Before we begin, I want to explain that I have a bit of a complicated relationship with Deadpool. I like him, in limited doses. He’s like that friend you had in college who just couldn’t seem to leave that mindset. He belches, farts, makes off-color comments, and it’s funny, but if you have to deal with it for more than a few hours every two years, well, it’s a bit annoying. That’s Deadpool in a nutshell. His new film, Deadpool, feels precisely the same way and it’s not a bad thing at all! I say that as someone whose relationship with Deadpool would be listed as “it’s complicated”. My appreciation for Wade Wilson is completely based on who’s writing his escapades, my favorite being from Uncanny X-Force as written by Rick Remender.
Remender was able to tone down his insanity just enough to make Deadpool much more humanized and easier to relate to. Some writers like to go off the deep end and just embrace his insanity. Its annoying and I hate it. I feel very similarly about another character famous for wearing black and red, Harley Quinn. Both Deadpool and HQ are great characters, borne out of the 1990’s desire to not take anything seriously, live in complete excess, and embrace how much fun being crazy can be. These characters also have completely rabid fan bases, who may or may not actually read comics. They’ve become symbols of anti-establishment wannabe maniacs and sometimes it just makes me nauseous. Hey…maybe it’s not the characters at all that annoy me, maybe it’s their fans…like those creeps who get really, really into One Direction even though they’re 45 and it makes them looks incredibly sad…but I digress. I’m happy to report that Deadpool’s first solo definitely tones down his insanity to make the character more relatable.
Let’s talk about this movie! (I’ll put the trailer here so you can watch it again)
I’ll start by saying that Deadpool is fun, funny, and a great way to spend an evening at the movies. Its a total popcorn-chomping belly laugh of a film, even if that’s the extent of its greatness. Ryan Reynolds is finally able to play the character he’s wanted to play since 2009. This Reynolds produced gore-fest is filled with bullets, decapitations, and the unabashed humor that you would expect out of Deadpool. It’s incredibly vulgar, but knows that it is, and does NOT take itself too seriously.
Director Tim Miller (NOTHING), has designed a wacky world that somehow allows Deadpool to fit in with the ultra-serious (and sometimes boring) X-Men universe. We’re treated to two different X-Men in this movie: An all CGI Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand), so while we’re scraping the bottom of the proverbial barrel here, it’s nice to see that DP will fit within the larger X-Men Universe and it will be great to see how Deadpool is inserted in the future.
Of the performances, Ryan Reynolds and Kapicic steal the show. While this is obviously Reynold’s film, it’s nice to finally see a Colossus that’s much more accurate to his comic-book counterpart. It’s like Fox is finally taking some cues from the MCU and giving us the characters we grew up reading! Their relationship is humorous, and Wade’s relationship with the X-Men is quite the hilarious throwaway.
What Deadpool does well, it does extremely well. It’s clever, filled with moments of good comedy, and has some excellent action sequences. It’s clear that this film had a low budget, but Fox was able to make it work well. Reynold’s is the quintessential Deadpool, delivering quips while transitioning effortlessly to action-packed combat sequences. While it may be quite thin in the story department, Deadpool keeps your attention, if by Reynold’s force of personality alone. You want to see Deadpool do things, you want to hear him say things, and while he does break his 4th wall quite frequently, it’s not done to the point of annoyance. Though…if you hate Deadpool, you may just continue to hate him here.
Where Deadpool fails is its inability to construct a new, different, or interesting story. It’s a very simple revenge movie with a less-than-interesting villain. This villain, Ajax (Ed Skrein), is responsible for giving Deadpool his powers of extreme regneration, but he’s also responsible for making him look like a full body callus. There’s also a bit of a love story between Wade and his “wife” Copycat (Morena Barracin), though it mainly serves as a plot device. The ensemble characters are mostly forgettable, other than Weasel (TJ Miller) and Colossus. Miller is once again playing a very TJ Miller part, and he does very well. Its not Erlich Bachman (Silicon Valley), but it’s nice to see TJ ripping a bunch of jokes with Wade.
Deadpool falls shortest with its villain, Ajax. He’s just another evil, British dude, a trope we’ve seen many times before. It’s very much a Frankenstein story, where in this case the monster just expels an unprecedented amount of toilet humor and vulgarity. While Deadpool carries the movie, Ajax is boring, his side-kick Angel Dust (Gina Carano) is boring, and their final showdown (because of COURSE there’s a showdown) is quite derivative. I can’t help but to think that it was planned this way, as a way to spoof all other superhero franchises.
Ultimately, Deadpool feels like the two-hour version of the test footage we had seen a few years ago. While it is a great time, it doesn’t stand as high as some of the other superhero films we’ve been so privileged to experience. It’s good and definitely worth the price of admission, but It’s not amazing. It’s definitely not a game changer and it won’t rejuvenate the genre. It’s a solid B. If you’re a comic book fan, it’s definitely something you’d like to see. It has excited me for the sequel, which has already been green-lit. I’m excited to see what Reynolds does with Wade in the future and how he will fit in the universe. In the end, Deadpool’s first movie is the perfect jumping off point for this character’s film expansion.