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Apr 01

Movie March – Deadpool

If only we could afford Hugh…

Welcome back to Movie March, where… what do you mean, it’s April? And Easter Sunday? AND April Fools Day? Guess we’d better do something appropriate for such an occassion then. And if we’re going to be full of contradictions on this article, might as well make it a live-action film. Which I guess means it’s time for Deadpool!

Coming out on Valentine’s Day back in 2016, the Marvel character famous for breaking the fourth wall and being more meta than even Batmite, managed to prove you can make a successful R-rated superhero movie (that’s 15 to us in the not-as-crazy-with-age-ratings UK), and create a flick unlike most others in the process. Plus with the sequel coming out next month, seems the right time to give this guy a chance.

So going into this, I’d actually not read any Deadpool comics (I live in a DC world of Batpeople and Bombshells), so I was kinda expecting it to be full of fourth wall breaks and little else. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case, as while the film is clearly putting comedy first, it doesn’t rely on any one type of humour to carry the whole thing.

It does mean though that behind the jokes and the Rated-R content… this is just another superhero origin story. Wanna know how Wade Wilson got messed up in the head and became some insane mercenary with swords and guns? That’s all here (well, mostly, at no point does the film try to explain why part of his craziness is talking to the audience). But you’ll certainly see why he wears a mask all the time and why comedy is what he always turns too.

Thankfully, what could have been just another “and then some nutter fucked my life up forever” backstory is saved by Ryan Reynolds being amazing. The guy looks like he’s having a blast from start to finish, nailing serious moments but also taking the comedy to the next level, revelling in the insanity of it all. It’s hard to imagine Deadpool being portrayed by any other guy.

The rest of the cast are more hit and miss. I enjoyed Gina Carano’s performance of Angel Dust, the #2 baddie in the film who beats the holy hell out of CG Colossus, and speaking of villains, Ed Skrein playing as Ajax or Francis is the perfect complement to Deadpool. The rest of the cast have some nice moments too, but none particularly stand out over the rest.

Part of that could be the writing isn’t all that brilliant for the supporting cast. This is very much Deadpool’s movie, and while the opening may mock the character tropes within the film… it doesn’t excuse them. Negasonic Teenage Warhead is jokingly called the Angsty Teen, and the film makes cracks at that… but that’s it. That’s her entire character. And she’s far from the only character who’s just kinda… there.

There’s some more storytelling problems too. The leaping around from present to past and back again at the start of the film just so they can shove in action scenes every now and again is kind of bewildering, the way Deadpool acquires his mutant strength feels kind of weird (even more so considering what happens afterwards), and then there’s the film trying to make the “will Deadpool be a real hero” narrative a thing when the answer is a foregone conclusion… which the ending pretty much just points out.

Of course I fully accept that’s missing the point of who Deadpool is. And yes, as far as comedy goes, this film gets it right far more often than it gets it wrong. My notes are full of me laughing at various gags and scenes, from what I put as the “jesus you’re fugly” exchange to the taxi driver to “the studio couldn’t afford another X-Man” to the Stan Lee cameo.

And then there’s the action scenes. You don’t see a whole lot of guns in the superhero genre, so Deadpool flipping around blasting anything that moves in twelve bullets or less makes for some different action scenes, and the R rating means guns splatter and swords cleave, and people smash into traffic signs and it is very visceral. Not in an immature “oh man we can do blood and guts” way, but certainly blasts and swipes have more impact than they would do in a certain other cinematic universe.

But mentioning that brings me around to the one thought that kept nagging at me while watching Deadpool, which is if I want a superhero film which is also a comedy… there’s Guardians of the Galaxy. It has a similar sense of self-deprecating humour, a far better cheesy licensed soundtrack (I could have written an entire article on how garbage I thought Deadpool’s setlist was), and when it gets down to it… better serious moments and emotional storytelling. It made millions of us care about a racoon and a tree, for gawd’s sake.

That’s not to say Deadpool is a bad film, hell I think it’s pretty fun, but in a world where we’re drowning in cool superhero films, from Black Panther to Thor to the aforementioned Guardians, Deadpool never really stands out for any other reason than it’s Deadpool. Which just ain’t enough in this modern day and age.

And that’s Movie March done! In April! Again! As such, we can now look forward to what’s next, which would be a Spring season of anime with a bunch of shows I’m interested to get a look at. So I’ll see you for our tenth straight season of first episode impressions soon!