Fox surprised and disappointed “X-Men” fans Thursday morning when its Hall H panel ended with only one film presented, “Kingsman: The Golden Circle,” and not even a casual mention of the thing everyone expected to be front and center: “Deadpool 2.”
It’s not known precisely why Fox opted not to bring the Merc with the Mouth to Comic-Con this year.
Maybe it’s because the film they did bring is practically dripping with “Deadpool” influences … at least judging from the first five minutes.
If the “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” opener is anything to go by, everything ridiculous and exaggerated about the original action comedy is even more ridiculous and more exaggerated.
The scene opens cold-ish, with main character Eggy (Taron Egerton) leaving Kingsman HQ and heading to his car. He’s immediately confronted by a former Kingsman recruit, Charlie Hesketh (Edward Holcroft) who washed out in the first film. Hesketh, see, plans to kidnap Eggy, and has brought with him a fleet of tinted-window SUVs presumably full of thugs to back him up. Eggy isn’t having it, and fight ensues, from the street right into the back of Eggy’s car, which takes off speeding down London streets as Eggy and Hesketh (who, BTW, is now a cyborg) duke it out in the back seat.
If you’ve seen the car fight from “Deadpool,” or the coincidentally very similar scene in the pilot for “Preacher,” you have an idea of what to expect. The brawl is no-holds-barred as Eggy and Hesketh try, and fail, to kill each other with hands, feet, and whatever weapons they can find. Luckily, it’s also pretty goddamn funny, with Egerton’s Eton/Oxbridge-style dress accentuating the brutal, cartoonish violence as if Daniel Craig was suddenly replaced in “Casino Royale” by Roger Moore. (In a good way).
The Moore, but badass, vibe continues after Eggy defeats Hesketh, at which point the fight transitions to a car chase as Eggy drift-races around London before destroying the bad guys, then evading the cops (clearly he’s not sanctioned by the British government) by driving his car, broken windshield and all, into a pond, where it turns into a submarine.
In other words, it’s “Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift” combined with “Fast and Furious 6” combined with “Deadpool.” And, I guess, also combined with a Hugo Boss ad. I have zero complaints about that, and neither did the crowd. The clip didn’t get the kind of reaction “Deadpool” got the last time Fox was in Hall H, but the one it got was good enough.
Lest you think the opener’s vibe was a bait and switch, Fox also brought two other clips that were equally fun, funny, and balls-out ridiculous. The first saw Channing Tatum plug a hole in a cask of priceless whiskey by spitting chewing tobacco at it (with a loud splat sealing the deal, the closest you can get to a fart joke without actually farting, I suspect).
The second scene gave an extended look at Julianne Moore’s positively adorable-yet-evil villain named Poppy. Poppy is a powerful drug cartel lord who lives in an undiscovered South American lost city that she’s redecorated to resemble an idealized 1950s small town. Like if Hill Valley of the “Biff changes history” timeline in “Back to the Future” looked like the old Hill Valley. There’s a movie theater, a makeover salon, and even a quaint diner, which serves as Poppy’s lair. Also, it’s where she turns disobedient henchmen into ground beef, and also tests the loyalty of other henchmen by making them eat, and enjoy, human hamburgers.
Fox is selling this film hard, with almost 15 minutes of footage shown off, and that red band trailer early Thursday morning, but don’t worry, they had me at human hamburger meat.