Bad Guy: I think I should wire your mouth shut.
Deadpool: Oh, you really don’t want to do that.
For several years, my daughter has had a poster on her wall of a masked, red-clad superhero. When people see it, they ask, “Who is that? Spider-Man?”
“No,” she always corrects, “It’s Deadpool.”
“Deadpool?” the response always comes, “Who’s that?”
Deadpool is one of those comic book characters that no one knows about except for die hard nerds and comic book fans. When my daughter found out he was going to get his own movie, she pretty much went into hysterics. We both saw it the day it came out in wide release last Friday.
This movie has an interesting history. I knew going in it was either going to be really good or really terrible.
It was really good.
If you didn’t already know, Ryan Reynolds portrayed Deadpool back in 2009 in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, widely considered to be the worst Wolverine movie and a film almost universally hated by nerd-fans like myself (though I didn’t think it was too bad). In that movie, Reynolds did a very good job at portraying the garrulous, wisecracking-but-evil supervillain/anti-hero, Deadpool. The problem is the writers of the film transformed the character of Deadpool into a silent killing machine with a wired-shut mouth and various superpowers that the real comic book character didn’t have.
Fans were pissed off. At the same time, fans lobbied Hollywood to make an accurate Deadpool movie, starring Ryan Reynolds, whom they admitted did a good job. He did, by the way. Deadpool was a part that Ryan Reynolds was born to play.
After a lot of development hell, the Deadpool movie, starring Reynolds, was finally made on a budget considered very tiny for a superhero movie ($58 million). This time around, the filmmakers, who are actually fans of the source material, made very sure to stick as close to the source material as possible. This is always a good sign, since that almost always makes for a better move, and a more popular one (as The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter films clearly demonstrate).
It worked. While not perfect, Deadpool might actually end up being on my top ten movie list for 2016 (and it’s only February!).
What I Liked
1. Ryan Reynolds and the character of Deadpool. Reynolds nails the part perfectly. The writers nailed the character of Deadpool perfectly. Whenever a movie can nail a character like this with both the actor and the writing, the results are incredible. Hugh Jackman did this with Wolverine, Robert Downey Jr. did this with Iron Man and Tobey McGuire did this with the Sam Rami version of Spider-Man. It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does it’s great to watch.
This movie also (more or less) cured one of the biggest problems with comic book movies I’ve always had as a nerd. Whenever you have a superhero whose face is completely covered by a mask, Hollywood directors hate that. So you see the superhero with his mask on, then within a minute or two something happens that forces the guy to take the mask off so you can see the famous actor’s face. All the Spider-Man movies (even the ones I liked) are good examples of this. It’s contrived and stupid.
Deadpool didn’t do this. When Deadpool was Deadpool (in his costume), he never took off his mask. You saw Ryan Reynolds’ face a lot of course, but only in scenes where it made sense to do so (like before he was Deadpool, or after he was Deadpool out in scenarios where he wasn’t in his costume because it wouldn’t make sense). They even made his eyes completely white when he was Deadpool to more match the comic book character. No superhero movie has ever done anything like this, and it was great. Very impressed.
2. The script. It was perfect. The script is the easiest thing to screw up in a movie, and they succeeded here. It’s also very funny, which in my opinion is one of the hardest things a movie can do. I laughed out loud several times; not something I do very often in movies, even in “funny” ones.
3. Fourth wall breaking and in-jokes. If you didn’t already know, one of Deadpool’s superpowers is that he knows he’s a comic book character. He breaks the fourth wall all the time and talks to the reader. In this movie, he talks to you, the viewer. Other characters actually hear him talk to you and he has to tell them, “I wasn’t talking to you, I was talking to them!” while pointing at the audience. Again, this is right out of the comic books.
The movie is full of self-deprecating in-jokes about Hollywood, superhero movies, Marvel, and even the movie itself. Deadpool makes jokes like:
1. Complaining that there were three Taken movies, clearly demonstrating that Liam Neeson’s character was just a bad parent.
2. Observing that whenever he goes to the X-Men’s house, it’s always the same two X-Men characters there and no one else, despite there being tons of X-Men. He complains that its probably because the studio didn’t have the budget for any more X-Men to show up in the movie (which was true).
3. Complaining that most actors in Hollywood only became famous not because they were good actors, but because they were good-looking. He even mentions Ryan Reynolds as being the perfect example of this.
4. The action scenes. The action scenes in this movie are fucking amazing. It’s also a hard-R rating, so they show all the gore that goes along with the action as they want. The action is filmed fast, but without any of that shaky-cam shit and without any of those super quick cuts. The fight choreography and gun battles are flawless and awesome beyond belief. I just wish the movie had more of them. Speaking of which…
What I Didn’t Like
1. Not enough action. The action was great, but there wasn’t enough of it. The first 20 minutes are spectacular, the last 20 minutes are spectacular. The rest of the movie was decently fun and watchable, but had surprisingly little action. Much like the first Blade movie, the amazing action at the very beginning of the movie makes you hungry for more, and then you start getting pissed because the movie doesn’t deliver.
If there is a sequel to this movie (and there will be, since this movie has already broken many box office records), they need to do everything the same except add more action.
2. The usual Hollywood-mandated love story. As usual, Hollywood jams a love story into a movie where it doesn’t belong in order to satisfy the female contingent of the audience. As I’ve said a thousand times, I would rather women had their women movies and we had our guy movies rather than all movies trying to appeal to both sexes. This makes sense from a business standpoint as well. It’s much easier to make a successful pure girl movie (Sex and the City, Twilight, etc) or a pure guy movie (Predator, Rambo, etc). Making a “both” movie that actually makes a lot of money is very hard. The Fast and the Furious movies have pulled that off, largely by accident, but not many others have.
I had the same complaint about Creed, by the way. Watching these otherwise great movies all of a sudden slow down because we just have to introduce a girlfriend character into the mix is really tiresome. Let women have their movies and let US have OURS, dammit! Keep this sappy girlfriend shit out of our movies!
Shit, if you’re going to do it, at least make the girlfriend look like what men like instead of what left-wing women casting directors in Hollywood like. Make the girlfriend have a body like Kim Kardashian and have her be nude a lot. Don’t make her look like a 12 year-old boy with A-cup boobs and no hips. Jesus.
Alright. Rant over. Don’t get me started.
That being said, the love story here wasn’t horrible, and they kept the evilness of the characters in that the love interest was a jaded prostitute rather than the usual spunky ad executive or whatever.
Let’s see. What else didn’t I like?
Well, that’s about it! It’s a damn good movie and I highly recommend it. Let’s hope this is a good sign for movies in 2016.