It’s Like A 15 Year-Old Doing An Impression of a Middle-Aged Guy Doing An Impression Of A 15 Year-Old
DIRECTOR: TIM MILLER/2016
Deadpool is a movie about a character who knows he is in a movie based on a comic where the character knew he was in the comic also. The character knows he can control the film to his liking in the ways he tells the narrative. Fast forward/rewinds/pauses/breaks the fourth wall/ references what is happening in the film. He’s in control. Characters make references to this film becoming a franchise. It acknowledges only two of the other X-Men characters are in the film because of budgetary restraints. Basically this movie is 120 minutes of winking at the audience, to the point where you wonder if it’s having a stroke of some sort.
The best way to describe Deadpool is that weird uncle at Christmas who makes “hip young” references that were actually hip about 15 years ago meets Funny Games meets that weird nerdy kid at school who is too self-aware and insults the last thing he just said after each sentence meets X-Men meets Ferris Bueller meets open mic night in some crappy club meets Kill Bill meets every stereotype you’ll find in a superhero movie meets the guy who points out how much they hate superhero stereotypes.
Ryan Reynolds plays Wade, a low life hustler who still fights for the innocent by doing things like threatening a pizza boy he ordered from to stay away from underage girls. He was hired to do that. But he also has a heart of gold, or something. He meets a girl named Vanessa (Morena Baccarin from Homeland) and they fall in love having possibly the worst conversation ever on screen. See, they want to compare who has the worst past, thus bonding a connection of both being broken people. Both were beaten as children, locked in closets and were molested by their uncles. Correction, Wade was only molested by one uncle while Vanessa was molested by multiple uncles. Roll on floor laughing! It’s only a joke, you see. And if you were ever molested by an older family member, well just suck it up and laugh. You can’t be offended, because Deadpool is edgggyyyyyyyy.
Anyway, Wade gets cancer. Terminal. Cue some sad scenes. And then he meets an agent who promises he can save his life and give him powers like others have dreamed of. Wade finally agrees and is taken to some underground medical place and after being tied down, he meets Ajax (Ed Skrein) who tells him he needs to torture him until he can tap into his mutant powers (duhhh). Wade continues to take the torture with a sense of humor while taunting Ajax, which seems stupid. And Ajax gets so fed up and annoyed with this guy, which is completely understandable, that he goes a little too far, scarring Wade for life, but in the process giving him great powers, which Wade then uses to become Deadpool and seeking revenge on Ajax.
Here’s the problems with the film. The jokes fly at you a million a minute with very few hitting.
They are either just lame (“you sound like an infomercial, but not a good one; more like a Shake Weight-y.”) They punch downwards (like the aforementioned molestation joke) or they are just simple references, mistaken as joke. (A character jumps from a building at one time and lands in a clichéd comic book movie way, which causes Deadpool to cheer and acknowledge this).
The film is also possibly the most confused movie I’ve ever seen. It has no idea what it wants to be. Does it consider itself a comedy? (please lord, I hope not). Does it consider itself an action adventure movie? If it does, it sure does interrupt those plotlines for halting jokes and references. And it’s worst crime is it tries to get away with making self references to clichés that it still pushes off on the audience. Just because you acknowledge that your film has some clichéd British villain in the opening credits doesn’t mean you can get away with doing that over the next 100 minutes.
Also, I’m so confused about how this movie fits into this world. In one scene, Colossus from X-Men (one of the two X-Men characters featured) says he’s going to take Deadpool to see Professor X, and Deadpool replies “Stewart or McAvoy?” Wait, so he’s seen the other movies?? Or that was just for us to hear? I’m sure the director would say to relax and stop thinking about it, which I would advise him to make a better movie so my mind doesn’t drift to such things while watching.
To be fair, it’s not all horrible. The action is well shot and actually has a subversion to it that the lame dialogue could never hold. It has an overall kinetic feel to it with bursts of extreme violence that seem to work.
There’s some clever scenes, including one where Deadpool spells out a word with dead bodies. That scene actually got me. But those are far too few and far between. This film is literally the movie “show don’t tell” was created for.
Maybe if you are a 14 year-old boy, you just learned how cool it is to cuss, think masturbation is something that’s taboo and can laugh at the acknowledgement of it, and you’ve never seen any of the other far better post-modern superhero movies (Chronicle, Mystery Men, Kickass), you may have a good time with Deadpool. Otherwise, you will probably find this movie to be confused, disjointed, created for the lowest common denominator (not in terms of raunchiness, but in terms of knowing what’s funny), with frustrating moments of being occasionally good, but overall, pretty annoying.