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Take the frank, profane humour of Judd Apatow and mix with the explosive and gory violence of Matthew Vaughn. Add the superhero trappings of costumes, digital effects, and tragic origin story. Mix with knowing humour and regular breaks of the fourth wall. Simmer for 108 minutes and you’ll have something approaching Deadpool, Tim Miller’s rendering of Ryan Reynolds’ labour of love to bring one of the least conventional costumed adventurers to the big screen. Deadpool pulls off the remarkable feat of both following the superhero formula while also sending it up, in a way that is satirical but never mean-spirited. The profane humour and explicit violence are sometimes shocking but far from gratuitous as they perfectly express the film’s conceit of de-sanitising superheroes. In Deadpool, people are hurt and killed in gruesome manner, a vast amount of property is destroyed, and a powerful individual with an axe to grind acts in complete flagrance of the law. Furthermore, Wade Wilson/Deadpool’s (Reynolds) motivations are rather less noble than your average X-Man, and the film contrasts him with two actual X-Men, Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead [no, really!] (Brianna Hildebrand). The contrast between Colossus’ goody-goofy rhetoric and Deadpool’s glibness perfectly encapsulates the film’s send-up of its genre, while Miller’s directorial style is fluid and paces the action, humour and satire just right. Deadpool is gleefully distinct from a conventional superhero film, and its development of the genre demonstrates there is plenty of stretch left in the spandex.
The romantic comedy is a much maligned genre, continually treated with disdain and a lack of respect, given the derogatory term “chick flick,” as if films “for women” are somehow other and lesser than “regular people” (i.e. men). This is often unwarranted, as the rom-com provides great opportunities for comedic scenarios and engaging characters. Trainwreck, directed by Judd Apatow and written by star Amy Schumer, demonstrates this potential, as Schumer and co-star Bill Hader are very funny as well as being a convincingly adorable couple whose path does not run smooth. Furthermore, while the film follows a conventional plot of troubled romance, it does so with verve and brio, delivering comedic and heartfelt moments in equal measure. Much of Trainwreck’s success comes from presenting the gross-out humour that Apatow excels at from a woman’s perspective. Much like Bridesmaids, Trainwreck is not afraid of bodily function gags that are as nauseating as they are hilarious, nor does it shy away from sex jokes. Again like Bridesmaids (but unlike many other sex comedies), these jokes are from a woman’s perspective, Schumer’s script explicitly exploring the humour of sexuality from a point of view seen all too rarely in mainstream cinema. In so doing, it is reminiscent of another recent comedy, Spy, as Trainwreck demonstrates what really shouldn’t be unusual or striking – films focused on women are not just for women, they are about people and all people can enjoy them.