After X-Men Origins: Wolverine the biggest question wasn’t “Why did 20th Century Fox agree to produce this monstrosity?” Well, actually, it was, but the second biggest question was, “What the Hell did they do to Deadpool?” For those who don’t remember or never saw the film, the beloved comic book figure did appear in the movie, only to have his mouth grafted shut and turned into a mindless murder machine. Fans were not happy. Among those unhappy thousands was Ryan Reynolds himself, the actor who played him and who happens to love Deadpool. So he put his money where his mouth is and helped to produce a more faithful solo film of the red-suited assassin. Does it manage to fix all the wrongs? Not exactly.
Let’s take a look at the merc with a mouth’s second cinematic venture in Deadpool.
The tale follows Wade Wilson, a former special ops soldier who works as a hired thug, as he falls in love with lady of the night Vanessa. However, when he discovers that he has several tumors that will kill him within months, he leaves to find a cure. He instead stumbles into an operation where people are turned into mutants and then sent off as soldiers for the highest bidder. Wilson, after gaining super powers that also destroy his skin, manages to blow-up the facility, escape, and work as the super-being Deadpool, on a mission to find Francis “Ajax” Freeman and reverse the epidermis-changing condition. When Francis gets his hands on Vanessa, however, it’s up to him, Colossus, and Megasonic Teenage Warhead to take him down.
If we’re looking at the big picture, this film does what it’s meant to do: provide an entertaining and true to character origin story for Deadpool full of laughs and gore. It’s got great comedic timing, strong acting all around, and well choreographed action scenes, Michael Bay explosions and all. However, as a whole and final product, it only ends up being pretty good rather than great. The transitions between the romance and action portions never fully settles on the right tone, the finale is trope heavy, and the pacing is thrown off due to the many, lengthy flashbacks. It also doesn’t have enough Deadpool in it, sad to say. For all the plot and backstory, there’s just not enough swordplay and witty combat banter.
For all its tonal shifts and flaws, this movie has Deadpool and the comedy of the character down to a science. While a lot of the good jokes were featured in the trailers, there were still plenty of moments that caught me (and most of the audience I saw this with) off guard in the best way. Every joke is crafted to be as ridiculous as possible, and the fourth wall breaking is kept to a minimum. The character who stood out the most in this bizarre circus is Blind Al, an elderly blind cocaine addict who lives with Deadpool and puts IKEA furniture together all day. However, in in terms of surprises, Morena Baccarin’s Vanessa is a revelation as she is both endearing and an absolute riot when it comes to matching Wilson blow for comedic blow.
I was surprised to find that the love story doesn’t get subjugated to the B-plot but very much stays front and center the entire time. In fact, I think it’s part of the reason why I think the final act of the film doesn’t work — the genuine love story, the action film, and the absurdist comedy don’t quite mesh. It all feels so generic But as it stands, it’s a very sweet and still funny part of the film that keep Deadpool from turning into merely this clown who bops around without consequence or motivation. Still, that tone problem I mentioned earlier persists, which does detract from the overall quality.
In terms of the cinematography, this movie looks better than its fourth wall breaking, raunchy slap stick content demands it should be. The action is well directed and fun and the special effects are well utilized mostly for small gags and Colossus. In general, the director’s style feels comic-book-like enough that it feels true to the medium but the movement and crispness of the image makes it feel like a bigger blockbuster than it was designed to be. Not to mention that it has a killer soundtrack, one to rival Guardians of the Galaxy in its epic nostalgic scope.
All in all Deadpool reminds us all that comic book heroes can, in fact, be both fun and serious, and how that fun can be rated R and still be more than just innuendos and entrails. As it stands, the film is a fine start to the Deadpool franchise and a note-worthy comedic superhero film in an era where action and drama still dominate the landscape.
– Great acting.
– Hilarious jokes.
– Excellent cinematography.
– Weird tonal shifts.
– Bizarre pacing.
– Forgettable villain.