DEADPOOL is not your typical, run-of-the-mill superhero. Fans of the “Merc with a mouth” love his obnoxious wisecracks, dirty jokes, and, of course, undeniable sex appeal. He has all the makings of a superhero that deserves his own standalone movie. After a bumpy road through development hell, Fox has finally treated Deadpool fans to this bit of nasty, bloody fun — and an R-rating no less. Ryan Reynolds brings the title character to life, but the rest of the movie struggles to keep up with him.
Before he was known as Deadpool, he was Wade Wilson. He’s a bad guy who stopped guys who are worse than him from doing bad things. Apparently, that is a job. Along the way he meets Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) and they develop a bizarre romance over having horrible childhoods. They develop a really odd fetish for celebrating their love on particular holidays and he eventually proposes to her–but their relationship hits a major speed bump when he finds out he has cancer.
He goes to an underground treatment center which turns out to be a lab that forces mutations out of people. Run by a sadistic guy named Ajax (Ed Skrein) and his trusty henchwoman, Angel Dust (Gina Carano), they put Wade through a tortuous experiment and leave him for dead after the lab explodes. Wade survives, but he’s grotesquely deformed and spiritually broken — although he now has the ability to heal rapidly and, apparently, fight. So it’s not ALL bad. He makes it his mission to muster up the courage to reunite with his lady and get make Ajax pay for what he did to him. Thus, Deadpool is born.
The movie is told out of sequence and then eventually catches up with itself to tell us a linear narrative. This doesn’t do justice to the story; it felt like the filmmakers did this just so that they could have a really, really cool and hilarious opening credit sequence (for real, it was one of the best I’ve seen). More importantly, though, the non-linear structure isn’t the smartest move when you’re trying to introduce a brand new character to an audience. Telling his story in chronological order probably would have made it better, but then again, it’s Deadpool. He doesn’t do things like everyone else — which is one of the main things I appreciated about this adaptation.
For one, it’s the first Marvel comic book movie with an R-rating since 1998’s Blade. The Tim Miller-directed movie does everything it can to satisfy our needs for that hard R: blood, violence, every curse word in the book, boob shots, sex, gaping wounds — it’s all there, and it is glorious. The movie is also extremely self-aware, poking fun at itself by breaking the fourth wall and dropping LOL-worthy jokes about Marvel, comic book movies, and other superheroes in the franchise — specifically Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine.
Despite my reservations with structural approach to the movie, Deadpool has a great origin story that is rooted in his relationship with Vanessa which, surprisingly, makes this movie part love story. He goes to the lab to cure his cancer not only for himself, but so that he can live to be with Vanessa. When Ajax and Angel Dust (predictably) kidnap her as bait for their final showdown, he fights to save her with the help from some friends — some X-Men to be specific.
As much as audiences will love seeing Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) in action, they were nothing but gratuitous flair. They were wedged into the story when Colossus tracks him down and basically says, “Hey, you want to join the X-Men? I know you said no before, but I thought I’d ask again.” It would be understandable if their presence in the movie led to a post-credit scene teasing another movie, but unfortunately they weren’t (note: there is a fun post-credits scene). The two characters were just there for visual padding. Fox could have easily used any other character from the X-Men roster and it wouldn’t have made a difference. I got more from Deadpool’s BFF Weasel (TJ Miller) and his roommate Blind Al (Leslie Uggams).
Reynolds completely owns Deadpool. You may even remember he played a version of him in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, an experience that many of us would like to forget (there’s a clever reference to this in the movie). Even so, the movie itself wasn’t servicing the main character as much as it could have, or should have. It was trying, but it just went through the motions and ultimately, gave us a plain superhero movie. In an age of comic book movies that are constantly trying to one up each other, having an against-the-grain lead isn’t enough.
My knowledge of the original comics is limited, but I have a feeling that if I had been a diehard fan of the character, I would have plenty to complain about. In the comics, Deadpool tells raunchy jokes, insults people with humiliating put downs, and is generally labeled an anti-hero. The movie hits those first two notes, but I wouldn’t consider this version a true anti-hero. When I picture an anti-hero, I see a brooding, silent-but-deadly, emo kind of guy. This Deadpool is not that. He’s the most obnoxious friend in your group. He’s ‘that guy’ without a filter. He’s an idiot with a heart of gold, but nevertheless, he deserved more from this movie.
Score: 2.5 out of 5
Dino-Ray Ramos watches too much TV and laughs inappropriately during dramatic films. He’s a fan of comedy, podcasts, and comedy podcasts. He’s a reformed comic book geek and thinks “The Goonies” is the best movie of all time. When he isn’t stuffing his face with a burrito, he’s thinking about his next trip to Disneyland.
Dino-Ray Ramos | Staff Writer