I was able to catch an early screening of Deadpool, and am pleased to say that it is definitely the Deadpool movie that fans have been clamoring for since X-Men Origins: Wolverine totally tanked the character. I’ve never been a huge fan of the character, but I found the movie darkly funny throughout, and on par with similar entries like Kick-Ass or Kingsman: The Secret Service. Here are some mostly spoiler-free (as if spoilers matter here) thoughts.
For those unfamiliar with Deadpool, his whole schtick is that he’s a little bit crazy and “thinks” he’s in a comic book. He’s a mercenary who has no qualms with killing people brutally and is constantly cracking jokes while doing it. Also he heals really fast/can’t die.
First off, Ryan Reynolds is definitely the right man for the job. He is excellent in this film, really nailing Wade’s carefree, psychotic personality, and effortlessly sticking the humor at every turn. He’s been fighting for this movie for a while, and I’m so glad that he’s the guy in the suit. Most of the other acting is pretty unremarkable, though I like seeing T.J. Miller get something to do. Gina Carano’s acting has improved significantly since Haywire.
The strength of the movie is combining action and humor, and really letting Reynolds breathe. Bullet-time fight sequences with Wade’s monologue to the camera are definitely where the film shines. Anytime the film riffs on the superhero genre, it is a thoroughly enjoyable ride. The tone is set right from the opening credits sequence, and it’s absolutely what fans want out of this film.
Not surprisingly, the plot frequently makes little-to-no sense. If you’re looking for nuanced villains or motivations that make sense, you’re in the wrong the place. There’s an obligatory origin story in the film involving cancer and torture, and while the script tries to liven it up with jokes, it feels too dour for the movie it’s in. The tragic backstory is part of what makes Deadpool the character he is, but given that Wade’s personality doesn’t change much throughout the film, it largely drags down the pacing here. Thankfully, the serious moments are well-contained and intercut with the more interesting action/comedy sequences.
Deadpool is at his best when he’s breaking the fourth wall and acknowledging the format (traditionally, comic books). That goes for this movie too; there are plenty of meta-textual acknowledgements and movie references that are hilarious. Deadpool is at his worst when his humor is entirely “lolsorandom.” There’s some of that too, but most of the time, even these jokes land. Not always, but usually. Overall the humor really works, and the movie absolutely does right by the character.
There’s definitely some weird misogyny going on (though not as much as I expected, if I’m being honest). The film mostly hides it by making Wade’s girlfriend the Cool Girl™ with a similar sense of humor, but it’s still there. Sadly it’s kind of a given in a film like this. The “prom sex” joke from the trailer is the worst of it in my opinion (that I can remember, at least).
Fox reeaaally wants this movie in the same universe as its X-Men films, and drags Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (that’s actually the character’s name…?) into the film. The crossover is a bit awkward at times (which Wade acknowledges), but by the end fight, it fits just fine. Colossus in particular is an excellent foil for Deadpool’s contrasting ideology. I’m skeptical whether the reverse (Deadpool cameoing in an X-Men movie) would work nearly as well.
The music selections were definitely a highlight. Again, all for the jokes.
This is definitely a movie where what you see is what you get. If you like the trailers, you’ll love the movie. At the end of the day, either you find this brand of humor funny or you don’t. The plot is 100% generic superhero film, but really you go to this movie for the laughs, and it offers plenty of those. I definitely recommend the film to any fans of the character, or people who like violent, crude comedy in general.