Deadpool review by Mark McPherson - Cinema Paradiso
There are at least seven movies in 2016 that are based on comic book superheroes. With their relentless explosions and one-liners, it’s going to be an exhausting year. Thankfully, the first superhero movie of the year is a refreshing bit of satire that doesn’t take itself so seriously. Deadpool is aware of its audience, its formula and its universe, spitting in the eye of each one with a vulgar smile.
The concept of Deadpool is just plain fun. He’s an anti-hero that cracks more jokes than Peter Parker, kills more baddies than Rambo and breaks the fourth wall more than any other movie character in recent memory. His humor ranges from infantile to referential. In the midst of a gunfight, Deadpool takes a timeout to make a poop joke. When addressing the audience about how he got his own movie, he makes cracks about Wolverine. It’s all very silly and juvenile, but there’s just something so amusing about its fearless attitude to break all convention.
But what’s most unique about Deadpool is how refreshing it is for a comic book movie. We have the standard origin tale of Deadpool being a regular guy before a secret test facility curses him with regenerative abilities. We have our obligatory British villain that’s classically evil. We even have a team-up as two affordable X-Men characters attempt to keep Deadpool in check. But the ultimate plot doesn’t involve some lame MacGuffin or a diabolical plan to save the world. It’s a straight revenge tale without any of typical bells and whistles of a superhero epic. You have no idea how happy I am to not see another destructive blue laser or demolished city. Having the climax take place on an old aircraft carrier is a great change of pace.
Deadpool is rated R and earns its rating well. Aside from Deadpool’s potty mouth, there’s a multitude of blood and gore throughout - all of which is approached with a semi-comical tone. Arms detach, heads fly and a body splatter against a road sign. As Deadpool shoves his swords through an enemy’s chest, he pauses the picture to comment on how this isn’t your usual superhero movie. This doesn’t occur until about 10 minutes into the movie, but the audience has already picked on this with the violent car chase. The character is just basking in his divergence at this point.
While Deadpool is incredibly funny, a little of him goes a long way. His constant references to the budget of the picture and the changing of timelines made me smile, but never truly laugh. His vulgar dialogue becomes a bit monotonous by the end to the point where it almost becomes tiresomely lazy. The repetition of certain jokes don’t hold up that well either - a joke about wearing brown pants to be prepared for emptying your bowels is decently funny once, but not the second time around. When Deadpool works best is when he’s given a straight hero to play off of. Any scene where he is paired with the metal-faced Colossus and the angsty teen Negasonic Teenage Warhead (what a name) is pure comedic gold.
Deadpool is the bloody, silly and self-aware comic book movie I never thought could exist in the current formula of superhero movies. And, yet, here it is. It’s a movie that’s smart enough to play to its fans (the opening shot features a nod to comic artist Rob Liefeld) and crass enough to please casual moviegoers. It’s also pleasing to finally see Ryan Reynolds in a role that fits him as perfectly as his costume. The snide humor of the picture makes it teeter on the edge of being a childish mess, but I appreciate the cavalier attitudes of the filmmakers willing to risk so much for such a comic book movie. The landscape is too crowded right now to play it safe and Deadpool playfully gambles all or nothing.