Deadpool : The pink paste that Disney pushes through its superhero franchise machine to create nuggets of varying shapes and sizes, yet all bear a striking taste and resemblance to each other, has slowly been wearing down my metaphorical film-tastebuds. My fatigue of the modern superhero film is so refreshingly shared by Deadpool. The film is the equivalent of meeting a stranger who shares your outlook on life. A stranger who is ok with jokes about brutally murdering people, a stranger who actively subverts what is expected of them and a stranger appears to be able to speak beyond my dimension to the ‘audience.’ That stranger is in therapy now.
Meta than the rest. Deadpool knows the time it exists in. It is very aware of the conventions and tropes that currently bind (most) modern superhero films and ridicules them. From ridiculing its own (relatively) meagre budget, to the messy state of superhero timelines and the PG-13 nature of other superhero films Deadpool is hilariously on the nose. Like a preteen mocking your intelligence, a lesser film would not be able to ridicule the giants that are modern day superhero franchises. Deadpool’s first act is refreshingly light and low stakes for a superhero film. Set up more as a romantic-comedy film with occasional action rather than an action film with occasional comedy.
The little film that could. Deadpool is a surprisingly simple film when viewed from a distance. This small scale works amazingly well for Deadpool. It helps us believe many of the character’s disinterest when it comes to the main conflict. Between choosing between TJ Miller hilariously downplaying the film’s importance and a threat which loomed over the planet as we know it, I choose TJ Miller. The small stakes are matched with an equally small cast of characters. No characters are shoehorned in for extra ‘synergy points’ (though there is a fair bit of name dropping). The cast is small and well developed. Colossus and his sidekick have no right to be as endearing as they are, but manage it anyway. Their goals are as well defined as Deadpool’s and their personalities interesting and, of course, subversive enough to make me give a damn. Where the film’s character work falters is with its villains. Ed Skrein makes himself as dislikable as his character can be, but without any real motive or definition, his character barely has any depth. I barely remember the details about his sidekick, whose only real points of interest is her superpow- I mean mutation and a great gag towards the rear end of the film.
Angel Of The Mourning. Deadpool is without a doubt a showcase for its main character, non-italicized Deadpool. The film is very upfront about Ryan Reynolds being Deadpool and he fits so snugly into the mold that it even the performance blurs the line between reality and entertainment. He and Morena Baccarin have great chemistry and maintain a romantic relationship which, for the first time in a long time in superhero films, felt real. Morena Baccarin infuses her character with the same wit and madness as Deadpool himself. To top it off, Deadpool is a competent and well-made action film. Slow motion helps make sense of the chaos, shots are clean and allow you to see the action in its entirety and the choreographing is brilliant. My only gripe about the action segment of the film is the fast editing. Clarity suffers occasionally when the cuts get too fast.
Sixteen walls. A huge gripe I had with Deadpool was its structure. Oddly enough, all of the film’s jokes about the state of superhero films doesn’t save it from being formulaic in some areas. The third act is your average superhero attacks dozens upon dozens of grunts before reaching the main villain who is on a slowly disintegrating <insert anything that can slowly disintegrate>. I’m not quite sure why the writers thought to have Deadpool square off against anyone in a situation where only one will leave alive was a good idea seeing as they gave Deadpool invincibility. This pulls any meaningful tension out of the sequence and you end up with a low-stakes battle. The film does suffer some confusion over what tone it was going for, but for the most part, keeps a consistent playful feel.
Deadpool could have easily relied on its gimmick and been a refreshing superhero film. Instead, it tries and is a refreshing and well-crafted superhero film.