Tag Archives: Stan Lee

Super Raunchy

Marvel’s new superhero is fast, funny—and definitely not for kids

DEADPOOL

Deadpool

Starring Ryan Reynolds and Morena Baccarin

Directed by Tim Miller

R

For the past few years, there’s been some major comic-book movie buzz about one of the minor characters on the superhero-spandex spectrum.

Deadpool, a latecomer Marvel Comics anti-hero introduced onscreen in X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), had actually been making appearances in comic books since the early 1990s, later appearing in videogames, TV cartoons and in a line of promotional toy figures.

Originally a mentally unstable, mutated villain, he reforms a bit, morphing into more of a motor-mouthed, smack-talking, skull-cracking vigilante, for his first feature film.

Returning to the role after the X-men flick, Ryan Reynolds rips into the part with something-to-prove gusto—namely, that he can, indeed, headline a comic-book movie that doesn’t stink. The funky jade juju of The Green Lantern had been following him around since 2011, and he addresses it head-on—and crushes it—in the hilarious, snarky opening credits…and a couple of times later, too, just for good measure. The smart, razor-sharp script, from Zombieland scribes Rhett Reese and Paul Warnick, is a nonstop comic spray of R-rated barbs, f-bomb zingers, sarcastic spatter and wide-ranging pop-cultural riff-ery that often lampoons even itself.

This is clearly not your comic-book movie of yesteryear, or even yesterday, and Deadpool is no clean-cut Captain America. “I may be super, but I’m no hero,” he tells us in an opening scene, an extended, operatic clash in which he lays into an armada of bad guys like a psychopathic Spider-Man on speed, quipping nonstop as decapitated heads fly, brains splatter, bones snap and bodies are sliced, diced and impaled on his twin samurai swords like pieces of juicy kabob meat.

Deadpool (his name comes from a wager about who’d be the first to die) isn’t afraid of getting injured. Torturous laboratory experiments that left Wade Wilson, his real-life alter ego, hideously scarred and disfigured also gave him the “superpower” of cellular regeneration. That means when a body part gets shot through, smashed, hacked off, stabbed, incinerated or blown to bits, he just has to give it a little time—it’ll grow back.

Ryan Reyonlds and Morena Baccarin

Ryan Reynolds and Morena Baccarin

Of course, the movie has an obligatory cameo by Marvel’s founder, Stan Lee. Groundbreaking 1960s-‘70s singer-actress Leslie Uggams appears as Blind Al, Deadpool’s sightless roommate. Fanboys will be delighted to see lovely Morena Baccarin, from TV’s Gotham, The Flash and Homeland as Wade’s beautiful girlfriend Vanessa, who helps give the story a thumping romantic heart. And stay until the credits are over for one parting bon mot, a movie postscript that—unlike other Marvel outings—looks not to the future but instead to the past, to another memorable movie afterword.

Randy, raw and gleefully gritty, nastier, bloodier, more violent and riotously raunchier than any Marvel movie ever, Deadpool is just what a lot of fans have been waiting for—especially if they’ve been waiting for a “superhero” who swears, farts, babbles, jokes, listens to Wham!, loves unicorns, enjoys rough sex…and sure seems to get into his job a lot more than Thor, Batman or Superman ever did.

—Neil Pond, Parade Magazine

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Time Jumper

Marvel’s red, white & blue WWII hero confronts contemporary enemies

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Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Starring Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Robert Redford and Samuel L. Jackson

Directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo

PG-13, 135 min.

 

Thawed out from his Rip Van Winkle-like cryogenic hibernation, experimentally enhanced WWII U.S. Army super-soldier Capt. Steve Rogers—a.k.a. Captain America (Chris Evans)—now adjusts to the modern world. His Nazi-hunting days are behind him, but he’s still serving his country on missions for S.H.I.E.L.D, the global protection conglomerate, with his sexy crime-fighting partner the Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), a former Soviet agent.

But maybe Cap’s not so free of his past, after all. A legendary, near-indestructible assassin rumored to be almost 100 years old, with a Hannibal Lector-like muzzle on his mouth and a gleaming robotic arm, is out to get him. And he smells a rat inside his own organization; could the high-ranking S.H.I.E.L.D. operative Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford), now running the World Security Council, have anything to do with it? Paranoia is everywhere. “Don’t trust anybody,” his wounded leader, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), warns him.

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Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury.

A brawny blockbuster-formula movie with the brains of an espionage thriller, Captain America: The Winter Soldier recalls vintage ’70s spy romps but resonates with contemporary issues about military might, black-ops government conspiracies, historical cover-ups, war, peace and privacy in this digital era.

Sibling directors Anthony and Joe Russo stage the action with gusto and a real sense of the changing scale and proportion needed for fight sequences that take place in a variety of settings, ranging from the claustrophobic confines of a crowded elevator to the expanses of a colossal cargo ship, and eventually taking flight into the sky itself.

Savvy fans who keep up with the Marvel Comics universe will enjoy watching for the obligatory cameo from founder Stan Lee, and staying for the after-credits surprises—both of them—about where the ever-expanding franchise will go next.

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“How do we know the good guys from the bad guys?” the Cap’s new ally, Sam Wilson/The Falcon (Anthony Mackie), asks in the middle of one particularly rousing, action-y moment. It’s a good question, then and now. Who can you trust?

At least in this movie, you can always trust the guy with the shield and the star—the guy who says, “The price of freedom is high, it always has been.” He’s been one of the good guys for a long time.

—Neil Pond, American Profile Magazine

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