Deadpool (***1/2) is a refresher course

deadpool_imax

Deadpool – 2016

Director Tim Miller
Screenplay Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick, Ryan Reynolds
Starring  Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, T. J. Miller, Gina Carano, Brianna Hildebrand, Stefan Kapičić, Leslie Uggams

First off, there is nothing in Deadpool that approaches the visual spectacle of his first scene in the first Wolverine spinoff. You know the one, when he gets off of the elevator and slices his way through a thousand bullets on his way to the mark. On the other hand, there is nothing even remotely bad as we see of Wade Wilson (Reynolds) in the rest of the film, which took it from an average film to crapfest with one horribly placed stitch. That film, as much as any X-Men related feature showed the problem with that corner of the Marvel Universe up to the point of First-Class: take characters and their abilities and throw them randomly in any feature, then see what sticks.

By now everyone knows the story of the groundswell that became a lower budget (for Marvel) movie that could. Reynolds took the remnants of the Deadpool character, combined with the remnants of his flatlining career and made it into something deliciously vulgar, reasonably faithful and ultimately a winning franchise formula. Robert Kirkland tweeted after seeing the film that ‘Deadpool is a game changer,’ and one can see why.

  • It’s every bit of a rated R venture. It’s violence and it’s pop-culture profanity will delight all of those who have enjoyed this aspect of Wade Wilson’s character as well as Ryan Reynolds’ funniest roles.
  • The minute details, from Deadpool’s suit, Colossus’ (Kapičić) accent  on down to Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Hildebrand), bring throwaway characters into the script, filling in gaps left by the budget.
  • The “morally flexible” nature of Deadpool separates children from teenagers down to adult children still living at home with Mom (and covered by her insurance thanks to Obamacare) spending their nights with their own special unicorn.
  • The “romance” played up to get girls to accompany the segment of males with girlfriends (and fewer with wives) works in a romantic and sarcastic way.

The story here, for those few who haven’t seen it but still plan on doing so is not a complex one. Wade Wilson is a dishonorably discharged Special Ops soldier who spends his time doing small time mercenary work in New York. He meets a Vanessa Carlysle (Baccarin), they fall for each other in that way that dysfunctionally macho nerds with an unhealthy sex obsessions do, making it through a perverted year of holidays as Neil Sedaka sings Calendar Girl. Things are going about as well as they could in the first act, when he decides to pop the big question…and immediately falls over with the cancer of all first acts.

From here, Wilson is desperate enough to leave Vanessa and subject himself to an experimental program that should simultaneously cure him as well as subject him to a lifetime of servitude as an even more bad guy. Once he’s subjected to enough of the treatment to make him horribly disfigured and unkillable, he escapes and goes to live a life of obscurity and, you know, good guy stuff. But not too much good guy stuff.

In his free time, he is still seeking out Ajax and Angel Dust (Skrein and Carano) because they tortured him a lot in giving him the cure. If that isn’t bad enough, they just do more bad stuff to other people involving shipping and receiving things that bad guys ship and receive.

If this doesn’t sound like much of a plot, that is because it is what one would call a vehicle. We really want to see and hear Reynolds as “The Merc with a Mouth” and we’ll pretty much put up with anything to get to the point where we hear him spout phrases about Ripley in Alien3, Muppet Farts and breaking the 4th wall regarding MacAvoy or Stewart being Professor X.

There is almost no point in reviewing the film. If you are not the audience for this kind of movie, you will know it almost by the time the credits roll. If violence, light perversion and pop culture references ain’t your thing then you will not get anywhere near it. If you like the quality of Deadpool’s kills and the lines he uses for all points in between, you likely have already seen the film.

There is, however, an importance to the work being done here. It’s faithfulness to the spirit of the character is vital for those who enjoy the possibility of fidelity between source material and end product. They hit as close to the mark as possible while still making it accessible to those who will never read a comic book.In this way, the film is a fantastic success. It will be watchable ad infinitum to those whose expectations are met in ways other than Shakespearean plotting.

 Helen O’Hara of Empire Magazine Podcast posits that we take the right lessons from the film. The key is to create a tone that fits the character. Amen. Many people will take this film as a symbol to add violence and crude jokes to their films, even if they don’t fit. Same thing as happened when Tarantino blew up big time. A little tiny puppy dies every time someone with a lack of awareness gets a budget enough to copy an original take into something less relevant but with more special effects.

Still, there are those with a certain inflexibility in their morality that will find this tough to take in any capacity. I understand this viewpoint, even if I don’t share in it. Life will go on just fine for those people as they wait for Superman to go back to not killing people. Point is, it is not the goal of this reviewer to comment on the morality of the contents herein. As Ebert said, the goal is to represent if the filmmakers accomplished their objectives within the framework of the type of entertainment they are putting out in the world.

In this case, the film works well within its bounds. The camera work is inspired for the most part. The dialogue is crisp and rich with almost as many memorable lines as Anchorman. If the movie is slow at points it fails to garner as much enthusiasm with the girl in distress ending on the giant special effect. There are some good fights between the secondary characters. There is a moment where Deadpool has a choice to make that is truly within character.

In the quest for honesty, I will be skipping the love story, Deadpool vs. Ajax and a lot of the T.J. Miller stuff (especially if he isn’t onscreen with Reynolds). That is okay though. There is plenty more to absorb beyond this. The rest is a valuable nugget for many immature men, reviewer included.

(***1/2 out of *****)

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