When it comes to movies based on comic book characters, the amount of money needed for a production budget often dictates a specific formula necessary to recoup those losses safely and assuredly so the movie can be made into a franchise to continue box office sales for years to come. Most notably, Marvel has fallen into their own formulaic design. I’ve definitely enjoyed X-Men movies and the The Avengers series thus far, but they do tend to be slightly duller and more predictable than they could be had they taken some chances. PG-13 ratings and expectations of character development often limit a writers’ potential for what could be. Instead, they favor the mold that works best for the largest audience.
Thankfully, Deadpool breaks and often shatters that mold… Among other things.
Deadpool the movie does “origin story” much differently than most other superhero movies. The story of what turned Wade Wilson into the titular character is given more of a referential treatment, showing flashbacks of the recent events rather than placing them in chronological order. This is unique storytelling in a succinct, competent way. It doesn’t bother you with some of the minutia that may distract those who have never read the comic book, but it doesn’t leave long-time fans high and dry either. It quickly builds a backstory, playing out through a fun, violent fight scene on a busy highway overpass. It doesn’t worry itself with leaving you behind, peppering the transitions with truly funny, mostly raunchy jokes that snap much harder than what Marvel has been capable of before. In fact, I don’t think most other rated-R comedies do humor as well as this film. You can’t call this comedy or action, because both are done so well.
Speaking of comedy and references, this is where the experience blew me away. Like the comic book, Deadpool the movie relentlessly breaks the fourth wall. Whether it is making fun of itself, other Marvel franchises, or the movie business, it does so pretty seamlessly- (without ruining any surprises, the funniest references take the piss out of another closely-related Marvel hero and the actor who portrays them). This is a key piece to Deadpool’s personality, because he himself is a big fan of science fiction, popular culture, etc.. It would only make sense that the smart-talking anti—hero would make fun of himself. I could ramble on about this aspect of the movie ad-nauseam. Sufficed to say, it is probably the 4th-Wall breakingest movie I’ve ever seen… Or at least the most successful at its practice.
The characters, like the movie, may have brief development and quick wit, but that doesn’t mean their personalities don’t show. Ryan Reynolds is a huge superstar, but I’m largely unimpressed with his body of work. He’s a good looking guy with a very specific sense of humor. He tends to be the one-trick pony that plays similar characters in most of his roles. It should be noted, however, that when that pony is put in the right race, it works. The writing around Reynolds is brilliant and the character lends itself perfectly to his style and overall screen presence. Morena Baccarin does well as the sex obsessed object of Deadpool’s affection and TJ Miller plays a great comedic foil as Deadpool’s bartending best friend. The only real disappointment was Ed Skrein as Ajax/Fraincais, the main antagonist and the man who gave Deadpool his powers. He’s a very predictable, generic presence in the movie played in a menacing English accent (which is also made fun of in the opening credits, so I guess its okay?) He’s not remarkable and only helps move the story along, which is fine, because that’s all he really needed to do.
Pleasant surprises come from a couple of smaller roles: Dopinder, Deadpool’s taxi driver and Blind Al, Deadpool’s blind, elderly roommate. These characters are both hilarious and work perfectly in transitional scenes, allowing Deadpool’s personality to further show itself. He may be a big-mouthed prick, but he’s also a softy when it comes to matters of the heart.
The visuals in Deadpool are done with just the right amount of CGI and live action. His mask is capable of moving along with his facial expressions, which is cartoonish, but fun. Blood and limbs fly, although not gratuitously, in many scenes with satisfying slow-motion parts that keep you from missing some of the more memorable action. The two X-Men, Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead, probably took more of the CGI budget than any other characters, but it’s never so grandiose that it takes away from any of the other visual action.
I’ll end by reiterating that one of the most charming aspects of this film is its lack of limitations. Do not expect your typical Marvel movie when you walk into the theater. Jokes about jerking off, sodomy, child molestation, fellatio, and Ikea abound. They aren’t drawn out or overdone and the movie rarely hits the same nail on the head twice. The raunch works, and I can’t wait to see/hear more.
It’s a terrible time of year for movies, but if you are a fan of super heroes, action movies or even just witty comedy in general, you need to go out and see this film. I haven’t smiled so often or laughed so genuinely in a theater in a long time. It’s not only well done as a Marvel movie, but it is a seriously fun experience with very few flaws or hiccups to slow it down. It may not have the budget of The Avengers, but I’d argue that it came out much more on target with its intentions.
Deadpool – 8.9 out of 10
**Deadpool 2 has been announced with no schedule for production or release**