February 16, 2016

Movie Review: Deadpool (2016)

So, Deadpool came, saw, and conquered the box office. Seriously, who thought it would open as big as it did? If you say you knew, I bet you are lying. No one could have seen this coming. A cultish comic book character with mature leanings in a hard R-rated movie in the middle of February, there is no way it is going to connect with a widespread audience. Now, I am not trying to talk down about the movie or its audience, it is just an unlikely choice for a huge opening. Perhaps as unlikely as a NWA biopic. Oh, wait. That turned out pretty well, perhaps movies like this are a sign of an impending shift. I would not be against this.

As for Deadpool, I have to admit that I am not falling all over myself in love with it as a lot of people seem to be, but I would be lying if I did not enjoy it. I have always enjoyed Ryan Reynolds as an actor and this seems to be the movie to bump up his cinematic stock, not to mention a solid casting choice. It is always good to have people involved in a project they are passionate about.

This adaptation is the new Hollywood darling, showing you can take a creative and fresh take, toss blood, bad language, and violence on the screen and connect with an audience. Hopefully the lessons learned by this success are the right ones. Also, remember this is hardly the first R-rated comic book adaptation. Still, if this is the one that helps turn that corner and allow more creative and adult oriented takes on some of these heroes, so be it.

I am not the most knowledgeable fellow when it comes to Deadpool. Frankly, I like comics and superheroes, but it has been a long time since I have been a collector and while certainly knew of Deadpool, he is not a character I read much of. I also went in worried that the fourth wall breaking and goofy antics would overshadow the movie (I was/am getting tired of all the Deadpool costumes at cons and their antics, but that’s me). I was happy to find it not to be as annoying as I was expecting. Still, while I enjoyed the over the top violence and some of the jokes and references, the movie was far from perfect.

The plot covers the origins of the character, the mercenary stricken with cancer forced to abandon his loving girlfriend in an attempt to find a cure, only to find the guy curing him isn’t such an altruistic fellow. This sets up a battle between the doctor and his monster, with the monster’s love hanging in the balance.

Here is part of the problem, for as anti-hero and non-traditional as it purports to be, it pretty much is what it attempts to parody. Take away all of the surface goofiness and you are pretty much left with a regular, run of the mill tale. Nothing particularly special. What makes this as entertaining as it is is the surface, non-plot stuff. Even there I am not the most taken with it. A lot of it feels manufactured, stuck in there as a way of seeming different, wedged in as a creation rather than an organic component.

When it comes right down to it, Deadpool is a fun movie with some good casting on the good guy side (the main villain is really rather bland). I like the amped up violence and the creative execution of the action. It doesn’t truly transcend the genre or keep me fully invested to love it without abandon, but it i easy enough to enjoy. I suspect I will someday watch it again and genuinely have fun with it. For now, it is more of the flavor of the month that could have a little more staying power than the usual comic book as commodity tale that we get. Yes, it helps combat Marvel burnout I have been suffering through.


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