Sat. Jan 28th, 2023

Yuh-oh – are we heading into another comedic superhero movie with formulas? On paper, Deadpool may seem so. The origin story sees the launch of a brooding hero and an ailing damsel. The cast is mostly archetypes, including comic relief, stern ally, and bitter villain. Heck, time is frozen, Matrix-like intro, where a climactic action sequence is frozen for cameras to pan around, has been done countless times.

Lucky for us it is Deadpool we talk about. Marvel’s latest comic-to-movie conversion wastes no time in firmly asserting itself as a very different kind of superhero movie.

The movie’s first weird moment arrives mere seconds into its runtime, when that opening sequence of unusual text crawls begins to flash. Instead of the usual production company credit, we’re told this is “some dork movie” directed by “an overpaid tool” starring “a grouchy teenager,” “a British villain,” and “god’s perfect idiot”. case, Ryan Reynolds, whose real face briefly floats between dead and dying bodies on the cover of People magazine.

It’s a fitting start for a movie based on the ultimate anti-hero anti-comedy series. The rest of the movie’s two-hour runtime is spent on much of what Marvel’s made Deadpool comics that were so popular when they launched in the early ’90s: sending up comic book clichés with a generous amount of ultra-violence, swear word bombs, and penis joke after penis joke after penis joke. (By the way, DON’T TAKE YOUR CHILDREN TO THIS MOVIE. Don’t even think about it.)

At its best, Deadpool mocks the action movie universe while boosting the source material with unforgettable twists. At its worst, the movie falls prey to typical action-movie problems like slow pacing and painfully unsurprising tentpoles in the plot – the kind of things newcomers to the series will detest and fans will forgive. And despite some other nagging issues, the film survives almost entirely on the shoulders of Ryan Reynold, as he delivers a best-in-genre performance to elevate the movie’s fun, sarcastic mess to great, gory heights.

Gargle what?!

The movie revolves around Deadpool’s origin story, already a warning flag for any series purist. After all, the Deadpool character often poked fun at the idea of ​​a rigid origin story and left readers wondering if he was actually the original man in question. Here we get a tightly defined story of an ex-Special Forces agent named Wade Wilson (Reynolds) who picks up vigilante odd jobs for money – and apparently has a heart of gold hidden beneath his sarcastic, menacing exterior.

Like the comic version of Deadpool, the film’s Wade is diagnosed with an incredibly invasive cancer and accepts a mysterious-sounding offer of treatment from a shady, militaristic organization. His Special Forces background would be helpful, he’s been told, and they’ll equip him with incredible powers as he heals his cancer. Unlike the comic version, this all comes crashing down the moment Wade falls madly for a woman named Vanessa (played by Morena Baccarin from Glowworm and Native country fame). By the way, that’s not the Vanessa “Copycat” Carlysle from the comics, but rather a more general woman with a similar, troubled past – and to the credit of the film, the development of their love story is fast-paced, funny, and full of a sense of empowerment. on both sides.

The story takes a turn when Wade leaves Vanessa without a trace – he doesn’t want to say goodbye in case he doesn’t survive the treatment – and undergoes an arduous treatment until he is both healed and imbued with super strong and regenerative tissue, along with disgusting, disfiguring scars left over. his whole face and body. The rest of the movie revolves around Wade searching for Ajax (Ed Skrein), the super-powered man who oversaw his torture, hoping to be cured by the only man who knows how to do it.

That’s it really. Wade gets cancer, Wade finds a weird cure, Wade seeks revenge on one person, Wade tracks down that one person. But man, did he and the crew of this film have a good time on the road.

Visual gags, fourth-wall outbursts, pop culture references out of the blue, winks at true stories, ill-fitting soundtrack choices, hilarious mash-ups of curse words, and exploitative-level violence burst from the edges of nearly every scene in the film. We’ll spare you the aggravation that those jokes are spoiled, but unexpected wounds to certain body parts and phrases like “gargle balls” set the tone for this film’s dialogue and visual vocabulary. This movie surpasses the taste threshold of virtually every other major comic book movie ever released. You have been warned.

While the film’s sense of humor hovers around “the average American teenage boy,” this version of Deadpool actually tastefully withdraws from some of the more woman-hating content found in the antihero’s earliest comedic appearances – when he emerged as a virulent response to 1990s PC posterity. That’s not to say that Reynolds’ Deadpool is a feminist hero by any means, but his jokes about sex and violence usually lean more towards “weird” than “hateful,” which I appreciated. I laughed out loud and I laughed a lot – and I have to admit that I had convulsive fits after the funniest masturbation-related gag in the movie. You know it when you see it, and you will definitely see it.

In less dexterous hands, this material very well would have fallen flat, but we as viewers and Deadpool fans really got lucky with Ryan Reynolds. The actor was clearly born to play this role, jumping from sarcastic to cutting to pained to painful in the blink of an eye, capturing every comedic and action-packed beat with equal aplomb. Reynolds is a better Deadpool than Hugh Jackman is a Wolverine, or Christian Bale is a Batman, and he’s face-to-face with Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man.

Cut the cable

You won't like Wade Wilson when he's angry.
Enlarge / You won’t like Wade Wilson when he’s angry.

Miracle

So far I have described a movie that could annoy newcomers and leave them for a long time Deadpool fans satisfied enough. But there’s a really weird reverse situation at play here, and it comes in the form of Deadpool‘s canon and licensing issues.

Should you arrive at a Deadpool screening with high expectations for X-Men or X-Force character cameos or other moves toward comic continuity, something else to come. 20th Century Fox is behind this movie, even though Marvel Studios/Disney owns most of Marvel’s intellectual property, and the result is a world seemingly separate from the larger Marvel Universe.

There are even broken connections with the Deadpool comics themselves, much to the detriment of the film. Ajax, for instance, is a much more toothless supervillain than the one who brutalized Wade Wilson’s comic version, negatively impacting that entire part of Deadpool’s origin story by opening gaping plot and logic holes. In fact, the entire “how Wade turned into Deadpool” portion of the film drags so much in both length and pace that it borders on the edge of satire in practice.

Meanwhile, Vanessa lacks both the mutant abilities and the ambiguous origin story of the Vanessa found in the comics, while the only one X-Men cameos from D-list Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead characters are hampered by overly funny performances. We didn’t necessarily need X-Force‘s Cable as a right-hand man to make this movie feel exciting, and we also didn’t need to see Deadpool’s comedic love interest Siryn sneaking around for real authenticity. But we certainly would have liked to see a good cast of momentum-building characters or a heartier dip into the Deadpool series of globe-trotting, brow-raising vigilante missions to reinforce what plot really exists here. That’s not because of the monumentally perfect work of comic titan TJ Miller (Silicon Valley) as Wade’s friend and mission assistant Weasel, but he’s the only other notable actor to really make a mark here besides Reynolds.

It’s up to Reynolds to pick up much of the film’s backlash and deliver cutting insults about the film itself, particularly the licensing issues within the Marvel Universe. Good news: he is successful enough to score Deadpool in “must see it” territory. But just like that. The action sequences are solid, the pacing is rough, and the cast is usable, but the Deadpoolcaliber jokes, and they’re written, really shine when delivered by Reynolds. He’s the reason why you’ll remember this movie’s funniest, most intense moments – until Marvel reappears with a worthy Deadpool sequel, hopefully packed with a real plot and worthy mutant companions.

Frame image by Marvel

By akfire1

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