Now that Deadpool has finally arrived in a blaze of obscene glory, I can finally review it! I first saw it in February at an English-only theater in Vienna with two friends who are former JETs. I then got to dangle this fact over my current JET friends’ heads as they salivated in anticipation. Fortunately for them (and for my article count), it was released in early June instead of August. However, this didn’t stop me from encouraging my companions to buy Ring Pops when we came across them at a candy shop in Jiufen in homage to Wade Wilson’s oh-so-romantic proposal to Vanessa Carlysle.
The film’s strongest point is its characters, hands down. Wade Wilson’s irreverence and near-constant breaking of the fourth wall is a joy to behold. Two of my favorite lines in the whole film both reference the X-Men franchise: “McAvoy or Stewart? These timelines can get so confusing.” and “It’s a big house. It’s funny that I only ever see two of you. It’s almost like the studio couldn’t afford another X-Man.” Another great moment is Deadpool warning Ajax/Francis against sewing his mouth shut, referring to the mind-bogglingly horrible iteration of the character in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Wade’s cry of “My most prized possession!” while the camera’s focused on an action figure of the aforementioned before tossing it aside is also worth a good chuckle.
Deadpool is not the only hilarious character, however. His bartender buddy, Weasel, is also a riot. With his deadpan delivery of opinions sans any attempt to make others feel better, I found many of his lines to be on par with Deadpool’s. His reactions to Wade’s new face are particularly enjoyable. Negasonic Teenage Warhead (and Deadpool’s reactions to her) is also fun to watch, as is her easily scandalized mentor, Colossus.
One thing I absolutely loved, amidst all the crude humor (which I do quite enjoy) is that Vanessa, a sex worker, is never treated as less human because of her profession. Even after starting to date Wade and later becoming engaged with him, it’s implied she hasn’t switched jobs and has no plans of it. This is remarkably progressive and I heartily endorse it. Sex workers are people too!
The antagonists, Ajax/Francis, Angel Dust, and the imaginatively named Recruiter, were not as compelling as their foes, but the movie pokes fun at itself for Francis, at least, with the beginning credits promising “A British Villain” (as well as ridiculing Hollywood casting tropes; the whole sequence is great http://www.artofthetitle.com/title/deadpool/). I liked Angel Dust’s interactions with Colossus, and Deadpool’s frequent child molester jokes at the Recruiter’s expense. However, considering how well handled most of the other characters were, it’s disappointing that these villains are just as forgettable as those in nearly every other recent comic book movie.
While the characters (or at least the protagonists) are incredible, the plot is a pretty generic (not actually a) superhero origin story. The various wacky flashbacks and flashforwards (and sixteen walls’ worth of breaking) help spice it up a bit. Beyond that, though, it’s fairly unremarkable. Truthfully, I think a more complicated or unique story would maybe detract from the characters, so I felt this was a good choice on the writers’ part.
The soundtrack adds to the film’s irreverence in many cases. The aforementioned opening credits scene is set to Juice Newton’s “Angel of the Morning” and the later “You’re the Inspiration” by Chicago as Deadpool imagines (rather freakish) cartoon animals running all around Vanessa once they’re reunited lend a touch of absurdity in how drastically they differ from the rest of the movie’s tone. “Careless Whisper” over the end credits and animation is also hilarious. Other songs I particularly enjoyed were “Shoop” and “X Gon’ Give It to Ya”.
Though the market is saturated with superhero films, this hasn’t stopped movie-goers from spending their hard-earned cash on them. Even the terribly written grimdark crap pitting two heroes against each other for arbitrary reasons made a decent gross. However, Deadpool is exceptional for several reasons: Not only is it now the highest-grossing R rated movie ever (even after adjusting for inflation), but the property was not well-known to the public and is not a sequel of any sort. Goes to show how interested the world is in crude superpowered anti-heroes. I can only hope that future films aren’t lifeless derivatives of what’s made Deadpool great and that the inevitable sequels are just as much fun as this first entry. Go get your freak on!