Deadpool (2016) Review:
This movie shouldn’t exist. It just shouldn’t. It’s based off a character whose cinematic debut was in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, one of the worst reviewed comic book movies of all time. Typically not a good resume, but when you couple that with the fact that the director’s previous directing is a pair of short films and some visual effects work, this film does not have the parts that make up a typical success.
Then there’s of course the lead, Ryan Reynolds, who hasn’t really owned a character since Wilder, and who seems to be superhero movie poison, as his last few attempts at the genre have resulted in rounding out that list of worst reviewed comic book movies. Still though, it’s not uncommon for studios to take a chance on a name character, especially if there’s an audience for it, but it’s not a surprise that this movie got made, it’s a surprise that it’s really this good.
So what is ‘Deadpool’? Well, actually, the movie is more about who Deadpool is as a character. Whereas most superhero films feature stories about characters who wear bright costumes as symbol of truth, justice and the American way, Deadpool is simply put, a different type of superhero. I hesitate to tell you more about the character, or about the plot of the movie itself, because I truly believe that it’s something that’s best experienced blindly. All you need to know is that this is a superhero movie, but not one like something you’ve seen before.
That said, a lot of the stuff in ‘Deadpool’ feels like the stuff you’d see in a superhero movie. It’s very much an origin story with familiar beats. Deadpool has his motivation for becoming a superhero, a love interest, a best friend, and a sneering British villain. Based on the elements alone, the film sounds like it’s run of the mill but that’s actually to the movie’s advantage.
The humour in ‘Deadpool’ is very subversive at times, bordering on meta. It’s making a commentary on superhero movies while still very much being one. For me, I usually despise movies like this, because they end up committing the same sins they condemn. ‘Deadpool’ actually is one of the few films that I thought struck a great balance between making fun of movies, while still being a movie.
Part of that is due to how balanced ‘Deadpool’ feels. The tone of the movie is very much light. It’s a film that has so many jokes in a single scene that it’s easy to lose count by the halfway point. However, what most people should probably know is that Deadpool is a movie that is also very dark. There are scenes of torture, and while they’re brief, they are quite intense and definitely gave the movie a sense of tragedy. It was shocking at first, but all it did was make me more invested in the story.
The cast of the movie is very good. Deadpool feels like the character Ryan Reynolds was born to play. TJ Miller plays Weasel, the best friend and manager of the bar of mercenaries that Deadpool frequents. He and Reynolds’ banter in the movie feels like improv at it’s best, making their relationship feel believable. Morena Baccarin plays Vanessa, the love interest of Deadpool, who grounds him and gives the character, who seems to care about nothing, some sense of dimension. There’s also Ed Skrein whose villainous Ajax creates a foil for Deadpool to conquer. Every character in it is there for a reason to flesh out Deadpool, which as I’ve said, is what the movie is all about.
I should mention that, Deadpool being a part of the X-Men universe, there was of course a few ties to those other films. The most egregious being Colossus, a character last seen in the second X-Men film. It actually works to the movies advantage. Just as every other character exists to push forward everything you need to know about Deadpool, Colossus is there to provide a direct representation of the superhero archetype that Deadpool is a detraction from. Deadpool is a mutant just like everyone else in the X-Men universe, and it does feel like a part of that same world, which is mostly thanks to how well Colossus works in the film.
The script in this movie is just impressive. The rate at which jokes are dispensed, and how often they hit is not something you get very often. There are times when the movie will be very well thought out, with both referential humour and just genuinely clever stuff. Then it’ll devolve into body gags and really cheesy stuff. What I’m saying is, Deadpool doesn’t try to be more than what it is, which is an unpredictable, chaotic and irreverent stream of both cleverness coupled with utter stupidity.
That same zaniness is found in the action scenes, which, while the CG is not as polished as say the photo realism of Iron Man or Transformers, the action scenes are effective in that even though you can tell what you’re seeing is fake, it has an element of outrageousness that still made me yell “OH S**T” when necessary.
Of all the movies to see this year, Deadpool was on my most anticipated list but it was nowhere near close to the top simply because, I underestimated it. How wrong I was. It’s a film that will give the other blockbusters a run for their money and has a Guardians of the Galaxy air to it, being the weird little underrated movie that could. It’s thoughtful, smart, humble. It’s a love story, it’s a horror story, it’s a revenge flick. It’s an ode to 90’s hip hop even. It’s so much more than it deserves to be. I really loved this movie and I’m already planning my next excursion to the theatre to go see it. I hope to see you there.
Rating: Big Screen Watch