Four or Five Moments (Deadpool, 2016)
Tim Miller’s Deadpool is hilarious and fun. A darkly comic take that brings the pages to life by simply understanding the character. The movie is also extremely crass, full of over the top cartoonish violence, raunchy humor, some nudity and plenty of profanity. This is not for everyone, and if you find those things hard to get past, I would recommend skipping this one. It is also not for your kids. This film earns it’s ‘R’ rating.
Honestly, it is a bit amazing this film got made. While attempt to parody and mock super-hero film have been attempted, they are really never successful. They never seem to understand the thing they are lampooning. Miller, Ryan Reynolds and the writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick have given us a surprisingly clever film. It is a bit amazing that they even got the opportunity to make it. After the disaster of X-Men Origins: Wolverine (The first attempt at playing the character by Reynolds), the idea of a Deadpool movie was shelved by the studio.
Then, somebody leaked test footage of a sequence that was created to pitch the shelved film. The response was so overwhelmingly positive the film got greenlit and Miller and Reynolds went to work.
And what they gave us is one of the most unique super-hero movies we have seen, while still fitting into that world. Reynolds bring snarky charm to Deadpool, also known as Wade Wilson. Wilson has been experimented on and his latent mutant genes activated. He takes damage, but due to a healing factor, all his wounds fix themselves. So, like a real life Wile E. Coyote, he gets abused relentlessly, but keeps coming back. A lot of the film’s humor comes from this.
There is a running gag that Colossus is always trying to get Deadpool to change his ways and join the X-Men. And along with the sullen Teenage Negasonic Warhead, he spends the film trying to get Deadpool on that path. And these two characters are great additions. They fit into the world well.
The real success is pulling off the character of Deadpool. Constantly cracking wise, he spends the film talking to the audience. In one scene Colossus is startled by a comment from Deadpool, not understand why he made his comment. Deadpool explains that he is not talking to Colossus…he is talking to “Them”. Them is the audience. Wilson is constantly breaking the fourth wall. Instead of narrating the film, he just turns and talks to the audience. He is fully aware he is in a movie universe.
One of the other fun aspects is that Reynolds is merciless to himself. There are numerous slams of his previous film outings and even a slam on himself as a talent. And the film’s opening credits (which kept me laughing even after I got the gag, it just stayed funny) effectively let you know the film’s sarcastic attitude. This is not your regular X-Men movie.
Of course, the movie is definitely set in the Fox Marvel X-Men Universe. This has caused some consternation among some geek sites, as they cannot reconcile the difference between Daniel Cudmore’s Colossus in the previous X-Men films and the version we see in this film, who appears older and is voiced by Stefan Kapicic with a thick Russian accent. This is pretty easy to reconcile, as the Days of Future past altered the timeline. It is entirely possible Colossus came from Russia when he was older.
I found myself liking all the characters in Wilson’s circle. There was an oddball charm in his relationship with Vanessa (Morena Baccarin). His roomate Blind Al (Leslie Uggams) is a riot. T.J. Miller’s bartender (he runs a bar for mercenaries) Weasel is a fun character (his best line comes right before Deadpool goes to take out his villain, Francis (Ed Skrein). Francis really hates Deadpool because he is so mouthy…and Deadpool refuses to call him by his chosen villain codename… Ajax.
Anyways, while I have repeatedly expressed concern that the film will not be successful for precisely the reasons I enjoyed it, I am more than pleased if it succeeds, as it could open the doors to more creative takes in superhero films. There are a lot of them on the slate, and it would be great if they all sought to set themselves apart from the crowd.