Review: Deadpool 2

Director: David Leitch
Writers: Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick & Ryan Reynolds
Starring: Ryan Reynolds and Josh Brolin

deadpool_2_poster.0.jpg

Following on from the astronomical success of the first Deadpool movie many would have not been surprised if 20th Century Fox panicked and did a complete re-hash of the first. Whilst there are certainly similarities in Deadpool 2 to the first movie – the crass humour which is reliant on 4th wall breaking knowledge, the self deprivation and the over-the-top violence – but the sequel does more than enough to significantly differentiate itself from the first also.

As Mr. Pool himself says, Deadpool 2 is a movie about family. Now that the origin movie is out of the way you can almost feel how much more relaxed the writers were when approaching this movie. Rather than having to tell the story of who Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) is, they can instead focus on giving him room for development and growth. Something that feels both a tad out of place for a character such as this, but an arc which surprisingly works incredibly well.

Every character is the film is done very well, with perhaps the exception of the real villain of the movie who has basically zilch character motivation. Zazie Beetz as Domino is one of the standouts and Julian Dennison who effectively played the MacGuffin of the movie came across like a real star.

I pondered over whether I preferred the first or second entry to the franchise, but decided that ultimately there were aspects from each which I gravitate towards. The comedy I felt was more impactful in the first film, but the story and character growth is by far better in the sequel. Likewise the action I felt was better in the first movie in general, but there were specific action sequences in this film which I thought were more appealing on the whole.

Deadpool 2 also does a great job of subverting expectations, which is perhaps what I admired most about it. I won’t go into spoilers here, but the arc of the X-Force comes off incredibly well and I didn’t expect to enjoy Josh Brolin’s Cable and Zazie Beetz’s character Domino anywhere near as much as I did. It’s safe to say that Josh Brolin is on quite the superhero romp this year.

Overall Deadpool 2 is a very strong film, which happens to have perhaps the best ever post credits scenes to send the crowds home happy. The future of the franchise is looking exciting and whether we see Deadpool 3 or a series of X-Force films going forward then I will be excited regardless. If you were in any way a fan of the first film then this will certainly be one to go out and see. Heck, even if you didn’t enjoy the first then you should still go out and see this movie.

Final Score: 8/10 Porgs

Porg.pngPorg.pngPorg.pngPorg.pngPorg.pngPorg.pngPorg.pngPorg.png

Season 1 of LOTR Amazon Series To Focus On Young Aragorn

After much speculation it appears as though the subject base for Season 1 of Amazon’s Lord of the Rings prequel series has been confirmed.

Aragorn

According to an exclusive report by TheOneRing.net Amazon’s biggest project will, for season 1 at least, focus on a young version of the Northern Ranger turned King of Gondor, Aragorn.

Whilst Viggo Mortensen will not be reprising his role due to the age difference of the character, Amazon have completed a deal for the rights to use footage from Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, so don’t be surprised to see Viggo in there somewhere.

There is yet to be any further word on whether Jackson himself has finalised a deal to return to direct the series, however recent reports did state that he was choosing between returning to Middle Earth or directing a DC Universe movie.

Review: Kingshold by Dave Woolliscroft

Kingshold is a solid debut in the fantasy genre that is often flawed but sprinkled with the occasional gold dust.

This was a requested review from Mr. Woolliscroft.

For a debut entry into the fantasy genre Kingshold shows a lot of promise. The story follows the events within the city of Kingshold following the murder of the King and Queen, and the transition into a pseudo-democracy.

Kingshold itself is the centerpiece of the story and whilst the city itself is well built, and the transition into a democracy offers a unique plot which I personally have not seen attempted before, the isolation within the single city does create its own problems.

I often found that having all the viewpoints take place solely (for the most part) within Kingshold not only limited the story, but it made everything feel too clustered and unclear. The characters themselves were hit and miss, with there being more than a few stereotypes from the fantasy genre, in particular the inclusion of an ancient wizard. But with that being said, the characters who did hit, hit strong. The aforementioned wizard, Jyuth, was well developed and offered some strong comedic value to the story. Hoskin, the weary-eyed politician who just wants to retire is also another highly enjoyable character. But beyond that, I felt that the characters were solid at best, and in the case of some of the tertiary characters, forgettable.

One of Woolliscroft’s obvious strengths in his writing is his understanding of the world he has built. He has managed to craft a very detailed realm of fantasy, that offers a lot of intrigue and mystery. But there in lies the issue. Due to the narrow focus of this first novel in what I presume will be a series, Kingshold suffers from not exploring more of that world. I found that some of the best writing and most exciting aspects of the novel were the discussions of far off continents, warring kingdoms and entirely other realms of existence. Unfortunately all that is only touched on in brief, albeit with great effect when it is. Hopefully this means that any future novel has been set up brilliantly, as I would certainly purchase a sequel which had a broader focus, as I have no doubt that that is where the skills of the author would really shine.

As I have seen it mentioned in other reviews I would echo that this novel is certainly one that takes a while to get going. In fact the first half of the story is threadbare at times as the author takes the time to introduce us to characters and the world at large (Which later pays off in the second half and hopefully in sequels). That isn’t to say there isn’t a lot of fun to be had with Kingshold, because there is.  What little action there is in the novel is well written, the characters who you are drawn to will provide you with the motivation to keep turning the pages to see how their story plays out and the overall unfurling of the election to crown a new democratic executive is well drawn out.

The actual quality of the writing is very high. I only picked on one very minor mistake, so if there are more mistakes out there among the text then they weren’t significant enough to be distracting from what I was reading. What surprised me most about the novel was the amount of humour that was entwined into the writing. It wasn’t something I expected to find among a fantasy novel covering the transition from monarchy to democracy, but it never felt out of place and often really helped to establish and further develop some of the better characters.

Overall I would suggest that this is certainly one to read if you’re a fan of the fantasy genre, however perhaps one to come back to later if you’re only just getting into that branch of writing. The promise of a strong sequel is there, and if you take this as the platform for a grander series to be built on then I would say that it does its job very effectively. If it turns out that this is the only entry into this world, for whatever reason that may be, then I may look back on it and bemoan the lost potential. For that is truly what this novel is, strong potential that perhaps isn’t executed perfectly at times.

Thank you for providing this novel for review Mr. Woolliscroft, I hope that it brings you success and motivation enough to put pen to paper on Book number 2.

Final Score: 7/10 Porgs
Porg.pngPorg.pngPorg.pngPorg.pngPorg.pngPorg.pngPorg.png

5 Possible Directions For The Amazon Lord Of The Rings Prequel

With the news that Peter Jackson is in talks with Amazon over their Lord of the Rings prequel series, and that the Amazon Prime exclusive show will take place within the movie universe, we’ve decided to take a look at 5 possible stories for the show to tell.

69e228226264ff5c54ac01c4eb422ef6

Option 1: A Whole New World

This isn’t meant in the literal sense, but the probability of Amazon crafting whole new stories that are entirely detached from previous canon is pretty high. The further away from previously established stories they go, the more distance they put between themselves and fan criticism over changes.

This, of course, doesn’t wipe the slate clean for them. There will still be characters and timelines which they would have to stick to, but being able to go anywhere and see anything is perhaps the best way to let the writers take a crack at this world.

Option 2: The Fall of Mordor/Osgiliath

If they wanted to create a true tie-in series that takes place between The Hobbit trilogy and the original Lord of the Rings trilogy then I couldn’t think of anything better than a war-series that focuses on the conflicts surrounding Mordor and Osgiliath once Sauron is chased away by the White Council at Dol Guldor.

This setting would allow for certain actors such as Sean bean to return to our screens, and would act as the big name draw that I’m sure Amazon will be searching for to help sell the product.

Whilst it does make it tricky in terms of canon, as there are plenty of toes they could step on so-to-speak, it would create an intriguing and gripping scenario to watch unfold.

Option 3: Aragorn’s Mother

My personal favourite of the five options would be to see a prequel series that follows Aragorn’s mother, Gilraen.

We’re already aware that she strove for her whole life to keep Aragorn hidden from the enemy, and a series where we get to see that unfold would be something entirely different from what we’ve seen before, whilst also delivering some major backstory to one of the films most beloved characters.

Besides, who wouldn’t want to see a young Aragorn?

Option 4: The Blue Wizards

The ever mysterious Blue Wizards. Only ever hinted at in the film canon, with the most backstory for them coming in the non-canon Shadow of Mordor game via collectibles. Having a show that centred on them and their travels would not only keep the slate clean for canon purposes, but it would also allow us to be introduced to other evils within Middle Earth that could only be matched by Wizards. Evils that perhaps threatened the world of men but we never knew?

It’s certainly the possibility that opens up the most realms for travel, discovery and general adventure, but perhaps it’s a little too out there and unfamiliar for Amazon to go through with?

Option 5: A Large Scale Fantasy Epic

With the money that Amazon are throwing at this series then I wouldn’t be surprised to go this route, even if it may make it difficult in the canon aspect of things. For this option I envisage a Game of Thrones esque tale that spans all of Middle Earth and all of the various races. The scope and budget would allow us to visit locations as vast and different as Rivendell and Minas Tirith, with character playing at politics and war.

Whilst the other options are more isolated in their stories this one could take on any shape or form Amazon wished and perhaps even include one or two of the previously mentioned options, such as the fall of Mordor and Osgiliath.

Seeing the inclusion of Elves, Dwarfs and Men would certainly be a strong selling point and the larger scope could keep the door open for the return of major characters such as Gandalf, Aragorn and Elrond. The only issue being that without changing up canon, there were no major conflicts in the 60 year period between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, so Amazon would likely have to take some artistic licence. Beyond that, if certain characters didn’t show up in a show of this style and scale then it would make little sense from a story and logic perspective, so Amazon would have to play their hand extremely well.


But what say you? What would you like to see in the Amazon prequel series? A smaller story focused on specific and new characters? Or a grander scale epic that takes a form more akin to Game of Thrones? Let us know @WeAreNiche on twitter and in the comment section below.