If only other superhero movies could be this R rated and not be afraid to take themselves that seriously. Because one of the major attractions that drew me to Deadpool was the angle of being an almost anti superhero cliché. Having rewatched it recently, as preparation for the sequel that’s being released in the next few days, I’m glad this charm still holds up.
In my opinion, this is the perfect role for its charismatic lead Ryan Reynolds, who I wasn’t that much a fan of prior to seeing him in this. The Deadpool character and hopefully series, has reinvigorated not only his career but also his persona as an actor, almost akin to the change I saw in Matthew McConaughey from True Detective and Dallas Buyers Club onwards.
The comedic timing and enthusiasm he brings to screen is a wonderful addition to his performance talent and has been held back by being cast in basic romantic comedy roles. I genuinely enjoyed the burst of life he added to this character, which seems almost like a perfect match for him, even though the first time he played Deadpool was completely different and was in that god-awful film X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Ryan Reynolds did his time in prison, followed the advice of his agents and Hollywood executives, and is now on top to reap the rewards that he sowed.
This is all largely thanks to the script, as indicated by the introduction credits which also mocked everyone that worked on the film, except the writers who were labeled as “the true heroes here”. And it’s clear this is the case.
I’m glad that the writers didn’t try to sugarcoat anything (though I’ve heard a few jokes were cut out) and the film overall wasn’t afraid to be brash or in your face. This isn’t to say it was simply relying on jokes that were just crude for the sake of being crude, but rather the film had a story where it was free to explore the roams of R rated humor that normally isn’t done in other superhero films like it. For me, it worked, because, for the most part, the jokes were actually witty and funny.
One of my favorite aspects about the Deadpool series is the fact that the character knows he’s in a comic book movie and is willing to subvert the typical tropes used in so many other films like it. It’s meta to the point where it doesn’t cross the line of being too full on and doesn’t rely on the hope that because it’s meta, this must make it a really cool film and I should automatically think it’s great because of it. Instead, the meta aspects are subtle enough to where Deadpool still focuses on the main story, whilst also willing to poke fun at itself when needed. The film does this not only in ways where Deadpool will break fourth walls to the audience but also in small calculated self-aware digs between dialogues with characters. Yes, there were times I thought that it was blatantly obvious that this was simply a forced joke for the sake of being meta to be funny. Overall, I still thought the balance for this style of humor was fairly well placed.
These are the only aspects that I really enjoyed about the film as the rest isn’t necessarily anything special.
From a technical standpoint, I enjoyed it most when shots were used in slow motion for the action sequences. The edits were made to be overly quick (more than likely to cheat the punches and kicks that don’t land), so it was nice to take it all in when it was slowed down which also had some humor to it. Aside from that, I didn’t really find any of the other shot choices to stand out, as everything was simple close-ups or reverse shots of characters speaking, which is a style that is very stale and safe. But thankfully on the audio end, the music selection made up for it with songs specifically chosen to reflect Deadpool as a pop-culture enthusiast antihero.
The story’s villain was basically a cookie cutter antagonist, which at least the film pointed fun at and was self-aware of, but it also meant that the last half an hour battle sequence didn’t really hold up in terms of tension. I don’t see how fighting a character who is essentially invincible, adds any depth or excitement when it’s very clear who’s going to win just based on logic. You could throw that aside as the story of this film serves more of a purpose to present you the character of Deadpool itself and the originality behind him, with everything else, is just filler.
Deadpool isn’t a hero as he will explicitly mention to you, and those notions have tried to reflect what the rest of the film wants to do: not be a traditional superhero movie, and laugh at those that do. In most ways, I’d say it does this, even if I know Deadpool is more of an antihero which still means he is some sort of a hero at the end of the day. What I came for and wanted to see was an R rated comedy that revolved around a superhero figure that would make me smile. And it did. Deadpool has enough charm for me to enjoy watching the absurdity but knowing that it, in turn, the film knows that it’s all absurd, which are features that I greatly admire.
I’m eager to see the sequel, as I’ve been enjoying all the marketing that’s been leading up to it (along with reminiscing about the promotions for the original) and I’d suggest giving this one a watch before you watch the second. See it.