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Deadpool

Deadpool

I wonder what they're implying about Americans and their guns with this poster?

dir: Tim Miller

2016

This was plenty enjoyable. Far more enjoyable than I would have predicted.

It’s funny, it moves at a brisk pace, it satirises itself and mockingly bites the hand that feeds, and it succeeds where it has absolutely no right to.

Yes, I enjoyed this movie.

Ryan Reynolds had no real right, imaginary or otherwise, to ever expect to succeed at his endeavour to get his own superhero franchise going. It’s just not appropriate.

First of all, he’s Canadian. Haven’t the Canadians taken enough from the rest of us? He married Scarlett Johhanson. Scarlett Johhanson. Then got bored of her and moved on. He already played Deadpool in the truly awful Wolverine: Origins or whatever the fuck it was called.

And he also played Hal Jordan / Green Lantern in the astoundingly bad movie of the same name. Did I mention that it was utterly terrible, too? Like, unwatchably, eye-gougingly terrible? Like being forced to eat a shit sandwich, while being punched in the face by someone clutching a shit sandwich?

Maybe that’s going too far. Maybe it’s not far enough.

Do you blame the man for all those failures? Seems awfully coincidental otherwise. Did he just happen to be passing by when these terrible, horrible no good movies were being made? “It wasn’t me, the movie was like that when I got here”

I’m guessing that he gives incredible head. Somehow or otherwise, he convinced people to give him another crack at the character of Deadpool, and that the only way to do it right is by making it a hyperviolent sweary R-rated sweaty fuckfest of a movie.

And that’s pretty much exactly what they delivered. This isn’t the first of its kind, and doubtless it’s going to result in a lot of substandard “me-too!” attempts to muddy the superheroic waters with salty language and more gratuitous violence. And really, that’s not such a bad thing. Action films have been gradually watered down and made way too generic out of economic necessity (keeping the classification rating low to presumably get more bums on seats) to the genre’s detriment. That doesn’t mean that gratuitously violent and sweary / boobs etc action flicks are a step in the right direction either.

I didn’t love the Kick-Ass flicks, because they seemed like a calculated and cynical attempt to aim at a specific demographic (compulsive masturbating middle aged track suit pant wearing nerds) tired of PG rated fodder. But that’s virtually everyone now, isn’t it, minus the sweat pants, maybe? For me there’s no doubt that Kick-Ass, despite coming out way before Deadpool, was essentially a pre-emptive rip-off of what this does, and does way better.

I know enough about the character to know that this is a decent representation of The Merc with the Mouth, even down to the fact that he talks non-stop to the audience throughout the whole fucking movie, which is in line with the comics, apparently (which I have never read and never will need to, thanks to this movie).

When it comes to comic-book movies now, well, damn, I just want something different from what they’ve consistently delivered up to now, and Deadpool does exactly that. I am neither interested in just watching buildings collapsing or in save-the-world threats, because, c’mon, we’ve all seen enough of that shit.

Deadpool’s stakes are so low they’re almost absurd. Deadpool really hates a guy, and is happy to kill twenty or thirty people in order to get to him, in order to kill him. And that’s it. All the while, he is endlessly chattering, chattering, chattering to us. To us specifically, in that he knows he’s a character in a movie, and that we’re the audience. He makes jokes about being in the movie to other characters in the movie. How avant garde!

At one stage, when some X-Men characters get involved (perhaps unnecessary but beautifully unnecessary at that), and one of them refers to the leader of the X-Men, Prof Xavier, eternal smartarse Deadpool / Ryan Reynolds asks “Stewart or McAvoy?” referring to the two actors who’ve assayed the role, once even in the same film.

He, being Deadpool, even makes multiple references to Ryan Reynolds, and even implies that he had to play with Hugh Jackman’s balls in order to get his own movie. It’s what they open the movie with – the idea (not the image of, unfortunately) of Jackman’s smoothly shaven testicles.

This is on top of an ironically frozen but multi-dimensional opening scene of incredible carnage and multiple people meeting their violent ends. One of them is even getting a wedgie as heads fly and cars upend themselves all over the place.

From there a pretty simple backstory ensues explaining how Wade Wilson, a shitty

Some people love this kind of shit. Others loathe it with the white hot fury of a thousand insecure white people protesting against refugees. I’m on the fence about it generally, but I did find it funny in this one instance.

As irritating and as insincere as the Canadian is, as are most, truth be told, I actually think he’s perfect in this role. It’s one of those occasions where you can’t really imagine a single other person on the planet in the role. Not only because he’s already done it once before.

Whatever backstory they’ve previously stated for the character, they redo it here completely, so it’s all about his origin as a cancer patient given a second chance at life, and about how completely and utterly nuts he is after a very radical cancer treatment that triggers some kind of mutant reaction that makes him heal real good, no matter the damage, which is used to comic (sometimes sickening) effect.

He has a prostitute he really loves (Morena Baccarin), I mean, a love interest of dubious virtue, but everything he does? did? is for her, apparently? Far less explained but far funnier / stranger is the fact that he lives with a blind old woman. Why does he live with a blind old woman? I have no idea, it just exists as part of the story. Is their unlikely relationship amusing? In the immortal words of Robert “The Kid Stays in the Picture” Evans, you bet your sweet ass it is.

And always, always that chattering voice. In an alternate, worse universe, they would have gotten Jesse ‘Zuckerberg’ Eisenberg to play the role, and the movie would have been the worse for it.

The action is ever so violent but crisply done. Deadpool doesn’t fuck around, they aren’t hedging their bets, so they endeavour to make the bloody action scenes bloody, clear and entertaining in and of themselves. It allows for a certain amount of freedom. Sure, most of the people dying are faceless non-descript thugs, but it’s not like I need all enemies to have complex backstories.

Mostly, it’s trying to go for gag after gag after gag, and in a lot of instances it’s solely the delivery that pushes it over the line. Reynolds is enough of a motormouth that it hardly matters whether it’s actual dialogue or something improvised on the spot (which rarely happens, let’s be honest). TJ Miller is carving out a career for himself as a sidekick to all sorts of people, from superheroes to Mark Wahlbergs, and he acquits himself reasonably well as a ‘friend’ of Deadpool’s, and does that improvisational insult thing that has become so popular in movies since the dim, distant days of The 40-Year-Old Virgin (gee, the world thanks you for that one, Judd Apatow).

Many try, but only Melissa McCarthy has mastered that particular skill. She’s not in this flick, but she should have been, or reasonably could have been, playing herself, and it would have been okay. No-one cares about the villains, no one really cares about the heroes either (even though there’s something particularly great about the only two X-Men they could ‘afford’ for this being Colossus and, possibly the greatest superhero in the history of forever, or at least the one with the greatest name ever, Negasonic Teenage Warhead.

If nothing else, other than being awesome, she’s also the title of a great song by Monster Magnet. Ah, fond memories.

Anyway. I had a blast watching this. The tone is absolutely right and the stakes are completely non-existent. Every time they give the character the chance to ‘turn’ good, he completely fucks it up deliberately. It was FAR more enjoyable that Batman V Superman: All I Know Is Pain, and There’s Some Justice Involved Somewhere, but that isn’t saying much. I’m not sure any of these comic book properties are benefitting from a serious tone these days (which we finished off with the Dark Knight flicks methinks) so maybe complete irreverence is the way to go.

Whatever path they take, just make it fun, for Christ’s sake.

8 times Hugh Jackman’s face pops up in the most unlikeliest of places yet again out of 10

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“Looks ARE everything! Ever heard Dave Beckham speak? It's like he mouth-sexed a can of helium. You think Ryan Reynolds got this far on a superior acting method?” – it’s redundant to point out that it’s Ryan Reynolds saying this - Deadpool

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