REVIEW: Deadpool

Photo: Twentieth Century Fox

Photo: Twentieth Century Fox

Chris Luckett

Before the ubiquitous advertising over the last few months, if you mentioned the character of Deadpool to someone, you’d get one of two responses: a blank stare or effusive raving. Among comic readers, Deadpool has been one of the most beloved characters of the last quarter-century, always staying just hip enough to never have caught on with the masses the way other newer superheroes like Spawn, Hellboy, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles did.

What makes him so special? While Wolverine may rampage, Deadpool goes out of his way to kill for fun. While Iron Man may be sarcastic, Deadpool is flat-out vulgar. And while Spider-Man may be self-aware enough to name-drop Superman, Deadpool constantly breaks the fourth wall, talking to his readers and mocking his narrators.

The challenge with turning such a distinctly different and rough-edged comic book into a movie is retaining the sardonicism and unconventionality while still changing what needs to be for a different medium. Tim Miller’s years-in-the-making film does that better than most could have expected, retaining the tone of the character in a way that could have gone wrong so many ways. Continue reading

REVIEW: Transformers: Age of Extinction

Photo: Paramount Pictures

Photo: Paramount Pictures

Chris Luckett

One of the dumbest arguments for excusing stupidity in a movie is, “Well, that’s the way it was in the book/cartoon/ride/video game/toy’s backstory.” Just because a ridiculous plot point or character was accepted without scrutiny in another medium doesn’t mean it should gets a free pass in its movie form.

If anything, a movie adapted from a silly product should work extra hard to make itself believable, freestanding, and not above scrutiny. Clue, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, and The LEGO Movie all succeeded despite their simplistic origins. Battleship, The Haunted Mansion, and the Transformers series, on the other hand, didn’t. In fact, the Transformers movies, made by the much-maligned Michael Bay, may be the worst of the offenders. Continue reading