R. It's Deadpool. We're not in 2016 anymore. You can't assume that because a movie is about a superhero that it's for everybody. I know. Somehow, Deadpool has fallen under the radar for someone. This movie has all of the offensive content. The most regular offensive stuff is just the over-the-top language. But then there's some absurd ultra-violence. There's all kinds of sexuality and nudity. Really, you name it, this movie is proud to have it. Also, T.J. Miller is in it. R. All the R.
DIRECTOR: Tim Miller
Geez, I'm analyzing Deadpool. I knew that if I started doing entire collections, I would have to run into stuff that I didn't really want to write about. I'm not above Deadpool. It's a fun movie. Is it the greatest R-rated movie ever? Not really. Some people treat it like that. I know that it made the most money for an R-rated film. As fun as I thought that Deadpool was and the attitudes behind it were somewhat reassuring, there are so many R-rated movies that need to get this kind of money at the box office.
Like a lot of movies that have an intense fanbase, I have to say that the fanbase kind of ruins it for me. Normally, I'm a big supporter of fandom. But there's something particularly tiresome about cosplaying as Deadpool. Maybe it's because he's so mainstream. This is the hipster blogger talking. I'm the jerk who prides himself on his obscure Halloween costumes. I once covered myself in Kryptonian glyphs and was a Phantom Zone escapee. I was Jake from Chinatown one year, removable bandage and all. I was Morgan from Chuck. And the thing that impresses me about cosplayers is the amount of detail and obscurity that some of these costumes go into. I'll never really fall in love with the Deadpool movie because the concept of Deadpool makes me roll my eyes a little bit. This is on me. This is my snobbery getting in the way of a good time. Because Deadpool is mostly a pretty good time. Ryan Reynolds fought to make the characters fun and like the comic, perhaps with a bit more R-rating than I'm used to, and he completely succeeded. I think I've talked about this before, especially when it comes to the licensing of Spider-Man to the MCU, but it is absolutely insane to me that the behind-the-scenes studio nonsense is really public knowledge. People didn't know why certain things could or couldn't happen in a movie. The fact that Who Framed Roger Rabbit? exists is mind-blowing. But Deadpool's claim to fame is not that an R-rated superhero movie completely dominated the box office. Deadpool is a success because it is mostly a victory of creators versus studio execs who think that they know better.
There's still some stuff that you can smell execs on in Deadpool. Really, I don't think that Tim Miller really wanted Deadpool to physically look like the other X-Men movies, but he lost that battle. It really stands out when Wade is getting his powers. The whole look of edginess, mirroring some of the Weapon X stuff is tonally off. I really want to state what is going on here. I think that a movie like Deadpool can have some of that edginess to it. An action comedy doesn't have to be all laughs. But using the visual similarities of a lot of the other entries seems like studio flexing. But that stuff, in the long run, is pretty minor. There is one famously rough moment for Deadpool which is completely admirable that they worked through. The studio, having no faith in this project, apparently cut the budget at the last minute. You know how Wade packs all of those guns? Apparently, he was supposed to use all of those guns in the big finale. It was going to be a fireworks show. But the studio cut the budget and Miller with his team had to figure out how to make the scene work. Honestly, I don't know how they pulled it off, but it worked. Having Wade lose all of his guns made the scene great. First of all, the joke works. Forgetting the backpack in the car is a stroke of genius. But then, it also made Deadpool appear to be a force of nature. He's clever. He's oddly competent at stuff like this. It's baller, really. It actually sells the movie better, in my mind, than an outright gunfight. Mainly, because it would try to break new ground, but it would just be derivative. I am forced to think of Shoot 'Em Up and similar ultra-violent epics. But the end becomes much more about character. Also, really? A gunfight in a Deadpool story just reads as kind of boring. I know. It sounds weird. But it's such a distant thing. Having him work around that problem is the best thing for the movie.
I am very impressed by the fact that this movie exists, but it only really works as a comedy. I'm sorry. It has fun action, but if you excised the heavy amount of comedy from this movie, it REALLY doesn't work as a good film. Deadpool's origin is really confusing at best. Is he a mutant? Why is he allowed to gain his mutant abilities so late in life? Wade Wilson regularly exposed himself to high stress situations. Wouldn't those mutant abilities appeared earlier? Then, the rest of the movie is a "save the princess" storyline with a little bit of a lame Punisher vengeance arc on top of it. Wade is basically angry for being made ugly. I know. He was double-crossed and was about to be sold into super-slavery, but he got out of that. He's really hunting down Francis because Francis is able to make him look normal again. I almost prefer it to be because of the way he treated him at the facility. I know. It's part of it. But this kind of transitions me into something that almost makes Deadpool a kids movie. The honest-to-goodness moral of the story is "It doesn't matter what you look like. It's what's on the inside that matters." That's some ugly duckling nonsense. The victory is in the comedy. But superhero movies have come so much further in terms of character and plot that Deadpool really feels kind of antiquated. Yeah, I adore the jumps in the the narrative. But that's part of Deadpool's meta narrative. It's a gimmick that's so good that it makes you forget that it is a gimmick. But I think a lot of Deadpool's appeal is that audiences weren't really expecting that. I'm in a category of people to whom the movie doesn't sell as hard as it could. The general audience probably wasn't expecting a movie so in your face with its meta narrative and its childish humor. Hardcore Deadpool fans were a movie that really understood the character and got as close to a Deadpool comic as you could get. (Sure, you couldn't get the multiple personalities, but that's still very impressive.) I'm the guy who knew what he was signing up for. I knew that Deadpool was zany. I am glad that it was a zany movie. But I also don't adore Deadpool. He's fine. He's great. It's just that I expect good storytelling too.
I try to review franchises in order. I got a little all over the place because I didn't own some of the Wolverine movies. Also, I started this blog the same year that Deadpool 2 came out, and I already have something on that. But watching the first Deadpool movie actually reminded me of the constantly shifting understanding of what's funny. Sure, emotions change over time. I don't know if the writers changed, but Deadpool 2 seems cultural aware and straight up woke compared to the first Deadpool movie. I'm going to take a big step back and just state the obvious. Neither Deadpool film is necessarily responsible with its humor. It's first goal is to make people laugh. But watching Deadpool made me cringe a couple of times. It also really suffers from the fact that I now think that T.J. Miller is an icky dude. I know. Roll your eyes and call me a snowflake, but it's so weird to think that this only came out in 2016. That's no time at all. Maybe it is because of its lewdness and devil-may-care attitude towards the politically incorrect that shepherded audiences to the theater. I'm not saying that Deadpool is fundamentally conservative or progressive, but I get the vibe that some red states totally adored Deadpool. I'm completely speaking from the hip on that one. I just get the vibe.
Also, why isn't Wade really ugly? I should have talked about this when it came to the theme. I mean, the real Deadpool (and by real Deadpool, I mean the drawing of the character) is super gross to look at. You can see the muscle peeking through the skin at times. He has haunting yellow eyes and doesn't even look human at times. He's constantly rotting away. One of the running gags in the movie is everyone, especially Weasel, commenting on how it is impossible to look at Wade because he's so gross now. But really, he looks like a bald and pock-marked Ryan Reynolds. It's such a choice. I know that make up artists can do a lot more than what we get to see in the film. Again, this might bring me back to the studio making decisions. I know that there was no faith in the character, but there was also some hedging of bets. People still wanted to connect to Ryan Reynolds. I'm sure that someone threw around the word "toys" at one point. There had to be that guy who wanted to sell toys of an R-rated movie to kids. It's so weird how many times the running gag happens and he's not that terrible looking. It actually makes the story way weaker because Wade is terrified to scar Vanessa. But instead, it makes her look completely superficial and like a monster because she can't handle a scarred Ryan Reynolds. Like, if the story is about making someone look so gross that he can't return to humanity, it should be absolutely horrifying.
Anyway, it is really hard to talk about Deadpool as a piece of work. All I can think of is the corporate nonsense that went into making this movie. It's a movie that only got made because someone leaked some buried test footage of the movie and it went viral. An illegal act got this movie made. I mean, thank goodness. I enjoy the two movies for what they are. But I also know that if Disney does anything with the character, the story better be ttiiiiiggggghhhhtttt...
Film is great. It can challenge us. It can entertain us. It can puzzle us. It can awaken us.
Mr. H has watched an upsetting amount of movies. They bring him a level of joy that few things have achieved.