DEADPOOL Directed by Tim Miller; Written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, based on characters by Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza; Starring Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, T.J. Miller, Stefan Kapicic, Brianna Hildebrand, Leslie Uggams, Karan Soni; Running time 108 minutes; Rated R for “strong violence and language throughout, sexual content and graphic nudity”; In wide release February 12, 2016.
The merc with the mouth, Wade Wilson himself, makes it to the silver screen -- for realsies this time, not some weird alternate version in some “origins” movie starring a member of the Black Eyed Peas.
So did they do it justice? Does this cut the chimichangas? We’ve assembled our top mutants and robots to discuss the many facets of Deadpool.
Andy: If there’s one thing to say about this movie: “THAT is a Deadpool movie.” Fans of the character will be rewarded, and he’ll likely gain new converts. While not a perfect film, it’s perfectly serviceable and more fun than we deserve with a February release.
Adam: “Deadpool” is irreverent, juvenile and chock full of blood, gore and sex. I absolutely loved it! I seriously haven’t had this much fun at a movie since quite possibly “Guardians of the Galaxy”, and I can’t wait to go back and see it again once it finally hits theaters. Everything just works so wonderfully here. Not only did they perfectly write the character, Ryan Reynolds brings him to life in a way that I never thought I’d see on the big screen. I honestly thought the best version we were ever going to get was by famed voice actor Nolan North in the “Deadpool” video game and also “Marvel vs. Capcom 3.” The only redeeming value of “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” was Reynolds performance, and even that pales in comparison to the version presented here. He swaggers, struts and eviscerates bad guys. He drops one-liners and quips at a machine gun rate that never gives the audience a chance to recover. I’m sure I missed half the movie because I couldn’t stop laughing at either the script or the over-the-top action scenes. And that's not even beginning to get into all the in-jokes and easter eggs that are hidden everywhere in the film!
Bryan: I would focus in on the word juvenile for my review, sure. But that’s what I went in expecting. Deadpool at his best is a character tailor made for the sensibilities of a 13 year old and that’s what this film delivers. The action is over the top, but it plays as the cinematic equivalent of an episode of “Big Bang Theory” starring Deadpool. It’s a loose connection of random references that are supposed to mean more than they do, laced with bombastic action scenes and origin story flashbacks that weigh the story down. Having said that, I did laugh. It was an entertaining and funny movie, but lacked depth. I’ll never need to see this picture again.
Andy: It’s definitely funny. And incredibly violent. But my main problem is that Deadpool always worked best as a satire. He breaks the fourth wall because he understands he is in a comic book (or here, a movie). While there is a lot of that self-awareness in this -- and that’s the best part of the film -- it’s not near enough. Deadpool is best when it is satirizing violence and comic book tropes and exploiting them for comedy. This not only crosses the line between satirizing and glamorizing, it revels in the line-crossing and sets up a summer home there.
Adam: Exactly. And while it was extremely gory, the violence came across as more cartoony and tongue-in-cheek a la “Mortal Kombat.” That’s not to say there weren’t some cringe-worthy scenes -- I winced when he ripped his hand off -- but it was nowhere near as realistic as a lot of other action films.
Andy: All of that is a lot of fun, though. A summer home in crazy action over-the-top violence is a fun place to visit, on occasion. Deadpool is also at its best when it’s insane, ridiculous, and outrageous. And it is that in spades.
It unfortunately gets bogged down in its own origin story. The film opens and closes with a pair of eye-popping action comedy sequences, and in between there are a few deserts of boredom. As much satire as it throws at failings of various other Fox, Marvel, and DC properties, it sure never looks in the mirror at itself. The story would’ve been better served with a simple, obfuscating answer to Deadpool’s origins in much the same way Heath Ledger’s Joker told stories of how he got his scars, or like Deadpool’s appearance in the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon show. Because who cares about his origin story? He’s crazy, he’s funny -- that’s all we need to know.
Adam: Originitis does briefly set in, but it’s not nearly as bad as a lot of other superhero films, and I think a lot of that is due to how the story is told. Jumping back and forth in the timeline and juxtaposing flashbacks with what’s happening at the present helps keep things fresh instead of relying on a long drawn out scene. But yeah, you’re right. Deadpool doesn’t need a full on origin story, but the way they presented it worked well for me. And I swear if I EVER have to spend another half a movie waiting for Peter Parker to get bitten by a spider …
Bryan: I would say that those moments of the film where we delved into the origin were the worst. They weighed me down. Deadpool isn’t a character anyone cares about as far as where he comes from. Wouldn’t it have been a more bold choice to offer no explanation for his behavior whatsoever?
Andy: Exactly -- let it be like Heath Ledger’s Joker. But, let me also clarify that I loved the bits with Morena Baccarin and pre-Deadpool Wade Wilson. Their relationship is fun, chaotic, dare I say romantic? and equal to the mantle of Deadpool. Ditto for the parts with TJ Miller, who provides a lot of dry comic relief to an already funny movie.
Adam: Oh God, the scenes between Miller and Reynolds at the bar! I can’t wait for the blu-ray for the deleted scenes. Apparently, there was some dialogue between the two of them that even the director was like, “You’ve gone too far” and cut it out. I can only imagine what was so bad that it couldn’t even pass Deadpool muster.
Bryan: For me, the best part of the movie was Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead. Whenever those two were on screen, I was actually giddy. It was fun and put a smile on my face. I would have rather seen two hours of the three of them doing their thing than getting soaked in the urine of an origin story. And I know you thought Colossus was a “stick in the mud,” Andy, I can’t disagree, but he was still, I think, the best character in the film. So take that how you will.
Andy: Colossus was one of my favorite X-Men from childhood. I cried real tears when he died to cure the Legacy Virus. I cried a few, too, when Joss Whedon brought him back. Compared to what the likes of Chris Claremont and Joss Whedon have done with him, he was two-dimensional. Going back to the “Cable and Deadpool” days, Cable was a stick in the mud, too. Because that’s the way buddy cop movies work. But at least he was an entertaining straight man. Colossus was good. He just wasn’t the Colossus he could’ve been. That’s ok. This was a Deadpool movie, not a Colossus movie. And Negasonic Teenage Warhead? Awesome.
Adam: Colossus has never really gotten his due in any of the X-Men movies, so it was great to see him getting more than two minutes of screen time. His character wasn't as fleshed out as it could have been, but it's better than anything we've really gotten before. Negasonic Teenage Warhead stole every scene she was in and might just be my favorite part of the movie. Who better to put Deadpool in his place than a moody teenager?
Bryan: Overall, I think this is a passable film that’s going to please Deadpool fans more than anyone else. It’ll do business at the box office, but it’s thin. There’s nothing beyond what’s on the surface and so repeat viewings are a moot point. Go see it once, don’t expect anything intellectual whatsoever, and you’ll do fine. I’m giving it a 6.75 out of 10, which is like… what, a solid C? A passing grade, but nothing special.
Andy: I’m inclined to like it more than you. It deserves to be supported so that studios won’t worry about making R-rated comic book movies, and this certainly delivers better than the Kick-Ass films, which were also an attempt at satire. I’m at 7.5 out of 10 -- the B+ of movie scores. If this is the worst comic adaptation we get in 2016, we’re in for an incredible year.
Adam: And as I said earlier, this was fantastic for me. It was everything I could have ever hoped for in a Deadpool movie and more. If the screening rep had offered us the chance to stay seated after the movie was over so we could watch it again, I would have eagerly done so. Yeah it's incredibly crass and in parts stupid, but sometimes you need to just to let go and let Deadpool. Just don't take the kids. Seriously, keep them as far away from this as possible as it's very nearly an NC-17 movie. 9.5 out of 10