DEADPOOL Movie Review
As the ladies will tell you, personality goes a long way.
You aren’t all that much of a looker? Personality can save you. You’re dumber than a turd in a tutu? Personality can save you. You’re a B level superhero movie with middling action and a whole bunch of jokes that fall flat? You are in luck, because personality can save you.
With the exception of last year’s Ant-Man, the recent run of superhero movies have been largely serious affairs. This makes it the perfect time for a movie like Deadpool, a property so silly that not even cancer can bring it down. It’s brash and profane and more than a little obnoxious, but that’s okay, in fact, it’s more than okay, it’s refreshing, because it is enough to set it apart from the pack.
The film revolves around Wade Wilson, a mercenary who never shuts up (a merc with a mouth, you could say). He finds himself a girl that is almost as crazy as he is (a charming Morena Baccarin) and falls in love. Then tragedy strikes and he is diagnosed with cancer. Wilson reluctantly agrees to be treated by some shadowy organisation performing dangerous experiments and boom, powers. Cue a convoluted explanation for a superhero name and you’ve got yourself an origin story.
The weirdest thing about Deadpool is that a number of times it makes reference to the fact it’s not your typical superhero story. Except it is. Plot wise, it is as generic as they come. In fact, it’s almost beat for beat the same plot as X-Men Origins: Wolverine (still the worst superhero title ever), only with dick jokes. But it obscures this fact by focusing on what a total goof the central character is. This is where the movie lives or dies, on Wade Wilson himself.
Luckily for the film, it has Ryan Reynolds (who has spent half a decade trying to get this thing made). This is Reynolds’ John McClane moment. You watch Die Hard and you see an actor who knows this is his shot and he gives it his all. That is exactly what you see in Reynolds’ performance here, except there is even more on the line as Reynolds has been in enough flops (Blade Trinity, Green Lantern, even his first attempt at Deadpool in Wolverine) that this was very likely his last chance. And he absolutely knocks it out the park. He makes the character his own to the point where you couldn’t possibly imagine any other actor playing him. His cartoonish delivery that verges on trying too hard to be funny works perfectly for the character. It’s his desperation to make this character work for him that makes the character work for him. Sure, sometimes you will cringe at a joke or beat that Reynolds and the film really commit to that doesn’t work at all, but I’d rather cringe for a second at a film that is trying too hard than be angry at a movie for not trying at all.
It is Reynolds performance that injects life into this thing. Without him it is a bunch of okay-ish action sequences (although the opening is a hoot), bland villains, forgettable supporting characters (the two X-Men characters don’t do much of anything), and a standard rescue the girl plot. But with him it is a irreverent, wild, winking-ly meta, ridiculous ride of violence and witticisms. It has personality. It’s not the most original personality in the world, or one of any particular depth. But that’s never been who Deadpool is. He’s a guy that likes unicorns and shooting people. And that is exactly what you get.
Everyone else in the movie is kinda just there. As I said, Morena Baccarin as the love interest does good work with what little she has. Gina Carano is fine as a villainous henchman as long as she doesn’t talk. Brianna Hildebrand as Negasonic Teenage Warhead feels like a wasted opportunity. Ed Skrein as the British baddie is meh. Most people seemed to like TJ Miller as Deadpool’s buddy, the only character who has one liners as funny as the central character. But for me, the only supporting character worth a damn, and one I hope comes back for the sequels, is Dopinder, Deadpool’s cab driver. I was more invested in the relationship between those two than I was in the central love interest. Deadpool and Dopinder forever!
Overall, it’s hard to argue that the film isn’t a success. Director Tim Miller and Ryan Reynolds have achieved exactly what they set out to do. Make a Deadpool movie that feels like a Deadpool movie. It is by no means a classic, but it will keep you smiling and consistently entertained for its duration. Sure, some of the jokes feel fifteen years old (Wham jokes? Say Anything references?), but to me this just adds to the charm. Yes it is puerile, and yes sometimes it can come across like a child that has just learnt a new swear word, but if you can accept it for what it is, and get on its wave length then there is a lot to enjoy. Plus, there is no doubt it contains a star making turn from Ryan Reynolds.
Have you ever been at a dull party and found yourself talking to the loudest, drunkest idiot there? But the idiot is so much more fun than everyone else that you find yourself charmed by what should be really irritating behaviour? That’s the Deadpool movie! It knows exactly what it is and says fuck you to anyone that has a problem with it.
Sometimes that is all I want.
Though it has put me off Crocs forever.