Deadpool: The Hero (Movie) We Deserve
Time to take a break from all of the stately and ponderous Oscar nominated films to bring you a review of something fun: Deadpool. A labor of love…and profanity, bullets, and explosions…Deadpool seemed like a long shot: Fox studios has mangled and tortured their comic book franchises, had already attempted to introduce the Deadpool character once (to horrendous results,) and seemed all but incapable of making a stand-alone super hero movie. Ryan Reynolds and Director Tim Miller fought hard to get this goose into the air, and the effort was completely worth it. Deadpool is the most fun I’ve had at the movies in a long time, and is in my top three super hero flicks, alongside The Dark Knight and Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Wade Wilson is Deadpool, a smart-mouthed killer who is out for revenge against the people who saved his life. What?
You see, Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) was a cocky mercenary who mostly took on assignments for people with nowhere else to turn. No choir boy, he relished harming those who were even nastier people than himself. Two major events changed his life: he met the love of his life, and then he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Desperate to stay with his fiance Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) he agrees to a shady offer to acquire mutant powers that may cure his cancer. The program saves his life, but leaves him horribly scarred, and when he refuses to become their pet killer, they kidnap his lady. Now he’s super-powered and super-pissed, and he’s got a sharp tongue and two sharp swords for anyone who gets in his way.
Fun and Games
My biggest compliment to this film is that is riotously funny. The opening credits are hilarious. The dialogue is hilarious. The constant motor-mouth 4th wall breaking interior dialogue is hilarious. The film has crass jokes, witty pop-culture references, physical humor and pratfalls, and a devious penchant for mockery. Ryan Reynolds is as funny and seditious as his best comedic roles, such as Waiting and Van Wylder. T.J Miller has some of the best lines (as evidenced in the trailer) but isn’t even the funniest sidekick Wade has: Karan Soni plays Dopinder, the unfortunate taxi driver who frequently shuttles deadbeat Deadpool around town, and his interactions with Reynolds are comic gold. Morena Baccarin and Brianna Hildebrand (who plays the sullen X-Man trainee, Negasonic Teenage Warhead) provide excellent foils to the wanton stupidity of our hero. The comedy is not always successful, as the banter between Deadpool and his roommate Blind Al is often hit or miss, and sometimes the jokes flirt perilously close with the tasteless, but the sheer volume of zingers the film lobs over the net means most of the humor scores…and at heart, this is an action movie!
The action scenes in this film are as entertaining as the jokes. We all knew that the freeway battle was going to figure heavily into the story from the trailer, but Tim Miller toys with expectations, moving into and out of the melee with ease, pausing the excellently filmed carnage to provide flashbacks and asides which flesh out the plot. There’s virtually no fat on this animal; each scene (once again, with the exception of the roommate scenes) advances the plot while simultaneously providing either blistering action or levity. The action is also buoyed by the phenomenal soundtrack, which isn’t just ironically great, but genuinely great. Salt-N-Pepa’s Shoop has never been so wonderfully appropriate.
A Few Gripes
There was very little to fault the movie with, but I did find a few issues. The pacing of the film drops out of fifth gear towards the middle after the excellent freeway scene, and doesn’t quite find the same pace until the climax begins. The interaction between Blind Al (Leslie Uggams) and Wade were wasted, and was one of the few times Reynolds came off as an unlikable prick instead of a sardonic anti-hero. Wade and Weasel, his ostensible handler in the mercenary world, never really built up a solid chemistry, and seemed a touch forced at times. While Colossus and Negasonic provided some excellent fodder for Reynolds to work off of, their introduction felt rushed and didn’t pay off until the final act. I also thought the two villains, though well acted, were a touch generic, and would have loved a weirder set of powers with which to challenge our virtually invincible hero.
A Palpable Hit
Niggling criticisms aside, Deadpool was fantastic fun, in a way few super hero movies dare to be. Guardians of the Galaxy was nearly as funny, but never felt quite as believable in its action sequences. Spider-Man has often attempted to weave humor into its generally respectable action films, but hasn’t had the same freedom to make a joke at any cost. Deadpool had nothing to lose, and it went for broke…and managed to stick the landing nearly every time. Even when I’ve loved a movie, I’ve rarely felt moved to immediately see it again. Heck, I’m still waiting to re-watch Mad Max, and I absolutely loved that film. Deadpool made me want to walk back up the ticket counter and buy a spot at the next showing as soon as it was over. The risque humor may not work for all audiences, but Reynolds and Miller have given the world their best effort to recreate the insanity and self-aware spectacle of the character Deadpool, and it is an action comedy well worth your time if you have any interest in the genre.