Can Fox Studios redeem itself for Fant4stic? Can an R-rated superhero movie work? Will I see a decent movie in 2016 at all? To find out tune in next…link to find out…
After a fucking abysmal portrayal of the comic relief character for the X-Men in Origins: Wolverine, Ryan Reynolds returns as the “Merc with the Mouth” and this time they didn’t sew his fucking mouth shut. We instead get treated to a very loose adaptation of Deadpool’s comic book origins where Wade Wilson is a low-rent mercenary living a life of grimy-sex with his girlfriend, Vanessa. Just when things are going great, Wade finds that he has terminal cancer all over his body. This leads to Wade giving up his body to a secret weapons program to attempt to save his life. On one hand, he gains the ability to regenerate from any injury (including the cancer killing him); but on the other, well…he “looks like Freddy Kruger face-fucked a topographical map of Utah.” Taking up the name “Deadpool,” Wade goes on a one man killing spree to find the guy who screwed up his body, rehabilitate Wade’s body, and kill the dude (perhaps in that order).
Ryan Reynolds looks happy as hell in this movie, and he has every damn right to be. Because this is the best movie he’s been in…shit, I don’t even know. You can tell Reynolds has some deep abiding love for the character of Deadpool, and he carries across the superhero’s sarcastic quips and penchant for talking to the audience on the big screen. After consuming a lot of Marvel cartoons, movies, games, and television shows over the years, Reynolds’ version of Deadpool is the most realized version of the character I have seen. What’s important is that Reynolds treats Deadpool the same way Jim Carrey treated The Mask: a completely over-the-top Looney Tunes caricature that’s a blood-soaked Bugs Bunny.
What’s even more impressive is that Reynolds is underneath a mask for a significant portion of this movie, but he’s able to communicate through his unique voice and exaggerated physical comedy. Also helping is that Deadpool’s eyes are computer-generated, allowing him to make effective expressions in the style of his old comic books and other media that Deadpool has been featured in. Put together, Reynolds and his team at Blur Studios has created one of the most direct adaptations from comic book to another medium since Iron Man.
Of course, all this talk of how good Reynolds is would all be for naught if the movie around him wasn’t very good. Fortunately for him, it’s absolutely fun and exciting. The rest of the cast from T.J. Miller, Monica Baccarin, Brianna Hildebrand, and Gina Carano inject as much personality and humor as they can into their respective roles for Reynolds to play off of, and it all comes together to form a a great comedy.
Now I can show this movie in front of the makers of Dirty Grandpa and Ride Along 2 and say “LOOOOOOOK, this is how you make people fucking laugh, you dolts.” The jokes in Deadpool are coming at you a mile a minute, so you can’t help but catch yourself laughing at even a few jokes. I’ve heard people call the humor “low-brow” and “crass,” but it’s more vulgar than anything else, and unlike Dirty Grandpa, what the characters are joking about has a concrete relation to what the fuck is going in the plot. More importantly, in Deadpool, the characters are at least interesting. You want to see where Wade and Vanessa are going with their relationship, and the couple surprisingly brings some sweetness to the proceedings amidst all the profanity and blood.
Speaking of which, the violence in this movie is really not that intense. Quite frankly, Kingsman was way more violent and had more interesting fight sequences. Deadpool‘s action sequences are still fun though, and can actually deliver some great moments particularly in the beginning and the end. Which means it’s up to the comedy to carry the movie from A to B, a task that’s executed quite effectively as I’ve already stated. It’s obvious that this a low-budget production with the generic locations from the action scenes, but the movie’s writing helps everything along by pointing out how low budget everything is and poking fun at overused tropes in superhero movies.
These gags are done through Deadpool directly addressing the audience about how absurd everything is. For those not familiar with the “Merc with the Mouth,” his other defining feature is his ability to break the fourth wall and converse with the viewer about the predicament he is currently facing. This allows Deadpool to crack wise about Ryan Reynolds’ own checkered career with superhero flicks, the presence of only two unknown X-Men in the entire movie, the change of actors for an X-Men character in the film franchise, and multiple jabs at the machine creating hero flicks for mass consumption.
The X-Men connection is a bit tenuous in this movie. While you see Professor X’s school and the Blackbird, you’re only treated to just Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (incidentally, my new favorite name for a superhero ever). Colossus looks decent, but his Russian accent is what really sells the character as the first true film adaptation of the superhero compared to his extremely brief appearances in the prior X-Men movies. Still, for whatever reason, the film elected not to use Deadpool’s comic connections to the Weapon X program, the same group that gave Wolverine his metal skeleton, and gave a nameless group the job of mutating Wade Wilson. It’s a bit of an odd choice and with 20th Century Fox having a raging hard-on for competing with Disney universe building, I’m surprised they didn’t make the bond. But I’m just nerd nitpicking at this point.
What truly elevates Deadpool above the usual superhero fare, is that it become san effective parody of the genre the way Hot Fuzz skewered buddy cop films and the way Fifty Shades of Black utterly failed to poke fun at Fifty Shades of Grey. The business of casting choices and superhero poses gets routinely mocked while the film comes up with its own clever jokes about the characters and world they inhabit. Just the way a good comedy should.
Which makes it all the more impressive that this movie was completed by a first time director named Tim Miller, the head of Blur Studios. Who are they, you ask? A special effects company that specializes with creating unique credits sequences…that’s it. But Miller’s animation background was the exact person who was needed to make a live-action movie out of a character who feels more like a cartoon compared to his counterparts running around in the same universe. Giving lots of props to him and the excellent script penned by the folks who wrote the great Zombieland.
I had so much damn fun with this movie, that I left with a smile on my face and I’m still thinking of the various jokes two days after I had seen the movie. I am truly surprised they made a great R-rated superhero flick and one that had the right level of raunchy comedy, so I’m giving this an enthusiastic…