I recently saw the movie Deadpool, and these are my thoughts about it (this review contains some spoilers). It should be noted that I am a big fan of comic books, and Marvel Comics in particular, and have been so since I was at least five years old. I am sure that fandom biases my review in some way.
Unlike the other Marvel movies I have reviewed on this blog (like Captain America: Civil War, Ant-Man, Avengers: Age of Ulton and Guardians of the Galaxy), this film is not part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but is part of the X-Men Film Franchise which is owned by 20th Century Fox. Although all of the characters in both franchises are Marvel Comics characters, the film rights to those characters are distributed among different companies.
This film is Rated “R”, and it bears that rating for very good reasons. It has a lot of graphic violence, some brief (non-genital) nudity, a somewhat explicit sex scene, profanity, and a lot of crass jokes. Indeed, this film is crass to say the least. So, if such things are not one’s taste, then this film is not for you. I am typically not a fan of such things myself – I usually avoid such films – but sometimes, as in this film, I do not mind them as they are presented in such a way that makes them tolerable. I admit that, if this were not a superhero film (a genre I enjoy), I likely would not be as accepting of these elements of the film, nor would I have been as interested to see it.
What makes this film so good is the fact that it is a superhero movie done as a comedy with action sequences done in the slick and stylized and well choreographed style of Quentin Tarentino. So, needless to say, everything in the film is over-the-top and exaggerated and wrung out for comedic effect. Unlike most other superhero films, the world is not ending and there is no great moral tragedy in the narrative. Instead, it is just a guy out for revenge, and the tone is nearly always light and bouncy, as it seems the film is out for laughs as much as it is for action thrills.
This film takes nothing seriously and that is what makes it such a good film.
The violence – though bloody and graphic – is, strangely enough, done in a very comedic way. I realize that sounds perverse – as killing and maiming are not funny – but if one steps back and accepts the unbelievably of it all, one can see the humor in the presentation. Of course, I could be simply contributing to the dulling of my own senses, so that is something to consider. I guess one could say that the violence in the film is sort of like slapstick on steroids and that makes it funny despite the gore.
Deadpool appears to suffer from some form of schizophrenia which allows him to break the fourth wall at will without undermining the structure or presentation of the film. Deadpool is also, as a character, a guy with a razor sharp quick wit (albeit often crass), and is always joking around and talking a lot. As a result, he delivers a ton of lines in a manic fast-talking machine gun like fashion throughout the film. Deadpool’s lines are hilarious and clever and his constant stream of funny lines help serve to lighten what would otherwise be pretty violent action sequences. If you combine his wit with his schizophrenia, the film becomes even funnier. His schizophrenia allows him to be unintentionally self-aware. So, for example, Deadpool (who is played by Ryan Reynolds) makes fun of Reynolds from time-to-time. Or, as another example, Deadpool observes that only two other X-Men are in the film yet they live in a giant mansion which could house dozens. This causes Deadpool to wonder aloud as to whether the budget for the movie could afford more X-Men. My favorite self-aware jokes were the digs Deadpool had on the Green Lantern movie which also started Reynolds as the titular superhero. Not even the opening credits were safe as the characters were introduced as “hot chick” or “bad guy” instead of their actual names.
So, I have to say that I truly enjoyed this film. Yes it is violent. Yes it is crass. But, if those things are not instant turnoffs, I think one will see how well this film handles those elements of the film. As my readers know, I love superhero movies, but I especially love unique and/or interesting takes on the superhero film genre, and this film certainly qualifies as that. This, perhaps even more than Ant-Man, is as much comedy as it is superhero film. Needless to say, I, and the gentlemen with whom I saw this movie, laughed the entire way through, and probably enjoyed this film more as a comedy than as a cool action film with well choreographed action sequences.