Movie Review: Deadpool

Deadpool is the antidote you need from all the serious – and often Oscar baiting – films of the Awards season and cookie cutter superhero movies, but this fan serving adaptation is also a generic origins story padded with self-referential jokes, turning into the very product it mocks.

Based upon the Marvel Comics anti-hero, Deadpool is the origin story of former Special Forces operative turned mercenary Wade Wilson, who after being subjected to a rogue experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers, adopts the alter ego Deadpool. Armed with new abilities and a dark and twisted sense of humor, Deadpool hunts down the man who nearly destroyed his life. [20th Century Fox]

After spending over a decade in development limbo, Deadpool finally gets an adaptation just in time to cleanse your palate from all the Marvel formulated superhero movies and boost the flailing acting career of Ryan Reynolds.

The actor has a number of box office and critically panned flops (see, Green Lantern, Self/Less, RIPD) but lucky for him, Hollywood has always been lenient towards good-looking white males. Enough to still land a job and get his passion project turned into a franchise.

In fairness, Ryan Reynolds was born to play this character. While his role as Wade Wilson has the actor resorting to the smug smart-ass shtick after already transforming himself into a well-rounded actor (see: The Voices, Mississippi Grind), he’s exactly what Deadpool needs. Ryan Reynolds’ comedic style and timing is a perfect match for the “merc with a mouth”. The comic book character himself said that he’s a cross between Ryan Reynolds and a Shar-Pei in a volume way before X-men Origins.

The movie got limited funding but the visual effects were decent enough even though its action scenes are a reduction of what big budgeted Marvel movies offer. In the bright side, this enabled Deadpool to get the R rating he needed. Fans would be happy to know that they’re in for a self-aware and sassy movie with sex and sadistic violence that reflects its titular character.

Right off the bat, the opening credits already give you a sneak peak of what the Deadpool adaption is all about – a cheeky introduction and a mockery of the Marvel machine. The cast includes a moody teen, a hot chick and a CGI character, while the movie is directed by an overpaid tool, produced by asshats, and written by the real heroes here. The meta jokes are piled on for the rest of the film – in one scene Wade requests for a suit that isn’t a green or animated; in another, he points out the nearly empty Xavier mansion because they can’t afford more extras.

While all of this makes for one funny movie, Deadpool falls into its own trap.

The adaptation is intent on upending stereotypes and poking fun at profit-driven franchises, but turns into the exact same thing that it mocks. After an interesting start that expands on the leaked test footage, Deadpool becomes a by-the-numbers origins story with stock characters and an aim to please nostalgic soundtrack. Moreover, it struggles to operate outside of the other Marvel manufactured machine: the X-men franchise.

It’s fitting that Deadpool himself wants none of the X-men bullshit from Colossus. While the movie stayed close to the comic book character, it’s a shame that the adaptation can’t stay true to itself. At some point, you’d have to break the mold rather than keep pointing at it. Sure there are plenty of jokes to enjoy here, but once the novelty wears off and the hype subsides, it becomes obvious that Deadpool’s entertainment value rests squarely on Reynolds’ ability to land every joke.

Fortunately for the people who are excited and/or have been waiting for this adaptation, Ryan Reynolds is Deadpool just like Robert Downey Jr. is Tony Stark. Well, he’s not exactly a mercenary but the actor is so perfect for the role that the movie’s hilarious promotional clips look like they’re from an alternative universe with the roles reversed – Deadpool is making a movie of himself and Ryan Reynolds is his Hollywood alter ego.

Deadpool is perfect for those who are looking for nothing more than a popcorn movie. It’s not a deeper origins story and the script can’t help make him upstanding in some way (in fear of already losing more viewers from the already limited target audience because of its R rating perhaps?) but the movie delivers as advertised, including the rom com poster ad (though more fucked up).

The movie finishes with a neatly wrapped-up ending and though the story is not as memorable as its punchlines, Ryan Reynolds makes it worthwhile. Considering that production studios will do everything it can to replicate its box office busting formula, Deadpool could have turned out worse – a crowd pleasing PG-13 flick. The people who stayed with the project and did what they can to deliver a decent adaptation and save fans and converts from this abomination deserve praise. It’s interesting to see what the sequel can offer because you can’t make the same joke twice. Unless of course, that joke is much better now that we have the introductions out of the way. 

My Rating: 7/10

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Generally superheroes film stories don’t impress much. With a couple exception, it’s usually telegraphed what’s going to happen. This film sounds a bit of a step up from Marvel usual films, though I didn’t like Guardians of the Galaxy (found it average) which had a huge focus on comedy. Might check Deadpool out at some point, but would like to see more experimentation for these kind of films in the future beyond just being blockbuster films.

    1. Agree with you on Guardians of the Galaxy. I would also love to have someone brave enough to experiment with superhero movies, but I highly doubt that would ever happen because they’re seen as cash grabs. Hopefully Deadpool changes the game and production studios see that they’re formula is fast becoming stale especially with the bulk of movies we’re gonna get. Not holding my breath for it though.

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