Posted on Monday, February 8th, 2016 by Angie Han
It took seven years, thousands of noisy fans, an unusually persistent leading man, and some fortunately leaked footage to get Deadpool from his inauspicious big-screen debut in X-Men Origins: Wolverine to his own solo feature. Based on the marketing, it’s already pretty clear that this latest iteration of the Merc with a Mouth is much more faithful to the spirit of the comics than the last one was. But does that make him worth all the time, money, blood, sweat, and tears that have been poured into this film?
The first Deadpool reviews hit the web over the weekend, and you long-suffering fans can breathe a sigh of relief. While his gleefully profane, unapologetically juvenile sense of humor hasn’t proved to be everyone’s cup of tea, by and large the critics are digging this R-rated take on the superhero genre. We’ll have much, much more to say about the film in the comic days and weeks, but in the meantime, see a Deadpool review roundup after the jump.
I can’t help but think Deadpool would have worked better as completely its own thing. It’s only about 20 minutes into the movie when two members of the X-Men show up for reasons that aren’t really that great. But see, it’s a crossover movie! And maybe that’s why, no matter how much the movie likes to tell us that it’s making a superhero spoof, it’s really just another superhero movie, one that still has to fit in with what Fox is doing with the rest of its Marvel properties. I’m sure this is a concession that had to happen to get this movie made, which on the surface makes sense… but this movie feels very close to being something different. But it isn’t. And that’s just enough to make a person want to cuss.
Most comic book movies are meant to appeal to 12-year-olds. Deadpool is the first one feel like it was actually written by one. Gleefully puerile and deeply immature, it has tons of what the MPAA calls “adult content,” but no actual content for adults. It’s a non-stop parade of dick jokes (and ball jokes), bloody violence, and breaking the fourth wall. In other words, it will be the favorite movie of 2016 of every underage boy who sneaks into it next weekend. Others need not apply.
When you’re throwing that many jokes out there, some are bound to land – it’s just the law of averages. Ryan Reynold’s snarky/smarmy delivery undercuts a couple of his best lines, but co-star TJ Miller is pretty much batting a thousand. Between the two of them there are enough laughs to make the comedic aspect of this movie successful, and I suspect that the stuff I found funny will be very different from what other people found funny. It’s scattershot, so there’s always someone in the theater laughing at something. I admire that, even if it took me a few minutes to adjust to the pace of attempted witticisms.
But Deadpool occasionally surprises for how it couches its hip one-liners in something resembling actual character drama. Take the anguished way in which Wade utters a jab at the Taken franchise while lying in bed next to the love of his life, Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), who he’s about to abandon in pursuit of a possible cure for his terminal cancer—a torture-like genetic-mutation treatment that eventually leads him to become the titular anti-superhero. Reynolds’s delivery of the line is so poignantly earnest that the joke itself immediately dissolves and a melancholic undertone lingers. Deadpool as a whole operates like that: For every moment that the film threatens to exasperate with its meta-movie irreverence, another catches one off guard with its emotional forthrightness.
What it has in spades is attitude, and right up until the moment the film began, I was afraid It was going to be so juvenile and filthy that I would end up annoyed by it. Instead, from the very beginning of the opening credits, it is clear that director Tim Miller and screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick have crafted something deeply silly that isn’t remotely interested in playing by the conventional rules of what we’ve come to think of as “the superhero genre.”
Sounds like fairly standard stuff, right? Well, it is – to a point. While the overall plot doesn’t necessarily do anything new or ground-breaking for the film, it’s the presentation that garners Deadpool its style points. Remember that “R” rating that was spoke of earlier? Deadpool earns it in spades, being purposefully one of the most non-superhero superhero films that’s ever been made. The sheer amount of dirty jokes, gratuitous references to sex and – ahem – self-love, copious use of foul language, and the sheer absurdity of the title character talking directly to you, the audience, during the movie makes for an experience never seen before on film.
Deadpool is a smart-ass take-down of superhero films while still being its own superhero film, and while the action is solid the film is unapologetic in its deference to laughs. Everything and everyone is fair game, and no target is too lowbrow. He may not be your father’s superhero, but he’s also not your son’s or daughter’s. He’s yours. And he’s ready to be loved. (Although he’ll probably settle for a reach-around.)
On paper, this project is almost entirely made up of red flags of why this particular superhero flick shouldn’t work, from tonal mash-up to its adults-only content and its failure-to-launch lead. Yet Miller and Reynolds bring it all together, not only making something hilarious, thrilling, romantic and fun but also making “Deadpool” one of the most satisfying superhero movies the world has ever seen.
Deadpool is in theaters February 12, and actually makes for a better Valentine’s date night option that you might expect. Provided you and your beloved share a slightly twisted sense of humor, that is.Cool Posts From Around the Web: