(R, 103 minutes, 20th Century Fox): “Deadpool” is not your grandfather’s superhero movie. Come to think of it, it isn’t your 13-year-old nephew’s superhero movie, either. Blatantly, buoyantly vulgar and jam-packed with conspicuously perverse, often bloody violence – including a scene in which the titular protagonist, while handcuffed and suffering from a bullet wound in the seat of his red Spandex pants, saws off his own hand with a Japanese katana – the film has been touted as Marvel’s first R-rated comic-book movie.
Based on a Marvel character introduced in 1991, “Deadpool” is the origin story of mercenary Wade Wilson, a.k.a. Deadpool – or as he puts it, “a bad guy who gets paid to f--- up worse guys.” After he receives a cancer diagnosis, Wade (Ryan Reynolds) is cured via a treatment that leaves him physically disfigured – hence the head-to-toe suit – but with his own latent mutations unleashed, leaving him with superhuman agility and the ability to heal rapidly.
As much of an embittered antihero as Wade is, he’s also hugely likable, if not entirely “good.” That’s because of Reynolds, who brings to his character a charmingly sarcastic verve that’s more tart than completely sour. If the actor was miscast in “Green Lantern,” he’s pretty perfect here. Like Deadpool, who’s not afraid to kiss a guy, Reynolds exudes a pansexual appeal, at once hyper-masculine and ever so slightly homoerotic.
Deadpool may not be the first Marvel character for grown-ups. But this “merc with a mouth,” as he’s known, feels like the first one with real teeth.
Contains strong violence and language throughout, sexual content and graphic nudity. Washington Post
‘Where to Invade Next’
(R, 110 minutes, Anchor Bay): “Where to Invade Next” is a Michael Moore documentary in every sense. There he is, with his loose-fitting jeans, marshmallowy sneakers and opinions. But the movie is funny and touching, and it has a lot to say about what we settle for as Americans citizens, and how much better our lives might be if we raised some hell.
To make this point, Moore employs a gimmick, facetiously vowing to invade a bunch of countries and loot their great ideas to bring to the United States. The shtick doesn’t entirely hold up, even if Moore, outfitted in an Army-green jacket and camouflage baseball cap, insists on “planting” an American flag on the floor of the Portuguese health minister’s office.
The stakes grow progressively higher and more emotional as Moore lumbers along, discovering equal rights for women in Iceland; humane prisons in Norway; free higher education – even for foreigners – in Slovenia; and government-funded women’s health clinics in Tunisia. Along the way, Moore circles back to a fascinating insight: A lot of these progressive ideas originated in America. Moore zeroes in on another common thread: The governments of these countries appear to care about their citizens, and the citizens care about one another. Community trumps money and military prowess.
Moore’s goal is not to put down the United States. Rather, he comes across as patriotic, in his unique style, explaining that none of these countries were always like this, but that they’ve made innovative changes, and now they’re better off. Why can’t we do the same thing?
Contains language, some violent images, drug use and brief graphic nudity. Washington Post
(PG-13, 98 minutes, Universal): A creepy doll and a creepy house are the main ingredients of “The Boy,” a small-cast horror movie that spends a lot of time building itself into a psychological thriller, only to veer in a more literal direction at the end. It still has enough scary moments to satisfy horror fans, but you’re left wondering whether it might have been more disturbing had it stayed on its original path.
Lauren Cohan (“The Walking Dead”) plays Greta, a young American woman who escapes a bad relationship by traveling to England for a job as a nanny to the son of an older couple (Jim Norton and Diana Hardcastle). Only when she arrives at their creaky, sprawling mansion does she learn that the lad, Brahms, is actually a porcelain doll, a surrogate for their son, who is said to have died years earlier in a fire.
It’s a classic descent-into-madness setup, and Cohan does a reasonable job with what she’s given. There was room to give her more – the first hour of the film is a bit sluggish – and Cohan never really gets to finish her exploration of whether Greta has lost her mind because the film takes an abrupt turn. It’s one of those twist endings that, though surprising, also feels like a letdown.
Contains violence and terror, and some thematic material. New York Times
Also out on May 10
- “Creative Control”
- “Beauty and the Beast” CW
- “Killjoys: Season 1”
- “Scream: The TV Series Season 1”
- “War and Peace”