Film reviews: Deadpool, Zoolander 2, A Bigger Splash

Loaded's take on the biggest cinema releases of the week.

Strike a pose Deadpool is different. Very different.

Deadpool
Running time: 107 minutes
9/10

Deadpool, the character who made his inauspicious big-screen debut in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, has finally made his big screen solo debut after seven years in the making.

So, was it worth the wait?

Yes, and for many hilarious and filthy reasons. It should also be noted that Ryan Reynolds wears a skin-tight spandex.

Reynolds plays former special forces operative Wade Wilson, who tries to save himself from dying of cancer by undergoing an experimental treatment, Weapon X. The experiment naturally goes wrong, leaving Wilson with superhero powers, a messed up face and a touch of insanity.

The incredibly vain Deadpool is out to find Ajax, played by Brit actor Ed Skrein, the man responsible for messing up his face and kidnapping his girlfriend. Skrein’s character is present from the off, the resident baddie with a British accent, determined to bring Deadpool down.
DEADPOOL

Deadpool himself is a sarky, filthy delight, far removed from his boring X-Men acquaintances. While it takes some adjusting to get used to Deadpool’s frequent talks to the camera, it works.

From the off, Deadpool is a smartarse and he’s a smartarse intent on taking down other superhero films, while being in one himself. It’s not just superheroes that are in for it, he even takes a pop at David Beckham…

X-Men fanatics will delight in the presence of goody-two shoes Colossus, but there’s a new star in the form of the Negasonic Teenage Warhead played by Brianna Hildebrand. Hildebrand plays a 15-year-old psychic who doesn’t look unlike Sinéad O’Connor and has the fiery temper to match.

And there are frequent hilarious references to Hugh Jackman and Wolverine following Reynolds’ appearance in that 2009 film as the same Wade Wilson, or “merc with the mouth”.

Brianna-Hildebrand-Deadpool-Interview

Without wanting to ruin to the delight, it’s safe to say that it’s overflowing with witty one-liners; arguably even too many, but you are guaranteed to laugh on more than one occasion.

Deadpool is everyman. If everyman were to somehow garner superhero powers, but basically still act like a total big mouthed juvenile numpty while in possession of them. Deadpool also knows he is a comic book character and frequently blurts out jokes about the state of Marvel comics.

With Colossus’ numerous appeals for him to join The X-Men and the door left wide open for a return, the next instalment probably won’t be seven years in the making. Not that that turned out to be a bad thing at all…

An obviously immature superhero movie that laughs at the idea of franchises while making you fall in love with it. Now, that’s clever.


 

Zoolander 2
Running time:
7/10

zoolander-2

 

Sequels. The film equivalent of that difficult second album. And now Zoolander is back, 15 years since the original and occupying a pretty different fashion world than those pre-social media days.

Any film that starts off with Justin Bieber getting riddled with bullets certainly has potential, and Zoolander 2 mostly lives up to it. In his final moments, Bieber manages to post one last Instagram selfie, and writer Justin Theroux told Loaded that the joke had been written for a couple of years. 

Life has changed for the Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) of 2016. He’s living in self-imposed exile following the death of his wife at the Derek Zoolander Center For Kids Who Can’t Read Good. His son Derek Jr taken from him by the authorities, and he hasn’t seen a catwalk in years. 

Derek then reunites with Hansel (Owen Wilson) to help Interpol fashion police officer Melanie Valentina (Penélope Cruz), who is investigating why leading pop stars are being murdered.

The story whizzes from one place to another, faster than you can count the endless stream of cameos littering the film. And they aren’t just any cameos: Anna Wintour, Naomi Campbell, Marc Jacobs, Sting and Kiefer Sutherland to name but a few. Susan Boyle is a genius move, but Katy Perry seemed a bit pointless. Though that might just be a general observation.

Highlights include the return of the hilariously evil Mugatu (Will Ferrell) and the emergence of androgynous fashion icon All, played by Benedict Cumberbatch. Cruz’s performance as Valentina is also often a scene stealer, even when head to head with Derek and Hansel. Where it falters slightly lies in the fact that the original was hilarious and shocking and poked fun at the fashion industry. This time around, the fashion luvies are eager to prove they are good fun and get involved. To be honest, we prefer laughing at them and not with them.

The difficult sequel was always going to be a challenge, but this collection just might make it off the runway.


 

A Bigger Splash
Running time: 124 minutes
8/10

Ralph Fiennes and Dakota Johnson in A Bigger Splash
Poolside drama Ralph Fiennes and Dakota Johnson in A Bigger Splash. Image Picture StudioCanal

The best looking film of 2016 so far boasts sun-drenched Italian scenery and photogenic faces in the form of Dakota Johnson, Ralph Fiennes, Matthias Schoenaerts and Tilda Swinton.

Lurking behind all that beauty, though, is sly humour that goes to unexpectedly dark places. Director Luca Guadagnino casts his I Am Love star Swinton as androgynous David Bowie-style rock star Marianne Lane, recuperating on a remote island after surgery to save her vocal chords.

The peaceful getaway of Lane and partner Paul (Schoenaerts) is interrupted by the arrival of Fiennes’ flamboyant record producer Harry Hawkes. He’s an old flame of Lane, and the kind of alpha-personality you’ll either view as a charisma whirlwind or an insufferable prick.

Fiennes is off-the-chain-insane as the extrovert Harry, delivering the most unusual and energetic performance of his career. When he’s not dancing like a loon to The Rolling Stones’ Emotional Rescue, he’s inappropriately serenading his own daughter Penelope (Johnson) and driving a wedge between Marianne and Paul.

Dinner table conversations begin to bristle with tension and poolside chats threaten to get violent as Harry’s hard-partying takes its toll on Lane. His wild child daughter even chides her for being too domesticated to be a rock star.

Though Fiennes might give the showiest performance, the rest of the cast are all excellent in subtler ways. Marianne’s throat surgery means Swinton has to convey a lot without speaking, Schoenaerts is the calm head threatening to boil over and Johnson’s Lolita routine shows she’ll have a career outside of Fifty Shades Of Grey.

A Bigger Splash might lean on the arty side, but it’s an entertaining alternative to this week’s big hitters Zoolander 2 and Deadpool.

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Loaded’s entertainment editor Jennifer O’Brien is an award-winning journalist who has written extensively about popular culture as a national newspaper columnist and author. Follow her on Twitter at @Jen_OBrien1

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