Deadpool might be the most accurately translated comic-to-film adaptation yet. But how good a movie is it? ← The hook!
Deadpool, for those that don't know, is a comic book character that rose from the 'tude of the 90's. Deadpool (aka Wade Wilson) uses his quick and never-ending wit as a weapon (along with guns and swords and grenades) to annoy his foes and allies alike, with an emphasis on breaking the fourth wall. He has a healing factor comparable to Wolverine's, received from the same Weapon X program. He used to have a teleporter. He's a teenage boy's fever dream, aside from the cancer.
Before writers like Brian Michael Bendis wrote every Marvel comic with a wink and a nudge, Deadpool was a breath of fresh air in a genre that had gotten stuffy. Deadpool was that laugh waiting to come out at a funeral – inappropriate but necessary, and funnier because of it. Co-creator Fabian Nicieza found a balance between the low brow jokes and the psychopathic tendencies, and here we are.
Deadpool (when I italicize, I'm talking about the movie) is vulgar, but I wouldn't call it offensive. If you want a comic book movie to push your buttons, try The Kingsmen or Super or Kick-Ass. Deadpool is a cartoon, and feels tonally safe even though there's decapitations and nudity. Tom and Jerry with some butt stuff. The physical gags are a joy, and I hope they push them way further in the announced sequel. Possibly my favorite scene was the simple concept of Deadpool, played by Ryan Reynolds (Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place) trying to fight Colossus (Stefan Capicic, Greg LaSalle, and a CGI team) to the amusement of Brianna Hildebrand's Negasonic Teenage Warhead - simple but effective jokes with character.
Deadpool works best when DP has someone to bounce off of, much better than the inner monologues do. The movie needed a straight man, so they brought in Colossus. Negasonic, though mostly insignificant, brings out some fun interactions. T.J. Miller (Weasel) sells every line he’s given. The reoccurring cab driver (Karan Soni) scenes are all funny. And I was most excited to see Blind Al (her and DP being one of my favorite oddball relationships), and their stuff was really good. It says something about the movie that the only setup is Deadpool telling you he lives with a blind old woman and you accept it immediately.
Vanessa (Firefly's Morena Baccarin) is Wade's central motivation, and does an admirable job being both funny and someone worth fighting for. However, their relationship was more of the movie than it should have been. The origin in general dragged, in part due to generic baddies Ajax (Ed Skrein, whom I first thought might be the Extremis hench-Marshal from Iron Man 3) and Angel Dust (Gina Carano.) This is where accurate isn't always best, as Ajax was Ajax, but Ajax is boring. Angel Dust I wasn't familiar with, and she was only there to give Colossus a sparring partner. The Weapon X program did feel like the Hell it's usually described as but rarely seen, but a better use of time could have been giving present day Ajax and Angel Dust more personality and more motivation than “we work for that guy in the suit” and “I don't like you.”
Weapon X seems to have had some budget cuts since Wolverine came through. The movie as a whole felt a bit sparse, but the most glaring example is pointed out for a joke at least. It's still a mini miracle Deadpool exists, and I hope its success leads to the budget necessary to flesh out its world.
Biggest beef: the dialogue became too formulaic. That formula being: ugly thing + had sex with + ugly thing = insult or observation. The avocado line from the red band trailer is the best one, and there were plenty to compare it to. Swear words have less power than they used to, and even less when they're being shot at you like a machine gun. If comedy is surprise, you lose some affect when you can guess a naughty is coming, whether you know the word(s) or not. The advantage a comic book has is that you can breeze over clumps if it starts getting same-y.
At its worst (the most clumsy vulgar compounds teetering like a Jenga tower), Deadpool was just trying too hard. Vice versa, at its best, the jokes both verbal and physical felt effortless and honest. I realize I'm a harsh judge of comedy, and much of the movie succeeded. We all have our dream casting for things like this (Henry Rollins cough), but Ryan Reynolds actually brought Deadpool to life, and no one else could. I'll always talk about the small things, and it was very specifically his shrieks and huge expressions in and out of the mask that did it for me. Deadpool's physical presence was perfect, every flip feeling right. The action is steadily entertaining, and the intro and outro are both rad.
Ryan Reynolds and director Tim Miller (and I guess writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, psh) delivered on their promise to bring an R-Rated comic book to life with no compromises to language or violence (outside of India.) Gripes aside, if you were looking forward to this movie, I expect you'll be pleased, and I've been thinking about the sequel since I left. Deadpool isn't perfect, and he'll be the first to tell you.
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, T.J. Miller, Gina Carano
Written by: Paul Wernick, Rhett Reese
Directed by: Tim Miller
Running time: 108 minutes
Come harvest, Juese Cutler picks the ripest words from his garden to prepare fresh articles to feed the masses, fattening them before presenting his offering to YxYk from below in exchange for Juese's continued existence. He lives in Austin, had a video company, has an audio company, does improv, has acted with nothing but his mouth, and sacrifices the innocent to an Ever-beast on the cusp of the fall equinox. He likes black olives, Chrono Trigger, Terry Gilliam, not dying, and breaking the rule of three. And not watching the movies Taras does.