Monday, March 14, 2016

New Release! Deadpool

Silly? Sophomoric? Sure, at times. But
there is also plenty of adult insanity in
this irreverent little treat.
Director: Tim Miller

A fun, irreverent ride through well-worn landscapes, if not exactly as great as you might be led to believe.

It's hard to dislike the general spirit of Deadpool, which is very much about sticking its tongue out and thrusting its middle finger up at the genre of superhero flicks.

Based on the character and comic of the same name, the movie traces the origin of "Deadpool", the moniker chosen by lethal mercenary Wade Wilson. Wilson is a motor-mouthed, top-notch fighter who occasionally exhibit the slightest touches of humanity, though he keeps them buried deep beneath an endless supply of filthy one-liners and string of hedonistic indulgences. Wilson eventually finds the woman of his dreams, Vanessa, a prostitute with the attitude wild enough to become Wade's soul mate. When Wilson contracts terminal cancer, he volunteers for experimental treatments which trigger his latent mutant abilities to regenerate at hyper-rapid speeds. This does allow him to easily beat the cancer; unfortunately, the process also hideously scars his entire body. Wilson also learns that he is meant to be a slave soldier sold off to the highest bidder. After escaping, Wilson adopts the name Deadpool and goes on a mission to find the twisted scientist who double-crossed him, thinking that he might be able to fix his dreadful appearance.

With an endless supply of jokes and a "f*** superheroes" philosophy, Deadpool throws everything that it has at you, from the opening scenes to the closing credits. True to the comic books, Deadpool breaks the fourth wall and frequently addresses us viewers. This might seem cheap, but it works fine if you just chalk it up to the very real possibility that Wilson has been driven insane. It's also pretty hilarious, much of the time. One of the character's other trademarks, his nonstop jokes, is on full display. Not every gag hits, to be sure, but there are so many that even when only one out of three are good, it still adds up to plenty of laughs. There is no better time like the present to make fun of superhero movies, given how ubiquitous and lucrative the genre has become in the last ten years, and Deadpool is one of the few, and certainly the gutsiest, to take the air out of the balloon.

How many superheroes would chill in a hovel with their
blind, randy roommate? I now know of one.
The other primary asset of the movie is the way it fully embraced a "hard R" rating. This movie is in no way meant for children, with language blue enough for an inmate in Ryker's solitary and violence to make Kill Bill's Bride a bit queasy. True, the violence is silly and cartoonish enough that it can hardly be taken seriously. Still, a parent would still have a lot of explaining to do if they let any kid under the age of 14 or 15 watch the gleeful brutality in Deadpool. This adult orientation is refreshing, as it allows the movie to put such ultra-violence in its proper place. That is, the world of fantasy. Even people with little stomach for violence in movies is likely to be unfazed by the utterly ridiculous carnage in Deadpool, so nonsensical is it.

I do feel that the writing could have been sharper and more clever. Still, the movie makes up for much of its lack of creativity with its strong sense of itself and ample humor. I'll definitely be returning to this one, most likely after my next binge through the Marvel Cinematic Universe or after I force myself to go hate-watch Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice next week. It'll make for a nice aperitif. Or at least a quirky, refreshing microbrew to wash out the taste of Ben Affleck's Batman.