Mike at the Movies

Deadpool 2 (R)

This movie is the funniest movie of the year so far as well as one of the most, sort of, violent. The violence is sheer overkill and sheer comic-like fantasy. Every gun has infinite ammunition, and anything can blow up at any time.

But the strong point is the script and what is added to it by a very imaginative Ryan Reynolds who is, again, Deadpool. Wade Wilson is just a Special Forces dishonorably discharged veteran when he desires to become a Super Hero and takes inspiration from his local bartender, Weasel (T.J. Miller). He has a “dead pool” in which the winner is the one whose designated person is killed.

This edition of the Deadpool franchise is more a love story than anything else. Deadpool is in love with Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) and, when she is killed in a shootout in ‘Pool’s apartment, the rest of the film is a pursuit of the killer. That simplifies a very complex plot, made so by a profusion of characters: Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand), Domino (Zazie Beetz), Brad Pitt as “Vanisher” whom we never see because he’s vanished, and especially Cable (Josh Brolin). Originally a character looking to eliminate ‘Pool, he becomes an ally in the “X-Force.”

This movie is funny because there are constant asides, mostly from Reynolds, forming the X-Force—“Okay, but no medical or dental”—and such stuff to the audience as, “Big CGI fight coming up!” Look for quick and mean references to Wolverine and Hugh Jackman. There are also hysterical scenes such as the auditions for the X Force and Deadpool’s alleged death scene.

This wild humor and crazy satire may be too much for some; there is a lot of blood spilled and sudden amputations of body parts. (One of the funniest scenes is Pool re-growing his legs after having them blown off. Regeneration is one of his super powers.)

Give it a try. It is so wildly funny that to miss it would be a shame. My ribs are still aching from laughing.

Solo: A Star Wars Story (PG-13)

This is not your typical “Star Wars” story. It involves many characters you have grown to love over the past so many years but not as many as in your usual Star Wars blockbuster. The spotlight is clearly on Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) in his early years and offers almost equal screen time to Joonas Suotamo as Solo’s sidekick, Chewbacca. Woody Harrelson is along for the ride as the veteran space bandit, Beckett, and Emily Clarke as Qi’ra brightens the set.

We learn that Solo befriended Chewbacca when they were both thrown into a sloppy dungeon and escaped together. Chewy wants freedom, Solo wants to be a pilot, so they set out to fulfill both aims. First, Solo has to decide to abandon Qi’ra to her fate with the villain Dryden Vos, played oleaginously by Paul Bettany.

The plot centers around the capture of a substance called “Coaxium,” though it might as well be called anything. It is one of those “blow up the world” kinds of things customarily at the center of so many space thrillers.

Solo gets his name from a Customs officer as he is leaving his home planet because he’s alone—no family, no close friends, nobody to care for him and he has no last name. He soon is surrounded by friends, most particularly Chewy who saves his bacon several times in the many fights that supply the action for the film.

Light, fluffy and summery, this solo effort is a refreshing break from all the serious space and “explode everything” features we’ll be treated to for the rest of the summer, with the exception of “Deadpool 2” that is still the laugh champ of the season.