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‘Deadpool 2’ review: Offend. Kill. Make an inside Marvel joke. Repeat

Ryan Reynolds is back with the uninterrupted humour, but the ‘Deadpool’ sequel is all over the place.

Deadpool (2016) was an unpredictable, riotous origin story about a man whose face looked “like an avocado had sex with an older avocado”. Wade Wilson, also known as Deadpool is back in the “superzero” film with Ryan Reynolds being all about breaking the fourth wall.

Before getting into the sequel, a quick refresher: In part one, Wade Wilson, a former special operations agent, becomes the subject of inhuman experiments at the hands of Ajax/ Francis (Ed Skrein), which lead to complete disfiguration. Wade decides to exact revenge.

The sequel sets up events through a flashback. We dash back and forth in time for a while before settling in the present. In the past, Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) and Wade are contemplating starting a family, but domestic bliss and being a Marvel superhero are hardly compatible. In the present, Wade is protecting a mutant called Russell or Firefist (Julian Dennison) from a reformist headmaster, vicious prison-mates and a time-travelling super-soldier called named (Josh Brolin).

In order to save Russell from Cable, Wade decides to build his own army. Called the X-Force, the raggedy team consists of bargain-basement mutants – Shatterstar (Lewis Tan), Zeitgeist (Bill Skarsgard), Bedlam (Terry Crews), Domino (Zazie Beetz) and a chap called Peter (Rob Delaney) who has no powers but responded to the advertisement. There’s also Vanisher, an invisible man who has blink-and-miss visibility to reveal a delicious cameo by a mega Hollywood star.

Besides a host of new characters, there are Deadpool regulars: Dopinder (Karan Soni), the taxi driver who dreams of becoming an assassin, bar owner Weasel (TJ Miller) and Blind Al (Leslie Uggams). Then there are a host of X-Men including Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead, plus several cheeky cameos and many references to Wolverine.

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Deadpool 2 (2018).

David Leitch (John Wick) directs a screenplay written by Reynolds, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. Leitch shows his skills strongly in the action scenes, but the script itself is a bit chaotic. The opening credits send up the Bond movies and are set to a Celine Dion track. The soundtrack is a mix of 1980s hits, featuring new tracks and artists from Air Supply to Dolly Parton. In Deadpool, the radio in Dopinder’s cab was playing Mera Joota Hai Japani from Shree 420 (1955). In Deadpool 2, it’s Yun Hi Chala Chal Rahi from Swades (2004).

Reynolds misses no opportunity to plug his country of origin, Canada, and apologise for the disastrous 2011 Green Lantern adaptation, in which he starred. At one point Wade snaps at Cable saying, “Zip it, Thanos”, referencing Brolin’s recent role in the blockbuster Avengers: Infinity War. There are many more such meta-moments, making this movie a fanboy’s playground (especially one of the scenes embedded in the end credits).

Deadpool is a trash talker, but the brash attitude and incessant chatter are the balm that Wade spreads over his pain. His jibber-jabber gets tiresome after a while, however, and irreverent, subversive and shocking humour is funny only upto a point. After which, the grand action scenes aside, it feels like a pattern: Offend. Kill. Make an inside Marvel joke. Repeat.

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Swara Bhasker: Sharp objects has to be on the radar of every woman who is tired of being “nice”

The actress weighs in on what she loves about the show.

This article has been written by award-winning actor Swara Bhasker.

All women growing up in India, South Asia, or anywhere in the world frankly; will remember in some form or the other that gentle girlhood admonishing, “Nice girls don’t do that.” I kept recalling that gently reasoned reproach as I watched Sharp Objects (you can catch it on Hotstar Premium). Adapted from the author of Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn’s debut novel Sharp Objects has been directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, who has my heart since he gave us Big Little Lies. It stars the multiple-Oscar nominee Amy Adams, who delivers a searing performance as Camille Preaker; and Patricia Clarkson, who is magnetic as the dominating and dark Adora Crellin. As an actress myself, it felt great to watch a show driven by its female performers.

The series is woven around a troubled, alcohol-dependent, self-harming, female journalist Camille (single and in her thirties incidentally) who returns to the small town of her birth and childhood, Wind Gap, Missouri, to report on two similarly gruesome murders of teenage girls. While the series is a murder mystery, it equally delves into the psychology, not just of the principal characters, but also of the town, and thus a culture as a whole.

There is a lot that impresses in Sharp Objects — the manner in which the storytelling gently unwraps a plot that is dark, disturbing and shocking, the stellar and crafty control that Jean-Marc Vallée exercises on his narrative, the cinematography that is fluid and still manages to suggest that something sinister lurks within Wind Gap, the editing which keeps this narrative languid yet sharp and consistently evokes a haunting sensation.

Sharp Objects is also liberating (apart from its positive performance on Bechdel parameters) as content — for female actors and for audiences in giving us female centric and female driven shows that do not bear the burden of providing either role-models or even uplifting messages. 

Instead, it presents a world where women are dangerous and dysfunctional but very real — a world where women are neither pure victims, nor pure aggressors. A world where they occupy the grey areas, complex and contradictory as agents in a power play, in which they control some reigns too.

But to me personally, and perhaps to many young women viewers across the world, what makes Sharp Objects particularly impactful, perhaps almost poignant, is the manner in which it unravels the whole idea, the culture, the entire psychology of that childhood admonishment “Nice girls don’t do that.” Sharp Objects explores the sinister and dark possibilities of what the corollary of that thinking could be.

“Nice girls don’t do that.”

“Who does?”

“Bad girls.”

“So I’m a bad girl.”

“You shouldn’t be a bad girl.”

“Why not?”

“Bad girls get in trouble.”

“What trouble? What happens to bad girls?”

“Bad things.”

“What bad things?”

“Very bad things.”

“How bad?”

“Terrible!!!”

“Like what?”

“Like….”

A point the show makes early on is that both the victims of the introductory brutal murders were not your typically nice girly-girls. Camille, the traumatised protagonist carrying a burden from her past was herself not a nice girl. Amma, her deceptive half-sister manipulates the nice girl act to defy her controlling mother. But perhaps the most incisive critique on the whole ‘Be a nice girl’ culture, in fact the whole ‘nice’ culture — nice folks, nice manners, nice homes, nice towns — comes in the form of Adora’s character and the manner in which beneath the whole veneer of nice, a whole town is complicit in damning secrets and not-so-nice acts. At one point early on in the show, Adora tells her firstborn Camille, with whom she has a strained relationship (to put it mildly), “I just want things to be nice with us but maybe I don’t know how..” Interestingly it is this very notion of ‘nice’ that becomes the most oppressive and deceptive experience of young Camille, and later Amma’s growing years.

This ‘Culture of Nice’ is in fact the pervasive ‘Culture of Silence’ that women all over the world, particularly in India, are all too familiar with. 

It takes different forms, but always towards the same goal — to silence the not-so-nice details of what the experiences; sometimes intimate experiences of women might be. This Culture of Silence is propagated from the child’s earliest experience of being parented by society in general. Amongst the values that girls receive in our early years — apart from those of being obedient, dutiful, respectful, homely — we also receive the twin headed Chimera in the form of shame and guilt.

“Have some shame!”

“Oh for shame!”

“Shameless!”

“Shameful!”

“Ashamed.”

“Do not bring shame upon…”

Different phrases in different languages, but always with the same implication. Shameful things happen to girls who are not nice and that brings ‘shame’ on the family or everyone associated with the girl. And nice folks do not talk about these things. Nice folks go on as if nothing has happened.

It is this culture of silence that women across the world today, are calling out in many different ways. Whether it is the #MeToo movement or a show like Sharp Objects; or on a lighter and happier note, even a film like Veere Di Wedding punctures this culture of silence, quite simply by refusing to be silenced and saying the not-nice things, or depicting the so called ‘unspeakable’ things that could happen to girls. By talking about the unspeakable, you rob it of the power to shame you; you disallow the ‘Culture of Nice’ to erase your experience. You stand up for yourself and you build your own identity.

And this to me is the most liberating aspect of being an actor, and even just a girl at a time when shows like Sharp Objects and Big Little Lies (another great show on Hotstar Premium), and films like Veere Di Wedding and Anaarkali Of Aarah are being made.

The next time I hear someone say, “Nice girls don’t do that!”, I know what I’m going to say — I don’t give a shit about nice. I’m just a girl! And that’s okay!

Swara is a an award winning actor of the Hindi film industry. Her last few films, including Veere Di Wedding, Anaarkali of Aaraah and Nil Battey Sannata have earned her both critical and commercial success. Swara is an occasional writer of articles and opinion pieces. The occasions are frequent :).

Watch the trailer of Sharp Objects here:

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This article was published by the Scroll marketing team with Swara Bhasker on behalf of Hotstar Premium and not by the Scroll editorial team.