Monday, February 29, 2016

Deadpool IS a Love Story (Not Kidding)

Even with amateur knowledge about Deadpool, I knew promotional pictures like this had to be a joke.  He's the merc with a mouth, the irreverent anti-hero, the master of sexual innuendo.  Yet, somehow, this rated-R movie that never stops the violent action or fourth-wall-breaking is actually a love story.  But I'm getting ahead of myself.

From the rolling credits, the movie exhibits Deadpool's cheeky humor as it claims to star "a British villain," "comic relief," "a moody teenager" and to be directed by "an overpaid tool."  Deadpool, also known as Wade Wilson (Marvel really loves their alliterative names), whips out many more quips to the studio, the audience, and other characters.  Often his jokes concern the filthiest things you can imagine.  But that's Deadpool.  What I love best about this character is that he always stays true to his identity.  Even during the intense pain of experimentation that gave him powers, he never loses his sense of humor - despite the villain predicting he would.  He never claims to "be the hero" and in fact rejects that label every time someone tries to put it on him.  Of course I don't agree with everything he does, but I respect his self-assurance.  His attitude says "This is WHO I AM, and I don't give a [insert word that does not belong on my blog] about what you say!"

When we're introduced to Deadpool, he's counting down the bullets as he (quite colorfully) kills a range of guys as he looks for someone named Francis.  Through several flashbacks, Deadpool takes us back to his former life as mercenary Wade Wilson when meets an escort named Vanessa.  After a banter-filled date at the arcade, we watch them get to know each other and fall in love.  They have just agreed to marry each other when Wade discovers he has terminal cancer.  Not wanting her to watch him die, Wade leaves her and agrees to experimentation under a man named Ajax.  (Minor spoiler, he turns out to be the much less cool "Francis Freeman.")  Wade gains a regenerative healing factor, but at the cost of physical disfigurement - or as the "comic relief" puts it, looking like an avocado had sex with an older avocado.  Francis claims he could cure that side effect but chooses not to.

Too ashamed of his appearance and afraid of how it will affect Vanessa, Wade tries to track Francis down so he can be cured and return to her.  The violence, interrogations, and donning of the Deadpool persona thus turn out to be his method to reunite with Vanessa.  Now you see what I'm saying about the love story?  Their relationship motivates him throughout the film, although how that ends veers into major spoiler territory so I won't go there.  What I appreciated most about their romance was that despite her status as an escort, he's more interested in getting to know her as a person first.  (I will not deny the, ahem, steamier stuff that comes quickly afterward, but the order of events is what matters here!)  I could see how their view on life and their personalities made them click so well, and I liked their time onscreen.

Ryan Reynolds killed it as Deadpool (I'd apologize for the pun, but I'm really, really not sorry).  I knew he would, because I've seen him play characters with similar personalities before.  I'm glad that his initial (terrible) debut in a previous X-Men movie didn't oust him from a much better version of the character.  The X-Men Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead were cool too, except I didn't see as much of them as I thought I would.  Although the only exposure to the X-Men franchise I've had is the First Class movie and a few comics, I liked how they hinted at Deadpool's connection to it.  This movie makes me wonder if Fox could pull off their own version of the MCU, because things weren't looking good after Fantastic Four.  I suppose I'll have to bide my time until Deadpool 2 comes out.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Irene Morgan (One Year Later)

If you saw my Facebook post last week, you'll know that after almost a year, I discovered that the Scripps College Journal had published one of my poems.  I had written it for Introduction to Creative Writing under the prompt: "Write about a historical figure."  At first I wanted to write about Rosa Parks, but then I discovered Irene Morgan, who had actually refused to give up her bus seat 10 years before Parks did.  I'm glad I was able to offer her at least a little more visibility through my writing, which I hope you'll enjoy here.

Irene Morgan

Spoiled meat sandwich in my hand,
Shuddering metal underneath my feet.
Black and white bodies shouldn't
Be in the same line of poetry, let alone
On the same old bus with tired blue rust.
It's what the law demands, yes?
Wait.  They keep trying to erase our side
Of the colored line, but our edges still grate.
"Lady!" the driver shouts at me.  He means bitch.
"Get outta that seat and go to the back!"
I see his puckered pink mouth,
His fat face ripe as a plum,
Yet he calls himself white?
I think I would rather release
My feet from the spine-snapping weight
Of wiping wet noses and stuffing
The mouths of my family like turkeys,
And of daily building green metal birds
Whose droppings can kill and win wars,
And of working underneath angry sunshine,
Picking white puffs spurting from their leaves,
And feeding them to the master's rolling machine.
I turn my eyes to the plum-faced bus driver.  I smile,
And in the same creamy, dripping voice I use when

Speaking to my children, I tell that driver he can just go to hell.