The problem with making a spoof is that you have no freedom to maneuver
I just saw Captain America: Civil War. I won’t hate on it, even though I’d dearly love to. It’s alright. It finished strong. I loved Spider-Man. He had a lot of personality.
You know what other movie I saw this weekend, though? That Key and Peele movie, Keanu. I’ve been looking forward to this for awhile, because, like all living humans, I think Key and Peele are pretty funny, and I also really liked the movie John Wick, so when you combine the two, I was excited to see what would happen.
But within ten minutes of the movie opening, I realized the fundamental problem. This is a spoof. And spoofs inevitably feel bogged down by their adherence to the source material. For instance, one of the absurd things about John Wick is that he kills a hundred people just because they killed his dog. Like…it’s understandable, but it’s also crazy. However, because of that, Keanu constantly feels the need to show how silly it is that its characters are so attached to a cat. But in the end the joke is so easy and gets hit so many times that it makes the movie feel a little by-the-numbers.
The movie ends up being funniest when it deviates from the source material. For instance there’s an extended celebrity cameo in the middle that is sublime. And there’s a running joke where Peele, who is present for a number of murders, keeps trying to insist none are his fault.
But then the movie would dip back into its source material, as in the numerous fight sequences and the final car chase, and I’d be like, okay, this is happening. It wasn’t necessarily bad, it’s just that the movie didn’t really seem interested in trying to make any of this stuff funny. It was just like, well, we’re spoofing John Wick, so we need to have fight sequences.
Whereas if the movie hadn’t been so closely tied to that source material, it could’ve breathed a little more. For instance, maybe there wouldn’t have needed to be any big gunfights at all. Maybe the two main characters wouldn’t have needed to discover a sudden facility for gunplay and car chases. I don’t know. Just saying.
Still, the movie is fantastic! Definitely worth seeing.