implies. He’s working off his sins, but his sins don’t seem that great.

Over all fun, surrealistic and gorgeous, R.I.P.D. pulls ahead of Red 2.  Don’t blame me; I’m in that demographic.