Deadpool? Sounds like A Good Franchise
“Deadpool” may have been one of my most anticipated films but that doesn’t mean I didn’t have my concerns. Deadpool is a character that means so much to a large group of comic book fans and we’ve seen the character mistreated in the past (yes “X-Men Origins” will not be forgotten). It’s such a hard character to get “right”. Even with the great marketing campaign I still in the back in my mind was expecting just a solid fun time. The movie we got though wasn’t that. “Deadpool” is instead not only one of THE best comic book movies of all, it is also one of the funniest movies I have seen in a long time. I came out with my cheeks hurting from smiling so much and laughing nearly nonstop. “Deadpool” is refreshingly simple but still fits with the modern comic book movie mold that we’ve come to expect.
Beneath all the meta humor present throughout the movie, “Deadpool” is a simple story of revenge and love. Wade Wilson was an ex-mercenary that starts a relationship with a women named Vanessa. Through the course of their relationship Wade is diagnosed with cancer. Thinking there might be a chance to cure his cancer, Wade joins a program that is suppose to give him “abilities”. It wasn’t though what he was expecting. After a long series of tortures, he is nearly killed, his face looks like Freddy Kruger (they actually make a reference to that in the movie), gains him super powers and sends him on a path of revenge to the man who wronged him.
I think what helps make this movie so well focused is it’s smaller budget. Unlike the super blockbusters like Marvel’s “Avengers” or DC’s “Man of Steel” or even Fox’s “X-Men”, this movie has to be much smaller in nature because it doesn’t have the budget to pull off global stakes. Wisely the screenwriters keep things small. It’s personal for the characters. This type of sharp focus isn’t widely seen in the comic book genre now. James Mangold’s “The Wolverine” had a similar focus (until it’s less than stellar third act). The revenge story actual has a lot of dramatic heft. Even though the majority of this movie is Deadpool cracking one liners, you feel his hate and anger towards Ed Skrein’s villain character, Ajax. This is derived from director Tim Millar’s ability to weave through the character’s complex comedic charm back with more serious dramatic moments. It reminds me in some extant to what Matthew Vaughn was able to do with the original “Kick Ass” or “Kingsman”. These smaller dramatic moments really do hit home particularly the torture scenes. Not all of the story’s elements are well padded out or example particularly Skrein’s criminal organization) but that’s only a minor quibble.
But, the dramatic moments don’t make up the majority of the movie. Nor is that what most people come for. Most are here for the movie’s comedic value. Which, is an absolute gold mind. It’s been a while since I’ve laughed as hard or as consistent as this movie. Perhaps the last time I did that was with “22 Jump Street”. There are so many jokes getting thrown at you that you’ll be laughing so hard at one of them you might miss the next two jokes. The comedy can be juvenile at times but you know what? That fits this movie and it’s character. There are a lot of in-jokes that make fun of “X-Men Origins” or “Green Lantern”. There is some smart humor, pop culture humor, sight gags, and just about every other variation of comedy that you can think of; this movie tries it in some form or another. And, most of the humor lands it’s mark. I think even casual fans will find something to laugh at here. And, maybe the meta elements might go over some viewer’s heads but that just makes this movie a gold mind to pick apart in terms of comedic layering. There will be something new every time you watch it.
Interlocked with the comedy is the incredible and well constructed action sequences that are played out through the movie’s 108 minute runtime. No shaky cam is visible. Instead just clear cut and well edited fight sequences that are thrilling despite Deadpool’s seemingly invincibility. Tim Millar is a first time director but easily upstages action directors that have been in the business for years; with this perfectly executed orgy of violence and mayhem that is cathartic and fun.
With this movie’s sharper focus on the central character, which is more reminiscent of earlier comic book films like “Superman: The Movie” or “Blade” , this movie doesn’t feel obligated to world build like “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” did. Yet “Deadpool” finds simple injections that hint towards a bigger world without feeling like it’s setting up for it sequel. With the inclusion of Colossus (whom for some odd reason is always in his metallic form) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (best character name ever by the way), this movie plays into the eventual “X-Men” angle but feels organic rather than forced. It has it’s ways of hinting towards a sequel but in typical “Deadpool” fashion, it’s played for laughs.
Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool is the role he was born to play. For a while he has starred in bad comic book movie after bad comic book movie. Finally though he gets to showcase his full talents as an actor. He was the one pushing for this movie to be made and his passion is seen so clearly on screen. I’m sure there are other actors who could make a good Deadpool but after this movie I can’t imagine anyone else stepping into the tight red spandex.
Around him is a great group of supporting actors like the aforementioned TJ Millar, Ed Skrein (who plays a great evil villain, I’m not sure why some people don’t like his character),and Morena Baccarin as Vanessa. Morena and Reynolds together is the best comic book romance we’ve seen in a while. Most romances in a super hero movie feels like a distraction but theirs drives the plot and movie’s energy forward. In that sense this is one of the best Valentine, romantic movies of all time. I loved these two together. However, I didn’t love a narrative plot device they chose with Vanessa towards the end; it was bit too conventional for my tastes.
I had a dream the night after I saw this, that the movie would be available on Blu-Ray in just a few weeks. I was rather sad to wake up and find out that this wasn’t the case. I might just have to see it again; it was just that much fun. There are minor quibble present through the movie (that some might say are nitpicks) but didn’t make a dent in my enjoyment of the movie. 2016 comic book movies just kicked off with a bang.