Quick Summary: It’s a movie that is very much Deadpool, and makes good use of its R rating. It has blood, violence, sex, strong language, and plenty of jokes. However, it’s not a perfect film, and it does blow its load early.
Genre: Action / Comedy
Director: Tim Miller
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Ed Skrein, Morena Baccarin, T.J. Miller, Stefan Kapicic, Brianna Hildebrand
Length: 108 minutes
Release Date: 2016-02-10 (UK), 2016-02-12 (USA)
More Info: IMDb
Deadpool – Official Trailer (Minor Spoilers & NSFW Language)
After many years of lingering in development hell, Deadpool finally managed to get a movie. I was hesitant after the first trailer I saw: though it showed potential, I was pretty apprehensive after Fox’s terrible handling of the X-Men franchise. The second trailer managed to make the movie look like utter shit, though thankfully that proved not to be the case.
The movie opens up with the title credits set to a backdrop of a still-frame action scene, as the camera swivels around and up over the frozen fight. But to properly open a Deadpool movie, it needs an irreverent humourous touch to it as well. This is accomplished using jokes for the credit’s, such as “Fox presents some douchebag's film.”
The film then flashes back to just before the fight began, with Deadpool taking a ride in a cab, where we get our first gleams of humour from the merc with a mouth himself. The movie’s off to a good start, and once it returns to the actual action, we see that this film has more than just a sense of humour. The action is well done, stylized like a proper superhero film, and successfully melds the fight with the funny.
The opening scene with the first fight of the film is a strong one. Sadly, after it’s done devoting 20 minutes of its runtime to it, the film takes a bit of a nosedive, and waivers up and down from there. Quite simply, it suffers from premature ejaculation before a proper climax.
This is where the film gives us its first real flashback, detailing Wade Wilson’s life shortly before he donned a red suit, and leading up to the present day. The film flirts back and forth with past and present, which helps keep things more interesting as it moves along (a technique used much more successfully in Marvel’s Daredevil series on Netflix last year). While I applaud the storytelling mechanic used, its greatest faltering is that the movie is an origin story. We’re plagued by origin movies in superhero movies, when most of the time it isn’t necessary. And when it is, it’s best when the time spent on it is kept to a minimum. Deadpool may have a strong following, though he isn’t as well-known as a character like Batman or Superman, so it does make sense to allot some time to his origin, but focusing almost the entire runtime of film to it is far too much (personally, I’d have preferred about 20 minutes, 30 at most).
As for Deadpool himself in all of this, the character is as he should be, and Reynolds does a great job playing him. Despite the utter clusterfuck that was Wolverine: Origins, Reynolds did well with him in that movie for the brief period of time they actually allowed him to play him (that bullshit at the end of the movie doesn’t count). As such, it’s not surprising that he performs so strongly. It’s kinda funny that I’m even typing that, as I’ve never felt that highly about Reynolds acting ability, and that he got roles more for his looks, which the film even jokes about. However, Deadpool shows this to not be the entire case (and I’m sure I’m not judging him too fairly, given that all I have to work off is a pair of superhero trainwrecks).
Being that this is set in the same universe as the X-Men movies, it’s not surprising that we get a pair of them in this movie, Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (named after a Monster Magnet song). While I like Colossus, and was pleased with his portrayal in the film, he still felt severely out of place. I have less praise for Warhead, as she’s not a very interesting character in the film, nor does she manage to be compelling in any way. On the bright side, Deadpool himself is at least able to play off her to humourous effect. It doesn’t quite manage to justify her inclusion, but at least it’s not a total waste.
On that note, the film delivers the humour it should for a Deadpool movie. Jokes abound, many infused with pop culture references. However all that would be incomplete without breaking the 4th wall, which of course this film does. Sadly, the 4th wall breaking doesn’t garner as many chortles as the rest of the jokes; nonetheless, this film is fucking funny at times, so it works out in the end.
The film isn’t without its missteps, though. I covered the largest one already: focusing too much on the origin story. The next main issue is the love interest. I’m aware that his comic book counterpart had one as well as part of his backstory, but it’s just not very interesting or compelling. Sure, it has parts that are played for laughs, and manage to work at that even. But, and without getting too much into spoilers, it's still a cliched love story that serves as a weak catalyst to certain parts of the film. You'll see where most of it is going before it happens, and it'll be just as unimpressive as this sort of story always is.
Deadpool has also been a massive box office success already: in just its first weekend it managed to smash a number of records, and it's now holding the highest February opening and highest R-rated movie opening in the US.
This success hasn’t gone unnoticed, leading to Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn to predict that news outlets and Hollywood would try to proclaim why Deadpool is a hit, and how upcoming movies are drawing influence from it. He has some point in that Deadpool is a relatively fresh breath of air in the superhero genre that crowds theaters (even if it does suffer some of the same common shortcomings). However, I think he underplays the role that its raunchy nature had in creating its success. Yes, people clearly want a superhero film (as much as you can call Deadpool a superhero here) that isn’t just “good guy(s) beats bad guy(s)” (though granted, it doesn’t stray too far from that). But people also want a movie that’s geared more towards a mature audience, and has fights that are more gritty and violent. Heroes where the world is a little darker, and the situations more mature. That isn’t illustrated just in Deadpool, but we can also see it in the success of Daredevil and Jessica Jones that Netflix created last year.
Hopefully this means we’ll get more superhero fare of this nature, though I echo Gunn’s concerns that some people may misunderstand things and make a movie that is “mature” for the sake of being “mature”, instead of making one that is mature because that’s the nature of the story and characters. We’re already starting to see this, as less than a week after Deadpool’s release, Fox announced that the 3rd Wolverine movie, and final one to star Hugh Jackman, would feature an R-Rating. Given the myriad of problems with the first 2 Wolverine movies, I’m wary that this film is going to be “mature” instead of mature. That being said, Wolverine is one of the more violent characters in the Marvel universe, so creating a movie that does him proper justice would necessitate the R rating. We’ll have to wait until 2017 to see what the case is, but hopefully the success of Deadpool bodes well for R-Rated comic book and superhero movies.
Nitpicking, and theorizing about the future of comic book movies aside, Deadpool is strong enough to stand on its own legs. We’ve been gifted with a film that is very much Deadpool, and it’s what many fans have been waiting for for a long time. The sequel is already greenlit, and it’s bound to be even better, which helps make things exciting not just now, but also moving forward.
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