Deadpool Review

Posted: July 18, 2016 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in PG Cooper's Movie Reviews

deadpool poster

Written by Daniel “PG Cooper” Simpson

In February, I watched from a far as Deadpool became not just a successful move, but something of a phenomenon. Despite being based on a cult comic book character and spotting a hard R rating, Deadpool still managed to be a huge hit with audiences and would go on to gross well over $700 million at the global box-office. The excellent marketing campaign, both traditional and viral, certainly had a lot to do with the film’s success, but I think more than anything the time was simply right for a movie like this. The “superhero movie fatigue” has been discussed a lot but in the last few years it’s really hit a new level. Audiences are more likely to accept a more obscure comic character and, more importantly, are familiar enough with the tropes and clichés that they’re ready to see the genre torn down.

Deadpool starts very similarly to the leaked test footage that led to the film; with the titular super powered vigilante (Ryan Reynolds) making quick work of some goons on a freeway in violent fashion, all while spewing a plethora of witty one-liners and pop-culture references. Eventually, Deadpool addresses the audiences and starts to explain how he got to this point. Before he was Deadpool, he was merely Wade Wilson, a low level mercenary and former Special Forces member. After he is diagnosed with cancer, Wade agrees to an experimental mutation treatment which might save him in order to spend more time with his girlfriend, Vanessa (Morena Baccarin). The experiments are run by a dangerous mutant known as Ajax (Ed Skrein), who, after considerable torture, is able to unlock a healing factor which cures Wade’s cancer, but not without turning his flesh hideous and disgusting. Feeling he is now a monster, Wade breaks from Vanessa and swears vengeance on Ajax, taking the name Deadpool.

Easily the smartest decision made during the production of Deadpool was to depict the character and the tone of his world as accurately as possible. The comic character is known for heavy comedy, vulgarity, hyper-violence, pop-culture references, and fourth wall breaking. This adaptation fully commits to these aspects with no restraint and that’s for the best. Anything less than all the way would have felt half-assed and the style goes a long way to elevate what s a pretty clichéd and uninteresting storyline. In fact I do wish the screenwriters had applied the subversive style to a more subversive story, but as it stands the film still has enough edge to help it stand out.

So the film’s commitment to crass comedy is the right choice, the question becomes is the film actually funny? For me, the answer is a little difficult but in short: kind of. There are definitely some jokes which work very well and a scattering of great lines, but the film is so constantly bombarding one with jokes that the goods are somewhat lost in the shuffle. I was rather reminded of Seth Macfarlane’s work, which is often so front-loaded with jokes that the hit-to-miss ratio ends up being skewed towards the misses. For me, the jokes which worked best in Deadpool were the ones about superhero movie conventions (both on-screen and off) and some of the visual gags. What I was less fond of were some of the more general pop-culture references which were sometimes constant and tended to land with a thud. Overall, I’d say the film’s humour is more charming than not, but I do think the writing could have been stronger and more consistent.

Most credit for Deadpool has rightfully been sent to Ryan Reynolds who, love him or hate him, is perfect for this part and dives in fully. However the man behind the camera is first time director Tim Miller, who does an admirable enough job. The film’s visual style is not very interesting and the film does feel very small, but Miller does bring a certain energy to Deadpool which helps make it watchable even when the jokes aren’t landing. I can’t say I love Deadpool like many seem to, but I had enough fun with it and I am happy to see something which took some risks do so well.


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