Deadpool (Movie) Review

Deadpool (Movie) Review

It’s been a long, long journey for Deadpool to make it to the big screen. The character came out of the absurd excesses of 90s comics: hyper-violent, snarky, and sexualized; however, the book was also self-aware in an oh-so 90s way, with the character frequently breaking the fourth wall and the writers gleefully taking the piss out of superhero funny book clichés. Deadpool has been in movies before, but in a horrible botch job in that Wolverine origin movie that everyone rightfully dismisses. For years, sarcasm specialist Ryan Reynolds hoped to bring a proper Deadpool to theatres, complete with the hard-R rating and self-consciousness that the property demands. It didn’t look like it would happen, even though Deadpool cosplay started to take over comic cons everywhere as the cult grew for one of the few marquee Marvel properties not given the blockbuster treatment. Then Reynolds leaked an effects test that nailed the tone on the internet and within 24 hours his pet project got a greenlight. Now Deadpool is here and it’s everything longtime fans could want, as well as something that should be a pleasant surprise for folks who only get their superhero kicks at the cinema. It’s also a puerile, immature, silly, and dumb origin story. But hey! We’re talking about Deadpool here. That book has always been clever entertainment, not art.

deadpool emma insert 5Things kick off with a hilarious opening credits parody sequence to set the tone. Over an elaborate extended bullet time shot of a violent action scene, we’re treated to joke credits like “produced by asshats” and “directed by an overpaid tool” along with a few jabs at Ryan Reynolds. Yep, we’re firmly in self-mocking/self-aware land with this movie and the fourth wall is broken so many times afterwards, it’s barely even there. It’s an origin story, but one told non-chronologically. This origin tale is also a revenge tale, so that opening action scene from the credits is the first act of revenge and it’s spread out over the first half of the movie, as Reynolds’ sardonic Deadpool talks the audience through the origin with all sorts of additional silliness.

Before donning the tights, Wade Wilson (Reynolds) is just a highly trained mercenary (with a mouth) who does low-end jobs. He hangs out at a bar owned by his equally sarcastic friend (TJ Miller) and falls in love with an equally sarcastic woman (Morena Baccarin). Then he gets cancer and signs up for a potentially deadly medical experiment to cure it (so no direct Weapon X references, likely to keep a distance from Wolverine). Ed Skrein is on generic Euro-baddie duties as the guy executing said experiment. It’s torturous and leaves Wilson burned up like Freddy Kruger, only with remarkable healing powers. Pissed off about losing his pretty face, Wilson transforms into Deadpool and sets out to kill Skrein. That’s when the flashbacks catch up with the extended opening action scene and things get a bit more straightened out. Oh, and Deadpool also has a tentative relationship with two X-men, Colosus (Stefan Kapicic, plus loads of CGI) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand, plus loads of adolescent cynicism) to loosely connect this whole thing to Fox’s X-Men cinematic universe.

deadpool emma insert 1The key to Deadpool’s success is its sense of humour. Reynolds, Zombieland screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, and director Tim Miller know how familiar audiences are with superhero movie tropes, so they spend the whole movie mocking them, exaggerating them, and dosing them in R-rated excess to make the old tricks feel new. It’s what Deadpool did back in the comic days and it works well on the big screen. There are constant asides to the audience and a mountain of rude n’ crude humour to make it all go down smoothly. Sure, the sense of humour is decidedly adolescent, but it’s Deadpool. That’s the target audience and they’ll get what they want. Beyond all of the filthy funnies, Tim Miller leans into that R-rated freedom with his action scenes. Limbs are severed, blood is sprayed, and entrails fly around the screen. It’s a mixture of hard R Asian action and horror movie splatstick comedy executed on a scale only a superhero blockbuster can receive. The result is a rip-roaring tasteless rollick that adds some nice new flavours to the comic book movie buffet and shows off what R-rated blockbusters could look like in the modern age. God-willing it won’t be the last.

The cast are all rather good, delighting in the film’s irreverent tone. The only exceptions are the villains played by Ed Skrein and a mostly silent Gina Carano. They are essentially generic 80s action movie villains with a few superpowers and feel rather boring. But hey, they get the job done. Despite all of the in-jokes, asides, and R-rated ridiculousness, this is kind of a generic movie. However despite how much fun Baccarin and Miller are on the sidelines or Kapicic and Hildebrand have mocking the X-men universe, the movie belongs to Ryan Reynolds and he doesn’t disappoint. The guy is an underrated actor, a world champion of sarcasm, and blessed with the genetics necessary to be an action figure. If anyone was born to play Deadpool, it’s him. He doesn’t let a one-liner fall flat, gleefully mocks himself, wears buckets of burned skin make-up, and (thanks to a mask) lets some ridiculously talented stunt guys take over to deliver some wild physical Deadpool action pulled straight from comic book panels. If the movie is little more than a giant pilot for a Deadpool franchise, then Reynolds proves that he’s more than capable of carrying it and that he knows the right types of writers and directors necessary to pull it off. Good work sir.

deadpool emma insert 6Is Deadpool the best comic book movie ever made? Not really. In fact, I’d imagine there will be at least one better superhero movie this year. However, it is one of the best R-rated Hollywood action movies to arrive in forever and that’s cause for celebration. They don’t make em’ like this anymore and they certainly never made superhero movies like this before. That’s something special. Sure, despite the self-conscious cleverness, it’s just a bunch of vulgar humour, ultra-violence, and parodied superhero clichés. But at least these are all new things to the superhero blockbuster genre and Deadpool makes a hell of a case for why this new franchise deserves a spot at the table. Given that the movie clearly didn’t have the same budget as a Disney Marvel blockbuster, it’s amazing what Tim Miller and his team were able to pull off in terms of pure spectacle. Deadpool is big dopey fun for big dopes like me. Its flaws are forgivable given its strengths and most of them should be set straight in the inevitable sequel. For once, it’s actually kind of exciting to think that sequel is coming. Deadpool’s in-joke premise will get tired eventually, but for now it gives Fox’s Marvel division a filthily distinct franchise in the superhero blockbuster landscape. Disney would never allow a Marvel property to be handled this way (just wait until you see Stan Lee’s cameo) and it’s nice to know that the merc with a mouth ended up at a company that will do the filthy fun character right.

Deadpool Plots That Will Never Make it to the Big Screen

Deadpool Plots That Will Never Make it to the Big Screen

Let’s be honest, the last few years of Marvel films have been cheesier than a Brie convention. That’s not to say they haven’t been good, most have been greatly entertaining, but there’s never been any real grit or bite to the recent big screen adaptations.

That is until now.

Releasing in a few days time is Deadpool, the R-rated Marvel movie that looks both hilarious and offensive with Deadpool’s humour- thankfully -not being censored in order to cater to the younger end of Marvel’s audience. However, as much as we’re all, or least most of the Western population, are looking forward to this movie, Deadpool will probably follow the standard path that every first, solo Marvel adventure takes: intro, back-story, bad guy does something bad, protagonist vows to stop them, protagonist faces adversity, protagonist rises up against the odds, protagonist wins. There will of course be variables, such as the ending and Deadpool’s methods of achieving vengeance, but the basic idea will most likely be the same as it always is with an introductory film and rightly so. Marvel needs to introduce Deadpool and his outlandish ways before diving into his depths, but what about future Deadpool films?

deadpool emma insert 2If the movie is a commercial success, which it most likely will be, sequels will be made. After all, this is Hollywood, and if an idea even remotely works in the industry, you milk it for all its worth. Deadpool has more than enough interesting stories that could be catapulted onto the big screen, but there’s a few that are probably a little too eccentric for even our Merc with a Mouth to present to a mainstream audience. Here’s just a few of the more interesting plots Marvel could use for future Deadpool movies, although it’s probably best not to hold your breath.

Evil Dead Presidents Try To Takeover America

A superhero/zombie Marvel film is one that we’ve never been treated to before, which is shame considering the interesting crossovers that have made it into the comics over the years. Deadpool has had a few of these stories in his time, with this particular one taking our beloved mercenary on an adventure to kill a bunch of resurrected dead presidents, including Washington and Jefferson, who are threatening to destroy the country. Hired by S.H.I.E.L.D, Deadpool manages to save the day, ripping off Washington’s head and kicking it into the crotch of the Lincoln memorial. This could be Marvel’s answer to Pride and Prejudice with Zombies, minus the boring period setting and with Deadpool instead of English aristocracy, which obviously makes everything ten times better.

Thanos vs. Deadpool

deadpool emma insert 3 Yep, that big purple guy from the end of Guardians of the Galaxy and Deadpool have their own feud in the Marvel universe, all because of a woman. Well, woman is probably a bit much, considering the woman in question is actually Marvel’s physical manifestation and personification of Death . An actual entity, rather than something that happens when you eat too many chimichangas, Lady Death has a skeletal body and is adored by the mercenary, although he’ll probably never get to be with her for good because he’s technically immortal. Unfortunately for Deadpool, Thanos also loves Death, or at least likes her as much as an evil villain can like another, her knobbly knees seemingly bringing all the boys to her yard. Their rivalry for her affection has seen Thanos curse Deadpool with life so that Deadpool can’t join her, with the cosmic villain also trying, but failing, to destroy Deadpool’s many personalities, attempting to leave him as an undesirable, empty shell. A heated match between the two could make for awesome viewing with the current mini-series perhaps providing some lengthier material.

Loki Claiming To Be Deadpool’s Father

One of the more bizarre stories in the Deadpool world, in Deadpool Vol. 1 #37, Loki, the Norse god of mischief and frequent troublemaker for big brother Thor, tries to convince the mercenary that he is his father, using Lady Death as a hostage in order to persuade Deadpool into doing his bidding. What he wants is for Deadpool to make Thor mortal- which happens if he loses contact with his hammer, Mjlonir, for longer than 60 seconds- thereby giving the less-loved son of Odin a chance to kill his brother. Deadpool accepts the work, takes Thor’s hammer and tries to impersonate him so that he can join the Avengers, among other activities. In the end, Deadpool confronts Loki about the whole daddy thing, gets the truth out of him that he isn’t his father and helps Thor and Lady Death escape the trickster’s evil clutches. It’s not the biggest storyline, but it could make for an entertaining film, or at least a side-plot.

Deadpool Kills The Marvel Universe

deadpool emma insert 4 It may be hard to believe that one man could go on such a rampage and succeed, (even though the Punisher has already done so in a similarly titled one-shot) but that’s exactly what Deadpool does in this story. Spidey, Cap, Mr. Wolverine, they all get killed by ‘Pool, and while I’ve never actually read this particular serial, it would be great to see a full-length feature where Deadpool wreaks unholy havoc on the Marvel world. Given the violent nature and ruthless devastation this plot contains, an adaptation of it is probably not something they’ll be rushing to make anytime soon. After all, if all the heroes and villains are gone in the Marvel world, who will star in their future films? There’s only so much Deadpool can do alone, even with cameos from Stan Lee.

Will PG-13 ruin Deadpool?

Will PG-13 ruin Deadpool?

We are finally getting a Deadpool movie, but is it the Deadpool movie we want?

After three years in a state of suspended animation, 20th Century Fox and Marvel Studios announced on Sept 18th that they will be going ahead with the film, currently slated for a February 2016 release.

The decision followed intense and encouraging reaction from fans who expressed their excitement on Twitter and Facebook after a short sequence of test footage was leaked online. While the footage was shot several years ago, the clip has re-ignited interest in the movie, leading Fox to nail down a solid release date and get production started. There has been speculation as to whether Ryan Reynolds will reprise his role as the titular mercenary, with most fans agreeing that he is a perfect fit for the character. Reynolds discussed the leaked footage and the response from fans in a recent interview with the Niagara Review:

“The movie has been in a state of limbo for a while. There was such an overpowering reaction to the footage, you sort of feel like, ‘Oh, so we weren’t crazy for our reasons for loving this character, for loving this role.’ It’s interesting to see the power of the Internet. It’s awe-inspiring, actually.”

Deadpool was first introduced in a 1991 issue of the Marvel Comics series New Mutants, a collaboration between artist Rob Liefeld and writer Fabian Nicieza. Originally the character was basically a knock off of the popular DC mercenary Deathstroke. Even Deadpool’s real name, “Wade Wilson”, is a clear homage to Deathstroke’s real identity “Slade Wilson.” Eventually Deadpool got a monthly series of his own, written by Joe Kelly. It is through this series the character evolved into the Deadpool we know today: the self-aware goofball with several inner voices and propensity to break the fourth wall. At the heart of the humour of the character is the mutant healing factor he was given by the Weapon X program to combat his cancer. Essentially immortal, much of the comic relief in the various series comes from Deadpool getting his head blown off and limbs removed. This procedure, although successful in containing the cancer, left his body horribly scarred and added a large stroke of vulnerability and depth to a character originally intended to be a cold blooded killer-for-hire.

The big question that fans are asking at the moment is what the film will lose with its R rating. There has been speculation that the reason the film has been in development limbo for so long was that Fox wouldn’t support an R-rated movie based on a comic book.  As anyone familiar with the character will tell you, Deadpool shines when he is given free-reign to shed blood and curse like a sailor. On the flipside however, most of the character’s appearances in the comics would be considered PG-13. Many fans feel that a similar rating for the film would neuter the character, but co-creator Rob Liefeld defended the potential PG-13 rating in a series of tweets and explained why he doesn’t think it would hurt the film:

“If HANNIBAL can air on primetime network television, DEADPOOL can be PG-13 and still be bad ass,” and “all you who want to die on the R rated hill, we will replace you with equally enthusiastic teenagers. Deadpool can’t be stopped.”

It’s probably not a surprise that most superhero movies are targeted at an audience that generally wouldn’t be able to see an R-rated movie. The recent success of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy indicates that if a studio wants to make money, moviegoers should be able to bring their kids. And let’s face it, outside of the comic fandom, most full grown adults aren’t spending money on action figures and Groot Halloween costumes.

Sin City
Sin City

There have been comic book adaptions in the past that did very well in the box office despite the R-rating. Frank Miller’s Sin City and 300 both did exceedingly well in theatres, although it could be argued that these movies weren’t viewed as “comic book” films by the general public. Successfully marketing a straight up super hero movie with a hard R- rating is much more difficult. We only have to look at The Watchmen, viewed by many as the greatest graphic novel of all time, and the dismal returns it garnered to understand why a studio would be hesitant to give the go ahead to an R-rated movie based on a B-tier superhero like Deadpool.

On the other hand, the test footage that has everyone so excited is most certainly not aimed at children, and the decision from Fox to go ahead with the film is more or less based on the extremely positive buzz from internet viewers. If you’ve ever been to a con or fan expo, it’s guaranteed that you will see a good deal of Deadpool cosplay, and it’s not children dressing up, it’s adults. In an era where we’re finally seeing our favourite heroes up on the big screen, there has never been a better time to experiment. Mature audiences are getting burnt out on formulaic “fun” superhero movies, and let’s not forget Fox has already tried the family friendly approach to gritty characters like Daredevil and Ghostrider, proving that if you attempt to water down stories that are inherently dark and violent, it comes across as cheesy and hokey.

No plot specifics have been confirmed yet, but positive feedback towards the leaked script by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick indicates that many fans hope the movie will take a similar path. At the core of the character is the archetypal tragic clown, and any film based on Deadpool must walk a similar line… while also featuring plenty of flying bullets, severed limbs, and witty one liners.