Every field has a few iconic rivalries. In soccer, it is Messi and Ronaldo. In music, it was The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. In philosophy, it’s Plato and Aristotle.
Yet, finally, we have found our modern cinematic discussion: the fierce debate between 2018’s summer action blockbusters. The options: Deadpool 2 and Avengers: Infinity War.
I know your first thought: “Who the fuck cares, you nerd?”
Fair. But hear me out!
Both movies garnered and fostered considerable hype, while not only meeting but infinitely surpassing expectations. The newest Avengers installment even found ways to seep into mainstream American culture. The phrase, “I don’t feel so good, Mr Stark,” quickly became not dissimilar in raw emotion to “Here’s looking at you, kid,” and “We’ll always have Paris,” and the scene in which half the world is eliminated in arbitrary fashion quickly rooted itself as part of the summer’s meme culture.
Yet, Deadpool 2, whilst still making the top-five list of grossing summer films, did not find its way to the forefront of day-to-day discussion. This must be attributed to the film’s “R” rating, appropriate given its graphic violence and harsh language. Since Deadpool, played by the beautiful Ryan Reynolds, argues the entire movie, he is not a superhero. Instead, he is just “a bad guy, who gets paid to fuck up worse guys.” The producers at 20th Century Fox really did not spare any effort in the making of this film: they took Josh Brolin, the voice behind Infinity War super villain Thanos, and placed him in the role of Cable, the seemingly evil villain whose past and desires are just about as twisted as Deadpool’s himself, making Cable and Deadpool not so different after all. Whilst such a cinematic construct seems far too cliche, Brolin manages to complement and support the primary theme of Deadpool 2: heroes are made not by their past, but by their actions in the present.
However, dear reader, you’ve come here for answers, not my mediocre internal dialogue regarding two movies you’ve probably already seen. You want to know which movie got the Yale Daily News stamp of approval as the summer action blockbuster of the summer.
If our ranking were based on the amount of British actors deploying American accents, Infinity War would take top prize (Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Holland). If this report were based on number of pudgy New Zealand kids with fire shooting from their hands, Deadpool would win, no question.
I can hear all the Stats majors screaming inside. Obviously neither of those metrics are at all useful in measuring the merit of a film. Instead, I will resort to measuring the films by their innovation, an ironic measurement given that both movies are sequels. And given that reasonable measurement, it is incredibly clear that Deadpool 2 contains more cinematic merit than Infinity War.
The first deceivingly creative facet of the Deadpool franchise, particularly its second installment, is the breaking of the fourth wall. Wade Wilson, the given name of the movie’s titular protagonist, constantly berates the audience with real-world references, the most noticeable of these examples being when Wilson refers to Cable as Thanos, referencing, of course, Brolin’s part in the Avengers series. Besides references, Wilson frequently insults the studio, the writers of the movie and, at the end, his decision to sign onto the movie “The Green Lantern.”
Furthermore, the age of comedy in action movies can give full credit to the producers of Deadpool and Deadpool 2. If you watch the first two installments of Thor, you will find an attractive protagonist, a lackluster plotline and anemic character development. Yet, if you watch Thor: Ragnarok, the third Thor movie, you will notice flares of brilliance both onstage and offstage. Thor transforms into a comedian from the first scene onwards; the addition of the questionable protagonistic and obviously alcoholic Valkyrie continues the recent thread of morally questionable heroes and the mockumentary film and comedy director; Taika Waititi, finds brief and frequent moments of banter at all twists and turns. I would be remiss in my review to not attribute such obvious Hollywood change to the influence of Deadpool.
That being said, the Avengers maintains some solid innovation. The continuing plot line, which incorporates every Marvel movie released at any given time, is clever and consistent, albeit a capitalistic ploy forcing the public to watch every Marvel movie if they want to even mildly understand the Avengers movies. However, despite the sheer excitement most feel when they see just about all Marvel superheroes fighting as one, the concept of packing the entire Marvel comic universe comes off as shallow.
Furthermore, Infinity War, in which the Avengers are destined for inevitable failure, needed a protagonist on whom to place the blame, which fell on the well-liked Starlord, played by Chris Pratt. I am sure most would agree that seeing Chris Pratt, the lovable goofball of every movie in which he is a part, portrayed as a stubborn, jealous and overly masculine figure in the face of Thor, a literal god, was off-putting and, more rudimentarily, just a bit upsetting.
Regardless of what side of the debate you fall, go see both movies. If, like me, you’re a bit of an edgelord, you may also enjoy the shameless, questionably moral choices of Wade Wilson. If you want a little more vanilla in your action film, Infinity War is the flick for you.
Nick Tabio | email@example.com