I know little about the Marvel Comics character Deadpool. In fact, as big a comic book fan as I am, I doubt I’ve read even a single issue or story involving this character though the various illustrated pieces (covers mostly) I’ve seen suggest a tongue-in-cheek take on “badass” superheros like The Punisher or Wolverine.
Based on the movie version, looks like I nailed it on the proverbial head.
The movie version of Deadpool was released earlier this year following some very clever marketing such as this, which suggested (too well!) the film was some kind of romantic tearjerker…
And this one, which backed that up a little and hinted more at what to expect:
I’ll include the following red band (beware NSFW language and some sexual content) trailer (can’t believe I’m showing three trailers to one film!) which gives a better indication of the film’s actual tone:
Now, I’m a fan of “crude” humor. Some of my favorite comedies are those that push the limits and, here and there, Deadpool does just that. There are parts of the film that had me laughing out loud but there were other parts of the film that…didn’t.
The movie’s plot goes like this: A merc-for-hire named Wade (Ryan Reynolds, clearly not afraid to make fun of everything, including himself) is introduced via a mission involving a stalker. Nothing big, just one of those things intended to get audiences to see he’s one of those guys with good intentions despite the fact that he has no problem killing people in the most gory of ways (this we’ll see plenty of).
At his bar/hangout he meets Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), a hooker who it turns out has a glib attitude very similar to Wade’s. He “hires” her, takes her out (he, like she, has a heart of gold so therefore Wade doesn’t just hit the sack with her) and of course they fall deeply, madly in love.
Then, tragedy. Wade finds his body is riddled with cancer and, out of desperation, agrees to a nebulous procedure conducted by an equally nebulous group to cure himself. Of course, the people behind the procedure, Ajax (Ed Skrein) and Angel Dust (Gina Carano) are eeeeevvvviiiilllll villains interested in bringing out people’s mutations to then do something or another with them. Seriously, I don’t even know the why here.
So they torture Wade until his mutation appears and it winds up being something along the line of Wolverine-type healing. The experimental procedure, however, is so brutal it takes away Wade’s good looks and leaves him resembling a burn victim (much knee slapping fun is to be had with this). While his cancer is gone and his ugly new looks keep him from going back to the love of his life, Wade hides his identity behind a costume and -voila!- Deadpool roams the streets of the city hunting down the evil scum that made him while pining for his lost love.
His bloody actions, however, catch the attention of X-Men members Colossus (a really well done totally digital creation voiced by Stefan Kapicic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (a delightfully sullen Brianna Hildebrand) and they try to get Deadpool to renounce his bloody ways and become a “true” superhero.
As I said above, there are parts -many parts actually- of the film that were funny and enjoyable. Unfortunately, there were other parts of the film that were, IMHO, childish and stupid and featured, again IMHO, far too much gore.
Mind you, I’m not squeamish and I’ve loved me some very hardcore features in the past, but the bloody violence presented here felt at odds with the silly tone of the film. For me it came down to this: If you’re going to make a cartoon, why not go all out and feature cartoonish violence rather than more realistic and bloody gore?
Further, when all is said and done one comes away realizing this film has a surprisingly dull story to tell. The main villain, like far too many of them of late in movies, is given very little motivation beyond being bad for the sake of being bad. Worse, he’s upstaged, in my opinion, by Gina Carano’s Angel Dust, a character who barely has any dialogue.
Now that I mention that character, it occurs to me the movie’s side characters, and especially the female side characters wound up being the ones I liked the most, from Angel Dust to Negasonic Teenage Warhead (love the name and the character’s attitude…like Angel Dust she barely says anything and yet she’s more interesting than most people around her!), to Blind Al (Leslie Uggams), Deadpool’s weird roommate.
What does it say when you come away from a film like this and the three leads, Deadpool, Vanessa, and Ajax, aren’t necessarily the ones you care about or want to see the most of?
Despite all the complaints mentioned, I nonetheless recommend the film. As I also said above, while there were parts of the film that didn’t work for me there were others that were quite hilarious. In its own bizarre way Deadpool tries to stretch the borders of the superhero film and for the most part manages to do so well.
POSTSCRIPT: As I wrote the above review I had to bite my tongue. I really, really don’t want to flog a dead horse but now that the review is “over”, I just need to get this out of my system:
Why are people so negative about the so-called “murderverse” of Zach Snyder and the dark tone of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice yet give a film like Deadpool a complete pass?
As “brutal” as Batman was in BvS, there was a reason given for that (his view that Superman was a threat to all humanity). However brutal as Batman was in the film, he never did anything approaching what Deadpool does in his film yet because its “tongue in cheek” we can accept his multiple, bloody murders, including the very brutal way he eventually takes out Ajax?!