Review: 'Deadpool' is an Entertaining Switch For Comic Book Movies
by Jeremy Kirk
February 12, 2016
Deadpool isn’t like any Marvel movie before. True, if you break them down, the same could be said for all the movies that make up the current subgenre of superhero films. Though the basic structures all resemble one another, the sheer number of new entries flooding theaters allows the fimmakers behind them to play around in different, cinematic territories. Captain America has become the paranoid thriller. Guardians of the Galaxy is the space opera. Deadpool nestles its way into a subgenre taking on all the characteristics. It’s the filthy, R-rated superhero movie comedy. Though it never reaches the height of vulgarity or subversion it intends, Deadpool offers an abundance of crude humor, edgy self-referentiality, and a huge amount of fun.
Technically a spin-off of the X-Men series and not part of the official MCU, Deadpool certainly has a few quips to drop about the mutant brigade, and what better voice – and attitude – to provide those quips than Ryan Reynolds? He stars as Wade Wilson, a mercenary living in New York who spends most of his time protecting young girls from stalkers. After meeting the love of his life, Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), and growing the relationship for a year, Wilson discovers he doesn’t have long to live. Cancer has spread throughout most of his body, and the only possible cure comes in the form of a mysterious, experimental procedure. Sound familiar, X-Men fans?
Wilson goes through with the procedure, which takes care of the cancer in his body, but his face and body are horribly and irreversibly disfigured. There’s also the matter of his wounds healing and limbs reforming should they be cut off for any reason. Wilson swears vengeance on the people who transformed him, dons a red-and-black outfit and plenty of weaponry, and proceeds to take out the bad guys one bullet or sword swipe at a time. At least the procedure didn’t ruin his sense of humor.
That’s where Deadpool shines best. The cynical attitude made famous by the comic book character is always evident in the film. Screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (of Zombieland previously) don’t waste any motion delivering countless jokes and comical Easter eggs. It isn’t enough that Wilson continually mocks the villains he goes up against or that he seems to think there are cameras all around him, as if the whole thing were one, big movie. The breaking of its fourth wall provides Deadpool an avenue for comedy rarely seen in comic book movies, and it isn’t completely nonsensical to the story, either. Wilson isn’t exactly the most mentally stable superhero around.
He is probably the funniest, though. First-time director Tim Miller never lets up on the relentless humor dropped throughout Reese and Wernick’s screenplay. It’s never as subversive as R-rated, superhero movies of the past. Kick-Ass pretty much holds that throne, but this is still a nice change from the current slate of Marvel offerings to see a no-holds-barred action-comedy for adults, X-Men included. Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) accompany Deadpool on his mission, neither of them immune to his witty jabs. A warning to parents, though, that just because X-Men make an appearance does not make this a film for your children. You’ve been warned.
Funny as Deadpool is, the film hardly ever lets up on the action, either. There is plenty of bad-guy fodder for our "hero" to slice, dice, and riddle with bullets, his morals often in question as much as his mental capacity. The two main baddies, Ajax (Ed Skrein) and Angel Dust (Gina Carano), are never as interesting or as threatening as they should be, and the breezy run-time keeps it from ever feeling as grand as most Marvel movies. This doesn’t make it any less of a joy to experience. The fast pace and endless string of action beats forces your interest throughout the entire film, and it may just benefit the rewatch-ability factor. If for no other reason, you’ll want to watch Deadpool a few times just to catch all the jokes and references.
It helps tremendously that Reynolds takes on this role. The former Green Lantern made his first appearance as the Deadpool character in 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Though that cinematic version of the character has been all but forgotten about, it’s both a blessing and a shock that Reynolds was allowed to fill the role once again. It needed to be Reynolds playing Deadpool here. The actor’s charisma and attitude seem completely at odds with one another, but he makes it work in his favor. The jokes slide out of him with a completely natural delivery, his sense of timing as perfect as the character’s aim with a gun. It’s taken a few tries for Ryan Reynolds to find the right footing as a superhero lead, but he and Deadpool are just the right fit for one another. You can’t imagine anyone else in the part.
Deadpool and what it represents are both a nice change of pace for the world of the comic book nivue. The superhero movie as it is in 2016 has been done to death, origin stories and relationship subplots becoming a paint-by-numbers kind of element. You don’t have to wonder much about why Green Lantern didn’t work. Deadpool has these similar elements. The origin story, though, takes little time here and is told mostly via entertaining voiceover, and the love story aspect to the film never feels disingenuous or forced. It’s just kind of buried by the mountain of filthy humor and bloody violence scattered within. Time will only tell if more comic book films take on the same, R-rated tone as many of the source books have done in recent years. For now, though, Deadpool is here, and it definitely scratches a particular itch for comic book fans.
Reader Feedback - 24 Comments
It sounds like a perfect start. seeing as a sequel has been ordered we might get more character development later on. As far as I m concerned I'm in like sin and fuck you if you disagree.
Xerxexx on Feb 12, 2016
I am happy they gave a Reynolds a fourth shot at a comic book movie. It looks like sometimes the fourth time is the charm. // Thanks for the review Kirk.
DAVIDPD on Feb 12, 2016
I like how you said fourth. No one should be allowed to forget Blade.
Lar Rackell on Feb 12, 2016
RR still annoys me on screen. His face. His voice. everything. However, it seems like Deadpool may be his perfect role.
Henry Willis on Feb 14, 2016
Personally I think the role of his career was VAN WILDER. Everything else has been trying to get back to that match of character and actor.
DAVIDPD on Feb 15, 2016
You may wish to check out "Jessica Jones", which Marvel and Netflix co-produced. "Jessica Jones" is a very dark film noir TV-MA rated series.
dandassow on Feb 12, 2016
Literally the only Marvel TV show I've checked out, and I loved it. Need to go back and watch Daredevil S1, and I can't wait for Luke Cage.
Jeremy Kirk on Feb 12, 2016
Jeremy, I also really liked "Daredevil" Season 1 and prefer it to "Jessica Jones" Season 1. If the "Deadpool" film is true to the source material, it is likely to be closer in spirit to "Daredevil" with elements of sarcasm from "Jessica Jones".
dandassow on Feb 13, 2016
David Tennant is charmingly terrifying.
stavi82 on Feb 13, 2016
Agreed, David Tennant is excellent as Kilgrave. He plays the character simultaneously as terrifying, creepy, brilliant, manipulative, charming and sympathetic.
dandassow on Feb 13, 2016
Daredevil is in one word:awesome! The best marvel tv show to date. Jessica Jones was good, but not daredevil good....
ari smulders on Feb 14, 2016
Yeah I like that Netlix made JJ and DD R rated. Thank god.
Henry Willis on Feb 14, 2016
Please stop referring to these Fox movies as "Marvel" movies. Yes, they are based on Marvel characters. Yes, Marvel's name is attached because they licensed the characters to Fox and they get the obligatory, contractually obligated producer credit. However, these are made by Fox studios....not Marvel studios. Marvel has no real input or involvement with the X-men movies.
Vos_L on Feb 12, 2016
yeah, except for the origin of all the characters and a few decades of character development....
wobbles9094 on Feb 12, 2016
Marvel created the character and the story draws on all of the source material created by them. There are quite a lot of throw backs to these comics and their writers throughout the entire movie. This movie also relies on an established fanbase as well which will go and watch the movie.
TK on Feb 13, 2016
I had strong doubts about this one, but the reviews are great, so let's see it. Just one question :is it on the same level as the Guardians?
ari smulders on Feb 13, 2016
Guardians is a better film overall, but this is just more unique and different. Like you've seen the tone of Guardians before...you've not really seen this kind of mix that you have in Deadpool.
Have Hope on Feb 13, 2016
I thought Guardians was just pretty average but each their own. 6/10 for Guardians from me.
Henry Willis on Feb 14, 2016
Saw it last night, such an awesome movie. Def better than I expected. Need to catch it again to get everything down.
Frank S Iñamagua on Feb 13, 2016
I saw it last night and thought it a wonderful, hilarious and entertaining film. So many different and clever styles of humour to laugh at and Deadpool's character was magnetic. I thought the bad guy was very well played and liked that the story was a simple origin/revenge tale rather than some over the top/end of the world/buildings being sucked into the air extravaganza. It meant they concentrated on the characters more and were less worried about achieving the killer money shot for the trailers. Maybe having less budget is not such a hindrance. I loved all the interactions, the romance was wonderfully refreshing and the action top notch. There was laughing and gasping out loud. I really hope the film does well as I've been impressed with Ryan's efforts to get this made, loved the novel marketing and respect the studio's courage to sink some dollar into an r-rated Superhero film. I'd love to see the making of features on this as I think they would be fascinating. I'd put this up with Kick Ass and Kingsman for providing all round adult entertainment.Great work Ryan and Tim, can't wait for a sequel.
Payne by name on Feb 13, 2016
I haven't seen it yet but I am happy that the comic book nerds came out in force and crushed the box office records for a R RATED god damn movie. One of the most annoying and distracting things about little PG-13 movies are NO BLOOD scenes. Even though 10000 people are getting killed no blood anywhere. I don't need blood but simply KNOWING that if 100 guys get shot 100 times and seeing ZERO blood anywhere irks me and takes me out of the movie to the point I am looking for scenes where there should be blood and isn't while watching movies. Having a grown up Marvel universe would be amazing. A R rating just allows movies the freedom to do things properly. And not have to tame it/tone it down for the kiddie masses.
Henry Willis on Feb 14, 2016
Saw it. Thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of it. Will see it again and will buy it when it hits Blue-Ray. The violence was not gory. To me that is overkill (no pun intended). The humor appropriate to the situation and to the movie on the whole. And seeing Stan Lee in a titty bar was priceless.
Jamie on Feb 15, 2016
I'm a fan of comics, but wasn't really a fan of Deadpool. I get why people love the character (he's a mutant who kills people and he's a smartass), but I never heard of any Deadpool comics worth reading. HOWEVER, after seeing the movie which went everywhere and anywhere, and pulled things off I couldn't have dreamed of, especially considering it was released by a studio who's notorious for studio interference *cough* Fantastic Four *cough*.... I am now resigned to seek out some Deadpool comics.
RAW_D on Feb 16, 2016
Eduard Stanila on Feb 17, 2016
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