Just in time for Valentine’s Day, and after ten long years of development hell, the Deadpool movie finally makes it to the silver screen.
A little history.
While the Fox movie studio considered a Deadpool film as early as 2005, following the financial and critical flop that was X-Men Origins: Wolverine, movie-goers’ first introduction to Ryan Reynold’s antihero, the project languished. Fast-forward to 2014 where visual effects specialist (and first time director) Tim Miller was hired to create some test footage for a Deadpool film, which was leaked online. This leak, and the ensuing fan reception, convinced the studio to green-light the film for a February 2016 release date with a modest budget. Despite February being the month where films go to die, the movie team, especially Reynolds, were ecstatic.
Leading up to the release of the film, the Deadpool advertising team went on an aggressive campaign attempting to woo fans and showcase the off-beat humor that resonates throughout the film. These came in the form of crass but entertaining testicular and breast cancer PSA (‘Touch Yourself Tonight’) and well-wishes to Australia for their national holiday. These successfully built hype around the film, but many worried that the comedy was too esoteric for the average movie-goer.
So how was the film? As an avid comic book reader and movie watch, Deadpool delivered on everything I was expecting. Over-the-top violence? Check. Self-referential dialogue. Check. Foul language and blue comedy? Check. Check. Check.
This is definitely a love-it or hate-it film. If the list above compels you to roll your eyes then its easy advice, don’t see the film. If you are a fan of the American Pie-esque comedy or the overabundance of comic book films currently flooding the market then go see it. It is almost as simple as that.
For the comic book movie fan Deadpool offers a fresh breath in comparison to the color-by-numbers stylings of other franchises. The R-rating of the film allowed the writers to really turn it up to eleven in terms of the non-stop violence coupled with sardonic one-liners and Deadpool’s DGAF attitude clearly makes him a villain first, who happens to stumble on a hero’s journey. Think Ant-Man meets This is the End.
Entertainingly, the Deadpool character consistently breaks the fourth wall, speaking directly to the audience, cracking jokes about Reynold’s film history or making reference to other super hero films. While highly entertaining to the initiated, the movie assumes the audience is pop culture-literate.
As far as the acting goes, all actors deliver well, but Reynolds clearly steals the show. And why not? He’s been waiting ten years to get back into those red tights and has recently said Deadpool is the only comic book character he wants to play (a rip on his previous role as DC’s Green Lantern).
As storyline goes, the movie is extremely thin. At its core, the film is a revenge film, not a ‘save the Earth from impending doom’ film, as most superhero films tend to be. Miller’s experience in CGI is apparent, and while the modest-budget of the film shows through at times, it never takes away from the excitement of the action sequences.
Stripped down even more, the movie is basically a vehicle from fight scene to fight scene with satirical jokes littered throughout. While this has bothered many critics, I don’t think the average movie-goer was expecting anything more than a popcorn movie. For what it is trying to do (make an entertaining film that services comic book fans and provides non-stop laughs) the film delivers.
TL;DR: Deadpool will resonate well with comic book movie fans, and movie-goers who like crass comedy and violence. There isn’t much there in terms of storyline or character development, but it makes up these deficiencies with Reynold’s wit and charm. Remember to stick around for the two final scenes at the end of the credits. Funny stuff. Chi-ka chi-ka.