Silver Screen Spotlight: Ryan Reynolds

The spotlight for this month goes to the one guy who seems like he never really got his right footing in the Hollywood scene. Starring in everything from dark thrillers to romantic comedies, Ryan Reynolds has always remained one actor that has never displayed all of his true potential, at least from my point of view. Once deemed 2010's Sexiest Man Alive and well known for his roles that highlight his "best features", it's pretty clear that Reynolds got his leg up on the movie screen due -- mostly -- to his good looks. However, as I said, I truly believe Reynolds is an intelligent actor, just not that intelligent when it comes to choosing the right script.

Despite some missteps (which I'll mention later) in his film career -- following a decent television career on 1998's Two Guys and a Girl -- there are many movies Reynolds has done that I enjoyed, even if it may be quite a short list. While my first exposure to the actor may be unclear, I have a strong feeling it was one of the many cheeky romantic comedies he was known for back in the early 2000s. Whether it was 2008's memorable love mystery Definitely, Maybe -- which saw the actor as a divorced father of the lovable Abigail Breslin -- or 2009's The Proposal -- which is probably one of my most definitive Ryan Reynolds comedies -- you could say I've always known the actor to be a comedy star. While I still haven't seen some of his best comedic work, like 2009's Adventureland, I always felt like this was where he was meant to be.

The last four years of Reynolds' career have been an odd mix of animated hits and misses, intriguing indie projects, and more than a few comic-book roles. While he still occupied the comedy field in 2011's The Change-Up, most of his roles were of a more serious -- and quite thrilling -- variety. Some of his most memorable roles in the last few years have included the crime-thriller Safe House, where he played a game of cat-and-mouse with a conniving criminal played by Denzel Washington, and 2015's Self/less, which saw him as the young surrogate body for a dying businessman. While that film may not have been the best role in his career, it delivered a generally favorable thriller with a worthy performance by Reynolds. With that, there are a number of films starring Reynolds I have yet to see, like the black comedy The Voices, the war-drama Woman in Gold, and the casino-caper Mississippi Grind. 

Along with a few animated flicks I mentioned before, like 2013's The Croods and Turbo, most of my knowledge of Reynolds' career extends to his many flops in the comic-book movie genre. With a somewhat memorable role as a vampire detective in the 2004's Blade: Trinity, Reynolds continued his path with Marvel Comics until 2009, when disaster struck. Offered the role of the famous anti-hero Deadpool in 2009's X-Men Origins: Wolverine, it was expected that Reynolds would bring the character to life with his sarcastic attitude and favorable likeness. What resulted was far from the charming, bad-ass Merc with a Mouth we were promised. Successfully sewing his mouth shut and cutting his role down to a mere thug with arm swords and laser eyes, the Deadpool in Origins managed to pit the actor down a rabbit hole of continued missed opportunities.

Well, at least he started out okay...
Hoping to catch a break when he moved over to DC Comics, portraying Hal Jordan aka Green Lantern in the 2011 take on the character, Reynolds was unfortunately met with similar criticism for the film's lackluster result. Offering a cartoony performance from Reynolds (something that may have worked for the Origins manifestation), as well as a equally-cartoony CGI showcase in its final product, Green Lantern pushed Reynolds' career in superhero flicks to an all-time low. With one final attempt at the comic-book realm, Reynolds trudged through the forgettable R.I.P.D adaptation in 2013. Concluding in a box-office bomb for Reynolds, there seems like there was no hope for the actor in the comic-book genre.

It wasn't until this year that Reynolds truly found his calling. Always thought to be a great comedic actor, it was 2016 that redefined the actor's career for the better. With his new film, amply titled Deadpool, Reynolds successfully earned himself a second chance at what many fans deemed "the role he was born to play". Offering up almost exactly what the comic-book anti-hero was missing in 2009's X-Men Origins -- from Reynolds' superb meta-humor to the character's signature look and persona -- Deadpool rocked into theaters earlier this month to a quick and substantial welcome. Delivering what fans have been craving for for the past seven years, this unlikely superhero hit not only broke box-office records, but also gave us possibly one of Ryan Reynolds' best roles in his career.

Good looks may not be everything for Reynolds'
newest -- and most popular -- role
What's your favorite film starring Ryan Reynolds? Is it Just Friends? Van Wilder? Deadpool?...Yeah, I'm guessing it's probably Deadpool. Let me know some of your favorite films from the actor in the comments below, and let me know what role you'd like to see the actor take on next.

Deadpool may be all the rage right now, but stay tuned soon for my breakdown of the biggest films coming to theaters this Spring, including some of the most anticipated superhero films to hit the big screen in a long while! Remember to come back here for more post like this, as well as reviews of the most recent films I've seen.       

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