A phenomenally executed self-aware anti-superhero film. But should it have been made?
Okay, relax. I liked it, 9/10, don’t hurt me. Should it have been made? Of course, this movie was fantastic. What I’m worried from its existence, is more of what it could potentially mean for the future of Marvel films. It’s terrifying due to the pattern in Hollywood where they try to recreate successful unique films. This often doesn’t work and is detrimental to both Hollywood’s turnaround and the moviegoers’ experience. But I’d rather not focus on this, so if you’d like to hear some great perspective on the matter, read Guardians of the Galaxy Director James Gunn’s rant on Facebook. Here’s an excerpt:
“After every movie smashes records people here in Hollywood love to throw out the definitive reasons why the movie was a hit. I saw it happen with Guardians. It “wasn’t afraid to be fun” or it “was colorful and funny” etc etc etc. And next thing I know I hear of a hundred film projects being set up “like Guardians,” and I start seeing dozens of trailers exactly like the Guardians trailer with a big pop song and a bunch of quips. Ugh.” — James Gunn
Alright, back to the movie. Deadpool was a great film. Why? Because it was so damn original, self-aware, witty, gruesome, cinematically beautiful, well written, hilarious, and fun. It doesn’t take itself so serious for most of the duration of the film, yet it still feels like a really well-made action-adventure movie. It’s a superhero film laced with a commentary about superhero films and the industry behind those films. After the movie, just as I felt after Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-man, there was something extremely refreshing about watching a Marvel film like this. It was unique, hilarious, and had characters that felt more true to reality. It balances escapism with reality, blurring the lines between the superhero universe with our own.
Deadpool is covered with elements that oppose the stereotypical super-hero film. Such as a unique love story, interesting dialogue (the breaking of the fourth wall actually worked quite nicely), badass action sequences that feel new and interesting, and a soundtrack provided by our main character’s personal music collection. It’s also an R-Rated film, which is daring in terms of marketability (in the sense that this is a Marvel film that won’t have an audience of all ages), but is really smart for the subject matter and character.
This movie would not work at all as anything but an R-Rated film. I’ve seen a lot of concern lately on Rated-R superhero films since Deadpool came out, suggesting that Hollywood will want to make all superhero films with this rating due to Deadpool’s success. I don’t think we have any reason to be concerned with future films in this sense. An R-Rating truly allows for vulgar, no-nonsense, brutal character and story to take off in the best direction. Obviously there are films that work in the PG-13 range, but with characters like Deadpool, Wolverine, Punisher, and many more, an R-Rating allows them to be exactly what they are intended to be. An R-Rating film can’t go far if the content feels entirely out of place.
We like Deadpool because we can relate to him in a sense. He’s a very real, ordinary person who is aware of the industry, what’s wrong with it, and what should be done instead of the stereotypical superhero traits. He’s aware of his place in the superhero universe. He’s not a hero. He’s using his abilities to do what he feels is right for him and the people he cares about, specifically Vanessa. There’s characters in the film that are the “straight-man” to Deadpool, such as Colossus, that gives ethical advice a typical superhero would follow. But Deadpool, he’s going to do exactly whatever he wants to do and not give a shit about the “Superhero’s Guide to Ethical Crime-Fighting”.
The characters in this film are great, as are the interactions between all of them. I loved that many of the characters are purposefully exaggerated versions of their character type at times. It really added to the self-aware nature of the film. The way each character was introduced into the story was also very well executed. We jump right into Deadpool’s personality and outlook on everything. Each character, aside from a couple, are introduced through Deadpool’s narration. All of them appearing from really interesting situations that also compliment the wit and self-awareness of the film. I can’t think of a single character that I didn’t find interesting, which is very refreshing from a Marvel film.
I also enjoyed that Vanessa’s character wasn’t portrayed as a 2-Dimensional damsel in distress, but rather a strong, interesting, character. Rather than crying and waiting for him, she continues to have control of her life and knows how to live on. She doesn’t give up and turn to mush, like many other superhero films would suggest that the hero’s love interest would do. She feels like a real person, someone who may love another person, but she doesn’t need them to be able to survive in life. She is her own person who happens to have fallen in love with someone who turned into a superhero.
The “sidekicks” and villains also worked very well. The build up of tension between these characters and Deadpool worked great for the story and gave us a clear understanding of who Deadpool is and why he’s so strongly motivated to do what he’s doing. The two x-men “sidekicks” make for some great commentary and help push the plot forward, while trying to talk Deadpool into or out of certain situations. The villain, Ajax, was great opposition for Deadpool. Lovely banter between the two and Deadpool’s hatred towards this character is fully realized and powerful. There are many scenes between these two that helps build a strong hatred from the audience to Ajax. It’s an incredibly executed origin story.
I’d say that my only qualms with the film are quite nit-picky. There are a couple of lines that seemed out of place in the film, but those are easy to ignore. Portions of the action sequences felt like they were trying to show Deadpool in extreme danger, but I never really felt like he was at an high risk of dying during these. I suppose this is a character element though, with Deadpool being able to heal himself and grow back limps (the film did a really great job at introducing these abilities). Also his cocky, witty attitude helps build the idea of immortality. He always seems to have an idea to get out of things. The only action sequence where I felt he was in actual danger and he had no idea what to do, was the final action sequence, which is exactly what the film seems to aim for. A climatic battle of tension where you and Deadpool haven’t a clue how he’ll get out of this one. I’m really curious in the direction they are going to take with his character in terms of some of the personal traits that I’ve read from one of the comic’s creators. Particularly on the statement that Deadpool is pansexual. We have portions of queer-bating in the film, but they all seem to point more towards comedy rather than hinting at his sexuality. You might think, “it’s just a super-hero comedy, stop making it about something more than that, just enjoy it for what it is,” but if Deadpool is pansexual in the comics, why would you go out of your way to alter things to make the film heteronormative? I’m not mad about this, and Deadpool is obviously in a committed relationship in this film, but I think it’d be interesting to explore in future Deadpool films.
Overall, Deadpool was a fantastic film. I thoroughly enjoyed it and am excited for the sequel. The writers (Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick) and director Tim Miller did an amazing job at creating something incredibly unique and interesting. Ryan Reynolds is Deadpool. His performance as this character was perfect. I’m so glad that everyone who fought for this film to get made had their dream fufilled. After watching this film, I’d have to say I’m interested in reading the comics while waiting for the next film. I’m very excited to see what the future of the Deadpool franchise holds.