Deadpool hit theaters this past Friday and is on its way to breaking records harder than Colossus’s organic metal fist coming down on our favorite merc-with-the-mouth’s skull. Why? Is it because of its crude R-rated humor? Or ultra violent action scenes? Or its meta self-aware irreverence at a time when comic book superhero movies take themselves too seriously? The answer is: (d) all of the above.
However, there is one reason for Deadpool’s success I didn’t list above that I feel is at the heart as to why it works so well: the studio just left it the f#$% alone and let the writers, director, and actors do their thing. The result was the most authentic comic book superhero translation to screen ever. Good job, FOX. You didn’t Fantastic Four up this one.
I have been a fan of Deadpool since his first appearance in New Mutants #98, back in the early 90’s and have followed the character grow over the years from obscurity to a now mainstream recognition the likes of Spider-Man and Wolverine. When Ryan Reynolds first portrayed Wade Wilson in X-Men Origins: Wolverine I thought what most Deadpool fandom (and Reynolds too probably) thought:
Why does FOX have to ruin everything beautiful.
Well, turnabout is fair play, because this Deadpool movie constantly pokes fun at the studio for its past transgressions, and in doing so has made that same studio a shit ton of money. But I must say if it took the crapfest that was X-Men Origins: Wolverine to give us this Deadpool film, then I think the birth pains were worth it.
So a brief synopsis about the film before I give a few (spoiler free) review high lights. The story is simple: boy meets girl, boy copulates with girl (a lot), boy develops cancer, boy leaves girl in search of a cure, boy gets superpowers (the ability to heal from any wound…cancer included) but is turned into hideous looking rain-faced monstrosity, boy seeks to get his good looks back so he can go back to copulating with girl by going after bad guy who “Dr. Frankensteined” him, only to have to save girl from said bad guy. Along the way, hilarity and maiming ensues. You know, your typical Nicholas Sparks novel.
What I really liked about this film is as follows:
1) While this is an origin film, the narrative unfolds in such a way in that the character’s origin story doesn’t overrun the film’s momentum. The film literally begins mid-action scene; we get to jump right into the story and learn who Deadpool is through well-narrated and fluid flashbacks. In comics, Deadpool is known for breaking the fourth wall and talking directly to his audience; this convention really helps the film in regards to how the narrative flows and is downright hilarious at times…as it should be when it comes to Deadpool.
2) The use of the X-Men franchise i.e. this film exists in FOX’s X-Men universe and it does well reminding us of this…especially with it’s X-Men guest stars: Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead. I’ve heard some reviewers say they felt that the appearance of these characters seemed too forced and only existed to tie Deadpool in to it’s bigger franchise, but I disagree. part of what makes Deadpool so enjoyable in comics is how he interacts with more deadpan or stalwart characters in the Marvel Universe.
3) Speaking of dimensions. This film is not in 3D. Thank you, God.
4) There are so many easter eggs for fans of the character; however, they are so seamless that for those who are not as familiar with the character, they do not detract from the enjoyment of the film. If anything, they add to its irreverence.
5) Most importantly, the film seems to have been just as fun for those making it as it is for its audience to watch it. It really feels like the goal of this movie was to do a character that they all loved justice, not sales figures. One of the best indications of this is its R-rating…the film is not trying to make Avengers revenue at the expense of what makes Deadpool great: uncensored humor and violence. I’m not saying all superhero movies need to be R-rated, but this one did. The irony is that even with its R-rating, it is still going to make a lot of money. This film is a labor of love, and because of that moviegoers love it.
I really don’t have anything negative to say about Deadpool…maybe that the trailers gave away some really awesome jokes, but there’s still many, many more throughout the film…
…so many that I have to watch the film again to see/hear any I missed!
There you have it, geektastic readers. Deadpool gets this fan’s seal of approval. Do yourselves a favor, go see it if you haven’t…and maybe wear your yellow pants.
Until Bea Arthur returns from the grave to mud wrestle Betty White. Make mine, and yours, Geektastic Podcast!