Today I watched Tim Miller’s Deadpool (2016)
Wade Wilson is a small time mercenary who takes absolutely nothing seriously, even his budding romantic relationship with the escort Vanessa is built upon his sense of humour. His world comes crashing down when he is diagnosed with more cancer than the old family dog. In his despondency he is approached by a shady fellow who offers the chance at a cure that will turn Wade into a superhero. Wade signs on after some soul searching only to realize that the method by witch these people give him superpowers is to torture him until mutant genes activate. Once they do activate, Wade’s body is covered by scar tissue and he begins to regenerate at a rapid rate. Inevitably he escapes before the bad guys can get control of him and he sets out on a mission to find the leader who might be able to cure him of his hideous visage. Along the way Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (yes, that’s a real character) of the X-Men try to recruit him into their group or at least keep him from causing too much damage.
The original incarnation of Deadpool was a straight up rip-off of DC Comics character Deathstroke, but he quickly grew into his own entity with a broad and irreverent style of fourth wall breaking humour. The idea for a film adaptation had been around for over a decade before now, that it got released at all seems a miracle, that they managed to capture the actual spirit of the character, even more amazing. That being said, I find Deadpool’s humour rather hit and miss; I love the stuff that pokes fun at comics and the movie adaptations, jokes about how the film makers could only afford for two X-Men to appear, or Colossus’s over the top goody two shoes speeches, but the raunchy humour and random references to Mexican food don’t do it for me as much.
Another big element of this film is it’s R-rating, a rare thing in modern mainstream action films, and a breath of fresh air for sure. It is rather startling to compare the action here to that of the past few superhero movies I have covered, not saying that Guardians of the Galaxy or Winter Soldier have bad action, but in comparison to this, they lack teeth. The action is so much more intense just by virtue of added blood and gore, it’s more brutal and aggressive by a mile. The film plays this for laughs in some of it’s funniest moments as cringing at the violence turns into laughter at the bloody slapstick displays. It just goes to show, if your making an action movie, going for an R-rating just makes it better.
While Deadpool may not be perfect, the humour throws everything at the wall and inevitably some things don’t stick, the villains are also boring and the plot formulaic and boring in context, it is a solid representation of it’s source character. The only element of Deadpool that it misses is his insanity, he may be irreverent here, but the comics paint him as borderline schizophrenic. That all being said the movie is really fun, there is plenty of action and enough of the humour works for me to be constantly engaged. It blends the shocking blue humour of such films as The Hangover (the first one, not the sequels) and self referential parody with the common tropes of modern superhero tropes excellently, I just wish it could have leaned into the parody a bit more, we really need that in today’s overcrowded crop of superheroes. 4/5