Movie Review: Deadpool
A Film Review of Deadpool
If Hollywood hasn’t already reached its saturation point regarding comic book adaptations, it is certainly going to hit that mark in the very near future what with DC’s cinematic universe ready to match Marvel. Enter Deadpool; a character that doesn’t hold a candle to Batman, Superman, Ironman or Spider-Man for just about every reason under the sun. His serious stories are graphic and excessively violent and the other 90% of Deadpool fiction is morbidly hysterical, unabashedly shameless and way beyond any PTA’s concept of “appropriate.” There isn’t one element of Deadpool that is to be considered PG-13 and that’s exactly the point. He’s a comedic anarchist that’s completely self-aware that he is a comic book character as well as the various media his likeness is inserted into which gives him unprecedented power to deconstruct, warp, evolve or devolve anything that involves a superhero story, real life and everything in between. How could any character still be relegated to cult status with such a unique 4th wall breaking ability? Thus, I present to you Deadpool’s tonal baseline of the ridiculous defined by poop jokes and a propensity for chimichangas: also part of his charm, yet, at the same time his very own self-imposed kryptonite.
You see, it’s not Deadpool’s ability to inspire others through displays of heroism via homo-superiority that makes his brand of fiction work. It’s his acknowledgement of his super-powered peers, how they go about their day and his conscious effort to do things a different way (a VERY different way) that resonates with his fans. Being different, is what works for his comics and it is exactly what works for this film. In a sea of origin stories, jaded pasts, scarred youths, redemptive comings of age and trials by fire Deadpool somehow manages to deliver a bit of all of the above in a manner unfamiliar with most cinematic audiences. Different is good and different is paying off at the box office with just over $132 million in its opening weekend and showing no signs of slowing down as word of mouth continues to set social media on fire. The word is out and the merc with a mouth has got plenty to say.
The R-rating is much deserved for this film as it delivers many of the same gags regarding violence, language and nudity that you’ve seen before in films like V for Vendetta, 300 and Watchmen. Those other films were heavy handed dramas that required a certain level of shock and awe to affirm the seriousness of their stories. Deadpool features no such gravitas for the entirety of its runtime, yet its earnings and increasing popularity are outpacing its peers not even a week past its debut. Aside from a very successful ad campaign, the movie sells that one element that not every big budget, action adventure is capable of delivering: fun. Fun is interweaving expertly choreographed martial arts with slapstick. Fun is setting up classic cinematic tropes and producing the unexpectedly inappropriate. Fun is making fun of itself without completely abandoning the basic plot and loosing viewers in the process.
You know, I was actually expecting a lot more gunplay by Deadpool himself in this film, but I guess we can hope for him to remember his sack o’ firearms in the sequel. The martial arts, swordplay and various acrobatics more than make up for this, but next time, more kiss kiss and bang bang.
Relative newcomer to directing live action films, Tim Miller shows a tad bit of reliance on standard camera setups to sit back and just let the action happen. Sometimes it’s better to not get in the way of good choreography and even better blocking.
Ryan Reynolds said this was a role he was qualified to play thanks to emerging from his mother’s birth canal and to his credit he owns the role with full command, physicality, comedic timing and tone. If, however, one doesn’t happen to be a fan of his personally, it will instantly give this film a nigh insurmountable handicap. His depiction of the character is much less psychotic and doubles down on being a smart ass.
Ed Skrein’s Ajax was only slightly better than the average Marvel movie villains not named Loki to date and I couldn’t quite buy much into T.J. Miller’s Weasel because token comedy relief is always upstaged by constant comedy relief by the lead. Morena Baccarin shows an amazing ability to match Reynolds’ lunacy when the story is lighter and then shifts status to the dramatic without skipping a beat.
Perhaps it is too much to ask for every film to have an impactful use of music above average, but I was amused by the Deadpool rap.
Not bad execution throughout although I feel they really shined during the opening and the climactic battle.
“Moving” = 21/33
Another area where this film goes all out in the very beginning (freeway sequence) as well as at the very end. I wasn’t impressed by the full CG Colossus in this film seeing how his brief appearance and transformation shown in X2 back in 2003 was much prettier. Bonus point for Deadpool’s regenerating hand alone.
A little ballistics and some more explosions were adequate but the blood and gore was better. I didn’t like that almost all of the fire in this film was added in post as a digital effect, but perhaps this saved the production a lot of money.
Deadpool’s costume evolution is entertaining and effective and probably ate up the majority of the costume budget. Yes, they absolutely nail the title character, but everyone else is left waiting at the bus stop in combat leather and jeans.
Hair & Makeup
Combat damage by everyone is well represented, but I must say that I wasn’t as repulsed by Wade Wilson’s cancer riddled body as it was probably intended to be. I didn’t actually think he looked like an avocado had sex with an even older and wrinkly avocado.
Even the exteriors that were filled in with green screen effects didn’t look particularly dynamic. Perhaps throwing in a bit more color for contrast and brightness could have spruced up the grey-scale.
Much better here: Wade’s apartment, the bar, the crack house and the torture-mutation chamber are exceedingly well dressed and detailed.
“Picture” = 17/33
An eccentric ex military commando goes to extreme measures to save his life for his love and what he gets is much more AND much less.
Where is that bloody Francis!? Yes, yes there’s that, but really Deadpool makes chewing up cardboard cutouts just as entertaining. Good thing too, because his opposition was pretty two dimensional.
For a character that isn’t meant to be a classic hero at all, is it right for him to have a classic ending? Getting the girl might be a long shot for Wade on any given day, but keeping one might set off a domino effect of narrative disasters that homogenizes Deadpool stories into the Avengers. Neither the twain shall meet.
Great stuff going on here and rightly so because dialogue with characters, the audience and himself is the focal point of DP’s comedy. Reynolds steals every scene, but he also elevates the energy level of every character playing off of his.
A fairly good use and placement of flashbacks to fill in the back story at relevant points during the present. It is more effective than starting at the chronological beginning and pressing through in a linear fashion.
Now Deadpool’s better at whatever it is that Wolverine does. Well, maybe not, but wouldn’t it be glorious to get Hugh Jackman to share the screen with RR just to see how it would play out? You won’t find a more unique “superhero”/”anti-hero” than Deadpool in a Hollywood production anytime soon.
Ah … nope.
“Story” = 21/34
Overall MPS Rating = 59/100
I must say that I enjoyed this film much better than what the final score seems to reflect. This film is every bit of fan service as it is entertaining to people that are new to this character and perhaps bored with comic book movies in general. I wouldn’t say that Deadpool flips the entire genre on its head as it subscribes to enough tropes to satisfy the studio execs at Fox. The only nitpicky nerd criticism I have of this film is that Deadpool’s patented psychosis from the comics has been swapped with some form of obtuse, shameless alpha male sexual ambiguity thing which is great for extra laughs, but DP doing his thing doesn’t really need them. I understand why they didn’t take this angle. For instance, if DP was shooting bad guys, ran out of bullets and then pointed his fingers like guns and yelled “Bang!” and still resulted in head explosions, he would proceed with an internal dialogue that would just run on and the “crazy” angle on this character would have a similar effect on film and it would lose the audience. If you are a fan of irreverent fun, then Deadpool is the film for you. Pro tip: stay for the very end of the end credits roll for an extra treat from Mr. Wade Wilson.