I was thinking…
…’He was born to play that part,’ is not a phrase I often use. In fact, I think I sack-tapped myself, albeit accidentally, the last time I slipped and said it out loud. It’s just one in a list of phrases I do not care for–phrases that set off a douche bag alert whenever I hear someone else say them: ‘Not on my watch,’ ‘That’s not my forte,’ (which is also almost universally mispronounced), and the skin-crawl inducing ‘This is my jam.’
But where Ryan Reynolds playing Deadpool is concerned, I think I may just have to risk the self-tappage again.
The wise-cracking, ridiculously puerile character seems like it was tailor made for Reynolds, who was actually only 15 when the Merc with the Mouth first appeared in Marvel Comics. But anyone who has followed Reynolds’ career will notice he has pretty much been playing the Deadpool character to some degree in nearly every film of which he’s been a part.
All but ignoring Reynolds’ first take on the character of Deadpool in 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine, this year’s Deadpool film is a far more true to-the-character take. Ironic, as Deadpool has pretty much always been a parody (and some may say ripoff) of DC Comics’ Deathstroke.
Wade Wilson (Reynolds—The Voices, Waiting) is a gun for hire, lending himself out to good people with problems they can’t solve. A member of a sort of fraternity of mercenaries, his only real friend is Weasel (T.J. Miller—Big Hero 6, Transformers: Age of Extinction), the owner and purveyor of the mercenaries’ home base/bar.
But one night, boy meets girl, (Morena Baccarin—Spy, Serenity). Vanessa is the perfect match for our hard-to-hate protagonist and he falls in love with her just in time to find out he has aggressive and terminal cancer.
Convinced there is really no light at the end of the tunnel, Wade finds some hope when approached by a mysterious man who promises his company cannot only cure Wade’s cancer but can unlock super hero potential in him as well.
But Wade is in for a bit of a shock when the head of the company, Ajax (Ed Skrein—The Transporter remake), reveals not only how that potential is unlocked but for what purpose it will truly serve. And Deadpool is born.
The rest is sweet, sweet vengeance. With a little bit of saltiness.
This was one of those movies I wish had not been marketed so hard. So much was shown in trailers and commercials, I feel they lessened the impact of the humor when finally seen on the big screen. Nevertheless, the comedic moments are strong and many. Like a big tin of Altoids.
And like with Altoids, not every moment is one of pleasure. The Deadpool character is, at its heart, a tragic figure. There is a price he must pay for his healing ability and surgical prowess with killing instruments. His misery, loneliness and drive for revenge make him a much more well-rounded character than he would otherwise appear on the surface.
Told in a sort of non-linear fashion, his origin story does take one on a never-ending ‘Tower of Terror’ ride of up’s and down’s. Deadpool himself refers to the good moments in life being mere commercials in the regularly scheduled programming crapfest of living. And yet, despite that cynical view, he still manages to put a smile on our faces.
Perhaps because of the myriad flashback sequences, we are given the bleak moments as distinctive counterpoints to the lighter moments of jocularity, which, ironically, are also the most violent.
Any fan of Deadpool comics will also be happy to hear the film consistently breaks the fourth wall, viz. the character in the story directly speaks to the audience, breaking the imaginary wall between fictional story and the real world watching it.
In the same vein is the music. The song selections–largely pop music from the 80’s and 90’s–is presented in non-diagetic fashion, meaning it is music we assume only we the audience are hearing and is not part of the actual world of the film. But that same music quickly crosses the plane into diegesis, becoming a part of the film world. This crossing back and forth between the film world and ours is in perfect concert with the overall feel the flick attempts–and succeeds–to convey.
I will admit, however, there were moments I was searching for things with which to find fault. I will also admit, there are not a lot.
Perhaps the most obvious flaw is the use of computer generated imagery. While some of the actions depicted by the super-powered characters can be explained away as wire work, there are some glaringly obvious moments of a computer at play. With a man made of metal and a girl who can explode into flame, this is to be expected; but during the fight scenes even the people who are actually supposed to be real-looking people are not actually people anymore, and it shows.
I’m also not a proponent of cage fighters being employed in speaking roles, but she-man Gina Carano (Fast and the Furious 6) at least stays in her wheelhouse for once and barely speaks. Now if film producers would wake up and realize Rhonda Rousey needs to similarly be kept silent, action films would be a better place for all.
Even with Deadpool‘s minor flaws, it is still a knock-around good time, deserving a second viewing in order to actually hear all of the jokes. And if you can craftily convince your significant other it’s really a love story and would make a great date night, Deadpool himself will confirm that for you…right after he finishes skewering a man on a pair of swords.
Ammo Dump rating: 9 out of 10 accurately counted bullets
I’ll talk more about this film and others during my (every once in a while) radio show. Listen in on WJBC-AM1230 in Central Illinois. For the rest of the world, listen on@ALphaEXray to find out when I’ll be on the air.. And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter
Run time: 108 minutes