deadpool-movie-reviews

*** MILD SPOILER WARNING ***

So I went and saw Deadpool on open­ing night.

Fangirl of the char­ac­ter that I am, this was the first movie in my life that I’ve ever cared enough about to brave the hu­mon­gous crowds for an opening‐night show­ing. (According to 20th Century Fox, Deadpool broke records for highest‐grossing open­ing day for R‐rated films, and it is poised to break more. On a note that would high­ly please the Merc with a Mouth him­self, and with a not‐at‐all‐subtle amount of irony, it even out‐grossed the open­ing night of every X‐Men film. Suck it, Wolverine!)

Something about the ban­ner that stood out­side the door to the the­ater, with the red‐suited star cheek­i­ly form­ing his hands into a heart‐shape, made me feel like the cre­ators may just have kept the promise they’ve been trum­pet­ing about. That they would stay true to the om­ni­sex­u­al anti-hero’s source ma­te­r­i­al.

Well, folks, I am proud to re­port that Ryan Reynolds, Tim Miller, and com­pa­ny have kept their word — Deadpool is, in my opin­ion, one of few movie adap­ta­tions that more or less does jus­tice to its char­ac­ter.  (I ad­mit it, I squealed like a one‐year‐old through­out most of the de­cid­ed­ly not kid‐friendly dis­play.)

The movie it­self start­ed out in a man­ner en­tire­ly apro­pos to the at­ti­tude of Wade Wilson: against a freeze‐frame mon­tage of an ac­tion scene, com­plete with trin­kets of Deadpool’s mur­der­ous machi­na­tions (bul­lets sus­pend­ed in midair? That cray­on draw­ing high­light­ed in var­i­ous trail­ers? Hello Kitty chachkis?!). The open­ing cred­its flash­ing not with peo­ples names, but with satir­i­cal de­scrip­tions along the lines of “Asshole” and “Sexy Beast”. Classic!

Fans of the char­ac­ter will be more than sat­is­fied with this homage. There’s plen­ty of blood, ex­plo­sions, gra­tu­itous lewd dis­plays, loads of gross‐out slap­stick ac­tion, a pletho­ra of oddly‐timed pop‐culture ref­er­ences, a cor­nu­copia of fourth‐wall‐breaking, and — of course — lots and lots of the out­ra­geous­ly wacky hu­mor that we’ve come to know and love. He even saws his own hand off to es­cape a pair of cuffs! If you’ve come for the ‘Pool, you will not leave dis­ap­point­ed.

The plot plays around with the back­sto­ry a bit which isn’ a big is­sue, since read­ers of the comics are no stranger to this, but it still sticks with the ba­sic de­tails of torturous‐experimentation‐post‐cancer‐diagnosis. Also ap­pear­ing in the film (again, with changes) are Weasel, Blind Al, Vanessa Carlysle (com­plete­ly es­chew­ing the char­ac­ter of Copycat and leav­ing her hu­man, but still keep­ing in­tact the re­la­tion­ship with Wade Wilson and his sub­se­quent break­ing up with her af­ter his di­ag­no­sis), and Colossus (and the School for Gifted Youngsters!). In the role of the bad­dies, we see Ajax (a.k.a. Francis!), Angel Dust, and for sharper‐eyed fans there is pre‐Hydra Bob — Agent of Hydra!

Some fans will won­der at the lack of Deadpool’s oth­er voic­es in his head, his lack of tele­port­ing pow­ers, and why chimichangas were only ref­er­enced once in the en­tire movie. However, these are more or less for­giv­able since the first bit is ar­guably hard to ex­e­cute in live‐action, the sec­ond is not canon for the en­tire­ty of Deadpool’s ex­is­tence, and the third, well, it’s been men­tioned that Deadpool doesn’t ac­tu­al­ly like eat­ing chimichangas as much as we’re led to be­lieve, but rather, reeeal­ly en­joys say­ing the word (can’t ar­gue there, it’s fun to say) so I can live with that. There are just too many ref­er­ences, and only so much movie to put them in be­tween fight scenes. Don’t wor­ry — there’s more than enough com­i­cal ass‐kicking to make up for it.

As far as su­per­hero action‐movies go, it’s not en­tire­ly dis­ap­point­ing there ei­ther, but it’s not any­thing ground­break­ing. The film most­ly runs on the hype that is Deadpool — not that that’s re­al­ly a bad thing. It is as much com­e­dy as it is ac­tion; where­as oth­er en­tries in the su­per­hero genre fo­cus more on the ac­tion and dra­ma, for Deadpool the com­e­dy is the en­gine that keeps the ship run­ning.

And the hu­mor is ab­solute­ly on point. It is wit­ty, it is clever, and it is blade‐edge sharp. It is the ex­act brand of un­ex­pect­ed hu­mor we’ve come to ex­pect from Wade Wilson. I have to hand it to the writ­ers, it is spot on. It re­al­ly feels like a Deadpool work through and through. It is supreme­ly grat­i­fy­ing.

On a more pro­found note, we get to see a side of Wade Wilson that isn’t al­ways ob­vi­ous: the shame he feels about his ap­pear­ance. While this is an as­pect that is re‐explored from time to time in the comics, his devil‐may‐care fa­cade tends to mask the fact that he is af­fect­ed by what oth­ers think of him. Only now, of course, he ex­press­es this shame through op­po­si­tion­al self‐fulfilling bit­ter­ness, tak­ing off his mask in front of oth­ers and forc­ing the spec­ta­cle of his grue­some fig­ure on them to see their re­ac­tions.

In this movie, it is a dri­ving force, an emo­tion­al bar­ri­er keep­ing him from re­unit­ing with the girl he left be­hind be­cause he is scared of her po­ten­tial re­ac­tion. It even caus­es him to make stu­pid mis­takes — mis­takes that costs her her safe­ty, as his pan­ic when try­ing to ap­proach­ing her, when he al­ready knows his en­e­mies are on their way to cap­ture her as a pawn piece against him, leads to the in­evitable re­sult. Even a man as genre‐savvy as Deadpool is fal­li­ble when hu­man emo­tions are at stake. Every so of­ten we get a re­minder of this in the comics, and to see how mad at him­self he is af­ter the fact is that won­der­ful and nec­es­sary re­minder of his emo­tion­al depth and hu­man­i­ty.

As far as plot, Ajax does un­for­tu­nate­ly come across as a bit script­ed and cliched. In most cir­cum­stances this would come across as a poor cre­ative de­ci­sion, but for one thing — in this case, it is a per­fect foil to Wilson’s un­pre­dictable crazi­ness. When Francis spits out a for­mu­la­ic vil­lain line we’ve heard ver­ba­tim be­fore, it just makes the zany re­tort from Deadpool’s mouth that much bet­ter by con­trast. Colossus is also a bit of a foil com­ing from the side of Good, but thank­ful­ly not as stereo­typ­i­cal in his lines. Having Ajax and Colossus at op­po­site ends of the moral spec­trum with sim­i­lar be­hav­ior pat­terns does well at high­light­ing Deadpool’s sta­tus as a moral and be­hav­ioral rene­gade. He knows he’s no hero, and he owns the fuck out of it, wise­crack­ing all the while.

Untangle the ac­tion from the com­e­dy, how­ev­er, and the ac­tion los­es a bit of its shine. For one thing, the ac­tion was amaz­ing at the be­gin­ning… but there was no real vari­a­tion from there. Not that any of the fights lat­er on weren’t sat­is­fy­ing, but they didn’t get any bet­ter ei­ther… which is some­thing that one tends to look for in the fi­nale of these films. This is one of those mo­ments where they al­ready start­ed at “max­i­mum ef­fort,” and didn’t leave any room for im­prove­ment for the fi­nal bat­tle. Well, with the ex­cep­tion of one thing.

In the fight scenes, Colossus is great, Angel is great, Negasonic Teenage Warhead (as an X‐men in train­ing un­der Colossus, with Nitro’s pow­ers) is great. Deadpool him­self is re­al­ly amaz­ing as well, most of the time, but when you’re fight­ing against cer­tain en­e­mies who do the same things over and over, it gets mo­not­o­nous. I’m talk­ing about Ajax.

Every fight with Ajax was the same old axes. Even though the scenery was dif­fer­ent, and the stakes were dif­fer­ent, there was no vari­a­tion in Ajax’s fight­ing style, and that left lit­tle room to work with for Deadpool. Until the point in each fight at which Deadpool solution’d the prob­lem, they may as well have patched in pre­vi­ous fight footage with Ajax and we wouldn’t have no­ticed. But even fly­n­ning can be done in var­i­ous ways, and the di­rect­ing staff could, and should, have made use of that.

The oth­er thing that both­ered me about the fights was the lack of oth­er weapons in Deadpool’s ar­se­nal.  Yes, it was great for a gag when the duf­fel full of guns got left be­hind in the taxi, but… not even grenades? He had the util­i­ty belt for fuck’s sake, sure­ly they could have at least showed him toss­ing a time­ly grenade. We didn’t even see him us­ing any guns oth­er than the dual pis­tols. For me at least, it’s not re­al­ly Deadpool un­til he ran­dom­ly pulls out a gi­ant gun, even if he doesn’t use it for long. (Yes, he took one shot with the tee­ny gun he got from Al, and he used a small­er knife to saw his hand off, but A.) nei­ther of those were not in‐combat, and B.) the tiny‐gun use doesn’t make up for lack of big‐gun use.)

His su­pe­ri­or ca­pa­bil­i­ties with the weapons he does reg­u­lar­ly use were well‐demonstrated, but, Earth to Miller, he *is* also a multi‐weapon spe­cial­ist — in­clud­ing un­armed fight­ing! They had plen­ty of time in com­bat to il­lus­trate his oth­er in‐combat abil­i­ties, and it would have been a great po­ten­tial so­lu­tion to the prob­lem of the Repetitive Fighting Ajax. This is the one biggest is­sue I have with this film.

But even for a very‐okay su­per­hero movie, Deadpool still per­forms well in its class. For Deadpool lovers, it’s a thrilling num­ber that hits all the right but­tons, and then some. If you came for the Marvel su­per­hero ac­tion with­out any knowl­edge of the char­ac­ter, well… just pay at­ten­tion to the crazy, meta jokes and you’ll get your money’s worth just fine. And who knows, even if you agree that the ac­tion falls short, maybe it’ll get you hooked on the char­ac­ter and the comics. Either way, it’s a sol­id win.

P.S. There’s a post‐credits scene! Stick around to the end for a hi­lar­i­ous through‐the‐fourth‐wall se­quel teas­er, folks!

 

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Indigo Altaria
Indigo Altaria has been a devo­tee of Pokemon since Gen 1, what­ev­er gave it away? Within the greater realm of geek cul­ture, her in­ter­ests in­clude lan­guages, cul­tures, world­build­ing, and in­ter­sec­tion­al­i­ty.
Indigo Altaria

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