We live in a world where there are six comic book movies coming out in this year. Since 2008 the industry has been growing and blooming thanks to Marvel Studios, Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies, and Bryan Singer’s return to the X-men franchise. Around two years ago some test footage for a Ryan Reynolds Deadpool movie leaked onto the internet and drew massive buzz because not only was the character’s mouth NOT sown shut, but it was actually a pretty faithful take on the source material. The response was so overwhelmingly positive that Fox funded a Deadpool movie and here we are. But with the overflow of comic book movies what does Deadpool bring to the table that the other movies haven’t? I would say one of the most faithful adaptations of a comic book character that we’ve ever seen.
The opening credits of Deadpool are probably some of the most enjoyable that I’ve seen in recent years. I can’t elaborate much more on that without ruining them but pay attention as soon as the movie begins. We get a bombastic start with Deadpool in full gear, creatively killing with the stylistic and sassy flair that Deadpool is so well known for. An abundance of four letter swear words, counting his bullets out to his victims, having a generally sarcastic dick attitude to all those that he encounters, let’s say they did Deadpool right.
The first third of the movie progresses in a non-linear format so we have Deadpool himself narrating how hot Ryan Reynolds is (the actor playing him) and showing us how he became the Merc with a Mouth. This establishes a world for Wade Wilson, the ex navy seal who becomes Deadpool. Wade is mostly a scumbag that resides in a world full of filth that he experiments with. He’s a moderator of pain and the jury for those who receive pain, he inherently starts skirmishes amongst others in his group and watches the anarchy unfold. The only companion he has is the delightful T.J. Miller playing his crony Weasel, the man who runs his favorite bar and puts only the most minuscule effort into every interaction with Wade. No one in the movie is a good person and for outsiders I think you have to accept that.
The rest of the supporting cast does a solid job of pushing the film forward and giving us interesting extra layers of universe. We mostly get to see Negasonic Teenage Warhead (below left) and Colossus (below right) as they try to persuade Deadpool not to be such a villain. Warhead has an angsty personality as Deadpool lovingly spells out and Colossus is the voice of reason, finally being portrayed as he should be as a vibrantly optimistic russian. He has a few scene stealer that deal with his good hearted character. Then we have Wade’s love interest Vanessa who is the perfect yin to Wade’s yang. And we have a decent villain in the form of an antagonistic Ajax. I will say this movie has one of my favorite Stan Lee cameos of all-time.
I had somewhat of an issue with the middle of the movie. After the fantastic opening the movie just starts to slow down a little bit. I’m all for breathing room especially because some sequences are frantic, but for a while we don’t get to see Wade Wilson as the cocky bastard we know and love him to be. This is necessary because it shows the evolution of Wade even if it bogs down the pace of the story.
I was satisfied by the end of the movie even with my qualms. The pacing is off beat, the comedy is hysterical but often rattled off too quickly. I’ll still be laughing at one joke and miss two beats that immediately follow. But I was satisfied not because of a solid plot, far from it some of the plot doesn’t work too well. But what flourishes and keeps me smiling is how well done the characters of Wade Wilson and Deadpool are.
Seeing Wade with his girlfriend is just fun because they’re having fun, not just the characters but the actors are too. There is a sincere and touching moment with them that I never thought I would have heard in this kind of offensive movie, but I did and it resonated with me even more over the most of the humor. That’s not to say that this movie will melt your heart because the more touching moments are few and far in between but they’re imperative and meaningful.
Seeing the personality of a broken Wade as Deadpool just amplifies his best and worst traits. What we get is an unpredictable, foul-mouth, pop culture fixated, hyper-violent anti-hero and that is exactly what Deadpool is supposed to be. While that’s what he is supposed to be, let’s briefly discuss what he is not: Weapon X.
This movie puts a large emphasis on how much of a steaming frothy turd that X-Men Origins: Wolverine was. Sowing the mouth shut of one of the most cock, talkative, and hilarious characters in the history of comics is heresy deemed by death. The movie recognizes that and the other foray that Reynolds ventured to (Green Lantern) also being a lackluster failure. I’m happy that the movie broke the fourth wall and then some, there are a good few moments where Deadpool talks to the audiences or breaks character to reference the atrocious history of X-men and Hollywood in general. They even reference the budget of the movie, that playfulness encourages the audience to laugh not at the movie but with it.
Deadpool’s insults are crude, his violence would tear up Robert Rodriguez, it’s a home run of a movie for fans of the character with one exception that we will talk about later. One vital thing isn’t included from the comics and we may see it with sequels depending on how well the movie does but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed because of this aspect and it has to do with Deadpool’s mind is all I will say.
While this movie will be a sure fire hit for fans we’re left with the important question of a more casual audience and what they will think of it. Deadpool’s origin is clearly explained and given ample time to process. The character is set up well even if his personality and methods are extreme, which extreme as a describer is an understatement. The core relation that Deadpool has to the X-men is shown and we get a good look at his personality. Often times the action and jokes run off too quickly to comprehend but when they’re done at the right time it’s comedy gold.
Deadpool was an enjoyable movie and gives renewed meaning and interest into the comic adaptation genre. It’s funnier than every comedy that came out in 2015 and does a great job building a character even though there are pitfalls in pacing and coherence through the venture. With those quarrels aside I cannot wait to see this again, it’s pleasing to the fans and should assist in creating new fans for the Merc with a Mouth.