Deadpool - Probably dethrones Guardians of the Galaxy as the outright funniest superhero movie, and it becomes only really good movie that is related to the X-Men. Now I'm going to reminisce about my tween-age comic book days.
I was always a fan of supergroups; Avengers, Defenders, Fantastic Four etc. The interesting aspect to them was that they all had a different source of why they were together. FF was a family, literally for the most part. They did what they did because the Dad (Reed) was guiding them and while they occasionally defied and bickered there was the sense they were together because they were blood. The Defenders, who we have yet to see on the big or small screen (but are coming to Netflix) were a group of independent iconoclasts with their own personal motivations who came together when they had a shared interest. The Avengers were together to keep the world safe. They chose to be together and take on that responsibility, which was nice of them. The X-Men were together because, well they were born that way and they shared oppression by the wider world. I never really liked them. It was hard for me to imagine why such powerful beings would want to identify themselves as victims, but Marvel was always on the bleeding edge of progressive sentiment. Also, they lacked terribly interesting individual characteristics -- besides the shared oppression.
Back then, the Avengers were the kings. I would say FF was a close second and though I followed them, I didn't have great enthusiasm for them. The Defenders were my favorites and X-Men held no interest for me -- both were decidedly niche. But relevant to today, I would say in the comics themselves the relationship between The Avengers and X-Men was about the same as it is between the two movie franchises. The Avengers was the absolute pinnacle whereas the X-men were kind of "Meh".
A few years after I lost interest in comics I happened to check back in and I was surprised at what I found. The Defenders had drifted into oblivion. The Avengers and FF were still cruising along, but the X-Men were suddenly kings of the hill. The cool kids were all over Wolverine and heralding the X-Men as the supergroup of a new generation (a generation that is only slightly less old than me now). I wasn't interested enough to find out if the accolades were merited or not, but it does explain why the X-Men was the first of the Marvel supergroups franchise to make it to film.
The X-Men movies have varied in quality; none of them have been anything more than solid action films of the sort that were are churned out by the dozens every year in this Epoch of Blockbuster Action Films. They seem to have the same shortcomings as the old comic series. There is little definition to the characters and they all seem to live in pretty much the same two-dimensional personality space. The scripts lack the Feige/Whedon crackling wit, and even when they attempt to be lighthearted the timing is stiff. For all their obvious talent, guys like Patrick Stewart and Hugh Jackman just don't do droll repartee terribly well.
But, surprise, Ryan Reynolds absolutely does. This movie was a minefield of potential disaster; the nudity, the dark humor, the in-jokes, the breaking of the 4th wall. A little misstep with these devices and you find yourself in the midst of unintentional parody. Well that didn't happen here. They balanced it pretty much perfectly, enlisted actors with real comic chops, and just went for it. Success. Personally, I could have done with a little less potty humor. And the plot, such as it was, was pretty bland. Still, it must have been so joyfully imagined to have that sort of enthusiasm come through. It was everything the X-Men movies aren't. Where they go next I don't know. (I should point out I have not seen X-Men Apocalypse yet.) It's still a minefield if they don't get a good script and director for a sequel.
Deadpool arrived in print after my comic book phase, so if this is the sort of thing that made X-Men comics king of the hill, I now understand.
Mr.Holmes - An affecting rumination on facts and objectivity versus lying for the sake of human dignity . Ian Mckellen plays a very old Holmes who is facing the inevitable degradation of his mental capacity and memory. He is hoping some sort of homeopathic snake-oil will keep himself sharp -- royal jelly made with prickly ash -- but it's not working. In his senescence Holmes tends his bees, while he is in turn tended to by a good, but uneducated, woman and her tween aged son. The son has a bit of hero worship going for Holmes and his dedication to pure objectivity, which his mother finds threatening.
For his part, Holmes is facing his degradation with the same pure objectivity that he brought to his cases earlier in life. He is haunted, however, by a number of things: the account of his final case by Dr. Watson in which truth (but not in Watson's portrayal) led to tragedy; a recent encounter with man in Japan who believes his father had vanished from his life on the advice of Holmes; the cruel treatment of the son towards his uneducated mother.
In time a tragedy occurs and Holmes gets to exercise his skill for deduction one last time and in the course, begins to understand the need for artifice and kind delusions in preserving human dignity. Although everything ends OK, I wouldn't call it happy, just resigned. The tone of the movie is elegiac, as is existence for those whose lives are winding down. It would have served as a wonderful denouement for Ian McKellan (kind of like The Shootist was for John Wayne) if he wasn't still going strong. It was also nice to see a movie that eschewed bombast and great social themes and sought only to do a deeply personal character study. The sort of thing you usually can only find on TV.