There’s something bizarre about Deadpool, who almost problematically resonates with a Millennial generation. I only say problematic because his fans, more than those any other comic character, are very expressive. So expressive that I saw a teenager in a full body Deadpool costume with his grandma sitting to his left at a 7 o’clock Thursday night showing. That kid is bold.
The production of this movie was a hellish effort, but the long and short of it was: Ryan Reynolds had a dream. The expensive suits said “no,” and a glimpse was shown across the world, and the people cried “yes.” And from their cries, Reynolds and co. made it so. After 11 years Reynolds got to star as his favorite character,with the original draft written by Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese (writers of Zombieland) and directed by the visual effects guy of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Tim Miller (the movie’s credited Overpaid Douche). The movie even earned its “Hard R” rating that the crew and fans begged and pleaded for. To be honest, I don’t think the MPAA had a choice with the movie I witnessed last night. Deadpool’s marketing campaign, which has been pervasive over TV and the internet for the last few months, have been found hilarious by millions, and I can guarantee you that the movie is just as funny as those advertisements, but they’re tame compared to the majority of those in the movie.
In fact, after having seen it, that online petition to bring a PG-13 version to theaters would be nigh impossible, unless the film were to be 20 minutes long. Not for the violence necessarily, but the fact that nearly every joke in the movie (and there’s a lot of them) is crass and riddled with uncomfortably weird sexual tension. This is a movie that would easily offend the faint of heart, but in the world we live in today of endlessly vulgar, sexually promiscuous content on even network TV, Deadpool continuously tip-toes over and beyond that line in the sand after you’ve already become invested in the character. Oh yes, people. Sex jokes can be funny if you let your guard down, and if you’re watching, Wade Wilson as both a character and a fourth-wall-breaking crowd-pleaser takes your “guard” and punches at it nonsensically until you just give up and laugh along with him.
On the note of the fourth wall breaking habits of the character, the movie accomplishes so in the way that most would expect him to in a movie: like Kevin Spacey as Frank Underwood in House of Cards turning and monologuing into the camera. However, what I always knew would be required to make this work in a film adaptation is for the jokes to be good when Deadpool does this cheap tactic. For the movie’s sake, these joke’s land as well as those which are sexually cringing and the groan worthy references to the 80’s. Mostly groan worthy because he could have picked ANY band to be in love with other than Wham!, but that’s just my taste.
Does this movie have faults? Of course it does, but they matter very little for its overall goal. For instance, the flashback sequences depicting his origin story feel familiar and drag a bit compared to the breakneck pace of the action sequences it’s sandwiched in between. Yet, the jokes within those sequences are top notch, and it turns out to be one of the most accurate adaptations of a comic character’s origin in any film to date. One other problem for fans who see enough movies in general, is that Deadpool’s structure, plot, production design and aesthetic are pulled of the cloth of those familiar post-The Matrix movies: gritty, grunge-style action movies that wore out their welcome in the middle of the 2000’s. It’s hard to determine if those choices were deliberate decisions for added humor for those who can see it, or if it was used to cheapen the movie’s budget. Either way, you’re not paying much attention to that while watching in the theater.
This is a movie that is going to be most enjoyable for high schoolers. The ones that, like I did, got into more adult themed media because everyone told them to read Watchmen and watch Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs in their junior year. I first read Deadpool comics in that time of my life, and it just so happened to be around the time of X-Men Origins: Wolverine releasing, which Reynolds, the fans (and this movie, evidently) hated so much. Had Deadpool released a couple of years following that travesty, this may have “inceptioned” itself into my mind’s Top 10 Films of All Time list. But I’m 24. I’m a seasoned moviegoer now, see? And while this isn’t a perfect movie, it accomplishes what it sets out to do, and it’s undeniably a lot of goddamn fun. My mom loved it.
(Ryan, I don’t care what you say, that last sentence will be my pull quote. Sorry, I mean Ryan Gibbs, our social media supervisor. That being said: Mr. Reynolds or the Fox marketing team, if you are reading and you wanted to quote Evan Griffin of The Young Folks saying “Your Mom Will Love It” on those #1 in America TV Spots, I’d be honored!)
No, really though! My mom did like it, but she’s no stranger to films and the superhero genre. In fact, in the days before this movie, we had an extensive conversation about Hugh Jackman’s idea to recast Tom Hardy as Wolverine after his 15 year career with the character. True story.
On that note, I could easily see Reynolds, who is willing to play Deadpool for the rest of his life, being the overarching character of the X-Men franchise that Wolverine once was if recasting Jackman doesn’t work out. I’m going to use this as a warning to 20th Century Fox despite the upcoming release of X-Men Apocalypse: the X-Men movies need to feel smaller. Between Deadpool, The Wolverine and X-Men: First Class, it should be obvious that the best movies of the X-Men franchise are far and away from Bryan Singer’s bland, pedophilic directing style, and evidently are much smaller in narrative and production. Despite being an ensemble by nature, these characters all deserve more screen time, and I felt by the end of Deadpool that I knew Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead better than I ever got to know Scott Summers and Jean Grey in three movies. If the X-Men franchise is to succeed, take note of those three in the franchise I mentioned, because the plots of each are focused, have a controlled amount of explosion, and let the audience get to know characters other than Wolverine.
TL;DR – The movie’s good.
TL;DR;DGAF – Rating: 8/10