Having Your Cake and Shoving It Up Your Ass: A Review of ‘Deadpool’

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There are little things more annoying than a moralist. And I know it is just rude to deliver a rant when one has promised a review, but in this case, certain things cannot remain unsaid. There are some characters out there -film critics among them- who will try to sell you on the idea of spending money to watch Tim Miller’s Deadpool with the argument that it is “not your typical superhero movie”. These characters will argue, Deadpool is an irreverent hero who breaks the fourth wall and addresses the camera directly in order to subvert our expectations of what a comic-book adaptation looks and sounds like.

In reality, their argument begins and ends with the fact that Deadpool is rated R. Yes, there is a lot of blood, and yes, the main character’s sense of humor is very similar to Seth McFarland’s. But dear reader, I beg of you, please, please, do not let anyone dare try to tell you that Deadpool is anything but yet another unoriginal and uninspired superhero movie. Because it isn’t.

The proof, as they say, is in the pudding. Deadpool‘s opening title sequence winkingly credits its cast with such descriptors as “A Hot Chick” and “Bad Guy with a British Accent”, seemingly sharpening its knives for what could be as much a takedown as a reinvention of the superhero genre. It’s less than thirty minutes into the movie when things become clear: this is going to be another boring origin story. After enduring quite a bit of Deadpool’s reference-filled sense of humor, the movie detours into a flashback that presents us with the man before the hero: an assassin with a heart of gold by the name of Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds).

Long story short, because you’ve surely heard this one a million times before. Wade falls in love with a sensitive woman (maybe prostitute) played by Morena Baccarin. Their relationship is awesome -and I must admit Reynolds and Baccarin do sell the hell out of the montage that details the evolution of their romance- but Wade soon learns that he has cancer. This is when the Bad Guy with the British Accent appears and offers to cure him. He does, but at a price. Wade doesn’t have cancer anymore, but he is now a mutant who can heal himself Wolverine-style. He is also deformed. He adopts the name Deadpool and decides to take revenge.

The question of “is Deadpool a conventional hero” can be answered two ways: You can say he is not a hero, and you wouldn’t be wrong. There is a subplot that delves into whether or not Deadpool is a hero, and the answer from my end is that he clearly isn’t. Sure, he does kill a bazillion “bad guys”, but we never know what bad things these supposedly bad guys are doing. They do try to kill Deadpool’s girlfriend and that’s pretty bad, I guess. The other way to answer the question is that, yes, despite his juvenile sense of humor, Deadpool is a lot like your typical reluctant hero. You see, nowadays, a movie featuring a well-hearted boy-scout good-guy hero is more unusual than a movie featuring a cynical anti-hero badass. Ryan Reynolds’s portrayal of the character fits that mold very comfortably.

The most disappointing thing about Deadpool, forgetting whether it was to be expected or not, is that the way the movie handles the character’s seeming mental illness or insanity, by which I mean the fact that the movie doesn’t handle it at all. Deadpool’s acknowledgement of the camera and the audience that is watching his own movie suggests that he lives in a different plane that the other characters in the movie. That he is either delusional, or that his mind has entered a higher level of consciousness. When we see him as Wade -before he is “cured” of his cancer- there is no acknowledgement of the camera whatsoever, and he seems like a cynical, and “funny” guy, but not at all insane.

Even after the flashback is over, there is no clear moment in which Wade lost his mind, no idea of when he started to recognize that he is a fictional character, and no hints at all that anything at all changed within him before, during, or after the horrific experiments he was subjected to. He just became ugly and decided to take revenge. This interdimensionality is, by far, the most interesting aspect of the character. This is where the movie could have turned interesting, or exciting, or challenging, or interesting. Instead, we get a completely mundane and pedestrian story peppered with a few jokes that would’ve been edgy if they had been told in 1924, but then again, nobody in the twenties would know who Limp Bizkit is.

I could talk more about the boring superhero plot of this movie, but why waste your time? Everything in this movie is mediocre. If you’re not a twelve year-old boy, or a grown man who would like to believe it’s still 1994, you have no reason to watch this movie.

Grade: 2 out of 10

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2 comments

  1. smilingldsgirl · February 18, 2016

    Your post was very refreshing. I’m kind of bummed out about the movie myself because I’ve seen what’s happened with comedies where it is exceedingly rare to get a quality non-rated R comedy. Now I fear superhero movies will go down that track. It starts with just 1 hit like the Jud Apatow movies and now they are standard fare. Sigh…Anyway the marketing campaign has been overwhelming and I’m tired of it. Even if I did watch some content the sarcasm doesnt look like my thing. Anyway I appreciate an alternate point of view when all I’m hearing is how brilliant it is. You should read Matt Singers review. He felt very similar and got so much flack for it.

  2. smilingldsgirl · February 18, 2016

    Just curious what are your favorite superhero movies? I know you’re pretty picky on them. Mine is 1. The Incredibles 2. Avengers 3. Batman Mask of the Phantasm 4. Spiderman 2 5. Big Hero 6

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