So I watched Deadpool…
As i write this review it comes with news about Deadpool’s runaway success. It’s broken the record for highest grossing opening weekend for an R-Rated film and it’s made almost half a billion dollars already (it’ll probably be more by the time you read this). I was really rooting for this movie to do well; not because I’m a fan of the character but rather because I’m a fan of what the character represents – diversity. Superhero movies are at the top of the totem pole at the moment but they won’t keep that place forever. Movies like Deadpool, movies that offer us something different from the traditional mold are what is going to ensure their longevity.
Okay, basic plot: Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) is a former special forces operative turned mercenary. He spends his days carrying out missions for his clients and his nights drinking at a local dive bar. One night at this bar he meets a prostitute – Vanessa Carlysle (Morena Baccarin) – and the two begin a relationship and eventually fall in love. Their lives are perfect until Wade is diagnosed with cancer. As he grapples with the shock of his diagnosis, a man from a mysterious organisation approaches him, promising that if Wade participates in a secret experiment, the organisation will be able to cure his cancer. Wade accepts but what he doesn’t know is that the experiment involves extreme torture from the head of the facility – Ajax (Ed Skrein). The torture activates a mutant gene which allows Wade to heal from any injury and cures his cancer but leaves him horribly scarred. He escapes the facility and vows to find Ajax and have him return his appearance to normal. To do this he adopts the identity of Deadpool, a smart-talking, head-chopping, croc-wearing badass in a red suit.
There’s about two or three instances where a superhero is brought to life from the comics with absolute perfection: Christian Bale (with the vision of Christopher Nolan) as Batman; Robert Downey Jr as Iron Man; Hugh Jackman as Wolverine and, now, Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool. This is a role that Reynolds was born to play. Making this movie was a labour of love for Reynolds – it took eleven years to make a reality and was faced with opposition at almost every turn. He really toiled to make this dream come true and you can sense the passion and understanding that he has for the character. This passion, this love spills across his performance and floods you with not only respect but also a real appreciation for the character.Now obviously Reynolds wasn’t working alone so a huge round of applause needs to be given to the screenwriters and director and anyone else who was a part of Team Deadpool when no studio had the fortitude or courage to greenlight the film.
This film is going to be a game-changer. Already there’s reports of more superhero movies such as Wolverine and Batman receiving R-Rated status. I think that’s great and it’s all due to this movie’s unique and eccentric style. From the opening credits, it’s quite clear that this isn’t your dad’s superhero movie. From the very first minute you’re hit with a neverending wave of jokes, quips and profanity; all delivered expertly through Deadpool’s self-aware, no-holds-barred style. They absolutely nailed the character’s personality and his sense of humour. This film is a barrel of laughs especially if you’ve seen X Men Origins: Wolverine and The Green Lantern. Deadpool takes shots at Ryan Reynolds, Hugh Jackman and Fox for sowing his mouth shut in the last film. He doesn’t just break the fourth wall, he annihilates it. You feel like you’re being told a funny story by your wildly inappropriate friend as much as you are watching a movie.
This film’s marketing was a masterclass on how to promote a film. It wasn’t just trailers, it was TV spots and Deadpool randomly showing up in places and talking about the film or how to check your testicles for cancer. It was wonderfully elaborate! Unfortunately it was also a giant spoiler. A spoiler, not in terms of story but rather action sequences. There are only about two real fight scenes in this movie and both of them were extensively shown in this movie’s trailers and TV spots. So, while the action was phenomenal at times, it’s things you’ve seen before. I was left craving something new. The action is also rather timid. I was expecting a gore-fest, a Tarantino-esque testament to the glory of blood and extreme violence. It feels like the movie was reigned in and censored itself at parts. It didn’t go the extra mile and was missing a shock factor in its action sequences
Another problem was that in between these action sequences, the film was a bit boring and slowly-paced. This film’s story is paper-thin and was completely lacking in terms of character development. This film has been in pre-production for over a decade and I wonder when exactly its script was written because it feels like a movie from five/six years ago. It feels old and outdated at times. Not in terms of the references it makes but rather its style. The script is also filled with a ton of jokes – which I loved but they came at the expense of story. This film never shuts off with its jokes, characters never just speak casually or refrain from making some dirty comment. It worked well but too much of a good thing is bad. We needed a reprieve so that the film could lay its characters out and establish certain elements without the constant jokes.
The supporting cast in this film also deserve praise as they are just as entertaining as Reynolds, sometimes even more so. Morena Baccarin really impressed me as Vanessa and she proved on several occasions that her wit and comedic timing is as sharp as Deapool’s. T.J. Miller and Ed Skrein also put in tidy shifts in their supporting roles. Lastly, Brianna Hildebrand was the epitome of cool as the awesomely named, Negasonic Teenage Warhead. Seriously, is there any name better than Negasonic Teenage Warhead? Side note: do you think it would be psychologically scarring to name my first born that?
Overall, Deadpool isn’t a perfect movie but it is a fun one. The blood and sweat Ryan Reynolds put into this is clearly evident and it just helps strengthen his portrayal. This movie does misstep at times but you can forgive it because of the movement it’s trying to bring forth. I’m glad this movie is a success because we need more diversity in the world and we need superheroes who aren’t afraid to chop people’s heads off and then use that head as soccer ball. Go watch this! 8/10