Movie Review: Deadpool 2 (2018)

Movie Review: Deadpool 2 (2018)

A much needed breath of fresh air in a crowded superhero market.

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Summer blockbuster season is here once again, ready to pummel audiences with action movies and big-name adaptations. If "Deadpool 2" is any indication, summer 2018 is off to a good start. This superhero sequel improves upon nearly everything that did not work about the first film, chiefly the watery plot and inconsistent humor. The direction is a marked improvement over its predecessor as well. David Leitch (co-director of "John Wick") delivers are far more colorful and spirited product than the dreary, clunky original.

Following a spoileriffic tragedy, Wade Wilson, aka Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) finds himself depressed and alone. He attempts to immolate himself in a giant explosion, only to realize that due to his regenerative abilities he cannot die. Looking for meaning in his life, the Merc with a Mouth joins the X-Men (well, just the members that appeared in the last film, plus Negasonic Teenage Warhead's girlfriend). On their first outing with their new member, the X-Men must stop a young mutant named Russell (Julian Dennison) who is attempting to use his fire powers to burn down the orphanage where he is a resident. Deadpool botches the mission and lands in mutant jail alongside Russell.

While in prison, Wilson develops a tenuous fatherly bond with Russell (as he quips in the film's cold open "["Deadpool 2"] is a movie about family"). This bond is soon tested with the arrival of Cable (Josh Brolin), a time-traveling cyborg mutant who is out to kill Russell. In the future, Russell becomes a supervillain who kills Cable's family. Deadpool sees the good in Russell and thinks he can prevent him from becoming a future killer. In the ensuing prison scuffle, Wilson and Cable are thrown from the prison, leaving Russell behind. It is now up to Deadpool to enlist a ragtag team of heroes so he can rescue his young pal before Cable gets to him.

The strength of "Deadpool 2" derives from its large cast of supporting characters. After all, this is a movie about family. Deadpool is empty inside but learns to fill the void with the company of his X-Men friends and his assembled team of rejects, the X-Force. Colossus, one of the best parts of the first "Deadpool" is still great here, working as a scoutmaster goody-two-shoes straight man to Wilson's violent Looney Tune antics. A new edition to this movie is Domino, a mutant who possesses the power of luck. While Deadpool mocks the usefulness of her ability, she makes a great case for her appearance in future X-Men related films. In her action scenes, her mutant ability allows her to survive death-defying stunts and encounters by comically slim chances. Think of the absurd setups from "Final Destination", but for avoiding death. Josh Brolin also proves to be yet another compelling superhero villain after his performance as Thanos in "Avengers: Infinity War". Cable only wants to prevent Russell from creating a disastrous future, but he does not share Deadpool's that the boy can change for the better.

In addition to a great cast, "Deadpool 2" is incredibly funny. Like the previous film, there are pop culture and comic book references galore, but this time it actually feels fresh instead of like rejected "Family Guy" quips. There is a greater emphasis on cartoony slapstick graphic violence in this movie and less on the painfully juvenile sex jokes of its predecessor. While not every joke hits, they fly by at such a rapid-fire rate that they land more often than not.

"Deadpool 2" is a welcome breath of fresh air, or rather a rancid burritos-and-beer burp, for the superhero movie market. Its self-referential humor frequently takes aim at other superhero movies, and it is nice to see one that is willing to take aim at its colleagues. If nothing else, "Deadpool 2" is finally something different in the superhero market. The first movie promised to be the raunchy shakeup we had all been desiring but wound up delivering a generic origin story. After so much sameness, this is finally something different. This is a superhero movie that recognizes the inherent goofiness of the source material and, shock of all shocks, actually has fun with it.

Rating: 8/10

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A Letter To My Dancers

Everything your dance teacher wants you to know.
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When anyone (especially a child) chooses to invest their time, talent, and passion into dancing, it's nothing to take lightly. These kids spend more time with me at the studio than they do at home with their parents. Before long, they're my "kids," too. When I only have an hour to lead a warm-up, teach choreography, and rehearse a number, there isn't much time to express the thoughts and feelings I'd necessarily like to. Being a dance teacher is the most spectacular and rewarding job - and I want my students to know that. Between the great rehearsals and the frustrating ones, the competitions and recitals, and the endless hours we spend together each week, there are just a few reminders I need to share with them.

Dear Dancers,

Please love yourself and love what you do with every ounce of your being. Do it with so much passion that your heart wants to burst. Dance is the most special thing; it's something we are privileged and lucky to have, so don't take it for granted.

Please believe in yourself. You are worthy. You are talented. You are strong and capable of everything you set your mind to. Strive to be the best version of yourself every day, not the reflection of the girl next to you. Dance like you. Move like you. Experiment and find what makes you, you. Be an individual. Trust me when I say I don't want 20 carbon-copied robots. I want you.

Trust that I have your best interest in mind. Sometimes my choices and decisions won't make sense, you might be confused, hurt or frustrated, but keep the faith that I'm on your side. I don't want to see you fail, and I'll do everything in my power to help you find the success you're looking for.

I want you to succeed, but for me to do that, you need to tell me what you need. Do you need the counts again? Do you need me to review the transition to floor one more time? If you understand, tell me. If you don't, tell me that, too. Be vocal, be present, be smart, and be prepared. Practice on the sides. Pay attention to the small details. Ask questions. Don't be late, and definitely don't forget your choreography. Take responsibility for your responsibilities and lead by example. Do you have any remote idea how many children look up to you? Who want to be just like you someday? Dance just like you? Kids watch, listen, and copy. Make sure the behaviors you're teaching them are behaviors you're proud of.

Make memories with your dance family while you still can. Cherish every 9 a.m. Saturday morning rehearsal, every competition you attend, every fundraising event, and every team sleepover. It'll be gone so fast. You're going to miss these days. Please, enjoy them.

Don't compare yourself to other dancers. You are you, and nobody can do "you" better than yourself. Don't wish away your abilities by secretly wishing you had Suzie's feet, Betsy's port de bras, or Charlie's center. The only thing you need to worry about is being a better version of yourself than you were the day before. You are your only competition, so don't be too hard on yourself. Be kind to your mind and body. You work day in and day out to perfect your craft and artistry. You work to mold and create yourself. You'll be rewarded with time if you keep fighting and don't give up. Usually when you want to throw in the towel, it's after you don't get the part you wanted or you don't make the team you hoped to. What you need to understand is the answer isn't "No," the answer is "Not yet." You know you're trying and working hard, and those efforts don't go unnoticed -- even if it seems they are.

Please, remember that it's not going to always be fair. You're going to be let down, and you're going to feel disappointed from time to time. You're not always going to win the trophy. You're not always going to get the featured solo part, and not everyone can be the front row and center dancer. This doesn't mean you're "bad" and this doesn't mean you're not "meant" to dance either.

Quite frankly, it's just how it works, you guys. It doesn't mean I don't like you, and it doesn't mean the dancer who does have the solo is my favorite. The dancer just might be more talented. Yeah, I said it. They might have better lines, straighter knees, or stronger stage presence, and that is entirely okay. You're going to run into this for the rest of your adult life. Someone is going to be smarter, more qualified, more desirable for a particular job or position. So instead of despising and resenting these dancers (and especially me), try to learn from them instead. You'll learn more from each other than you could imagine. But if you take away one thing from this, know that you are still worthy of my best training, my best analogies, my best choreography -- whether you are featured, in the third row, or even off-stage for the turn section.

As your teacher, it's my job to teach. Learning (and learning correctly) requires close attention to detail, incredible focus, and a plethora of corrections on my part. Yes, I will go out of my way to critique you, and I will continually tell you what needs fixing until it's fixed. I might have to tell you over and over and over again. And you know, I might even get frustrated with you once in awhile because of it, but here's what you need to understand: This doesn't make me mean or a bad teacher. This doesn't mean I hate you. What it does mean is that I see potential in you and I want to help. I just have to ask, do you see what I see in you? Do you see the talent and abilities I see?

Corrections are good. Success is an incredibly long and never ending process that takes time, but the corrections I give you are helping you get one step closer. So next time you catch yourself getting upset about receiving the same critique week after week or you want to complain about how mean I am, please remember that my intent is not malicious. I'm doing my job.

It's also my job to instill perseverance, dedication, discipline, trust, humility, confidence, creativity, bravery, and strong work ethic into you. I want to push your limits. Test you. Challenge you. I want to mold you into the person you want to be. Even though you probably don't even know who that person is, I do.

There are so many possibilities, opportunities, and challenges that are out there once you enter the world of adulthood. The dance world is so much bigger than your studio, competition routines, and conventions. At the end of the day, no one remembers or cares (especially your future employers) if you won a quadruple diamond platinum plus on your lyrical solo in 2016. They don't care about your first place overall at Showbiz. They don't care if you're Teen Miss Winner of the World. They don't care. What people do care about is your character, your heart, and how you made them feel.

Dancers, I will always support you. Whether you want to pursue a professional dance career in Los Angeles or New York City, in a company overseas, on your college dance team, I will support you. Whether you want to teach dance or choreograph locally in town, I will support you. Whether you don't want to dance at all and maybe be an engineer or a cosmetologist, I will support you. I will always fuel your dreams, goals, and desires, no matter where they'll take you.

I love you and I'm proud of you.

Sincerely,

Your Dance Teacher


Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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