Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Deadpool


   My feelings about this movie are well documented, much to the lament of my Facebook friends. I was so fed up with the half-informed 'fanbase' that I would run into on a daily basis that- no, I'm serious. The kind of asshats who think it's cool to try and talk to you like Deadpool, with all the sass, sarcasm, and snark. FYI, you just sound like assholes. Anyways, I was so fed up with these asshats that my positive outlook towards the movie was starting to circle the drain, to put it mildly. Vitriolic hate rants and cherry picking negative reviews to repost were just the tip of the iceberg. Not to mention, I was really sick of hearing about how revolutionary this R rating was, and how the only thing catching on from the marketing was dick jokes. Nevertheless, I told everyone... I'll be open to the movie, and if I'm wrong, I'll eat my words with a slice of humble pie...

   Lemme just tell you now... words and humble pie don't taste so great. Especially not in massive servings. I'm really muscling past my gag reflex here. Goddammit, I liked Deadpool. I still maintain that while an R rating was buckets of fun, it might not have been essential to tell a faithful story. There's a massive group of revisionist dickheads who think Deadpool has always been wall-to-wall gore and profanity when once upon a time, in some of his best and earliest material, his comics were not much harsher than an edgy issue of X-Men. Oh the 90's, how I miss you. Anyways, new fan or old, you'll probably really enjoy Deadpool.

   The movie hums along on an energetic vibe, doling out jokes, action, and nude-ass exposition as necessary- and all in semi-equal measure. While the movie has it's immature moments, it's funny side is far from the 'YouTube poop' brand of humor I feared it would be. Most of the jokes are offhand pop culture references or a blink and you miss it visual gag. Then there's Wade's personality, which is spot on. I seriously doubted Reynolds. Like, seriously. But, he proved me wrong. He completely nailed the character and he brought so much life and energy into the movie- which is surprisingly emotional. I didn't see that coming either. I guess after a while I tuned out the advertising and marketing,

  In fact, there's actually a very strong emotional core to the whole movie and it's easy to miss how it influences every scene around it because you're so caught up in the action and humor. But, make no mistake- there's a method to the madness. The villain of the movie actually sneers at Wade halfway through his origin story transformation into the red-suited merc we all know and love. The villain says, "No sense of humor survives this place", and Wade retorts, "Oh, we'll see about that...". It can be seen as such a small exchange or... as one of the most important moments in the entire movie. Wade's sense of humor obviously survives, and that's no small feat considering.

  Wade goes through some seriously horrific stuff in this movie, and the filmmakers were wise to not undercut the straightfaced dramatic tension with humor, but instead save it for the action scenes and such. Anyways, Wade's life becomes a horror movie quite fast, and a tragedy at that. So, with his life and looks stripped from him, his sanity stomped on, and all the torture he was subjected to- it's quite the amazing act of defiance and strength that he's ever able to crack a joke again. Any other origin story would've turned the protagonist into a stone-faced, man of revenge under an oath of silence or some shit... not someone who can crack wise with an Indian taxi cab driver and pay his fare with a high five. I could just be making more out of this than there is, but I don't think I am.

   Anyways, the movie isn't perfect. It's not mind blowingly amazing as some eager 'fans' would have you believe. It's par for course with movies like Kingsman: The Secret Service, or Kick-Ass. I like it slightly less than the former, but quite a bit more than the latter. It's R rating is nothing special in and of itself. Kingsman, Kick-Ass, Wanted- were all probably worse. Kick-Ass was much more disturbing and the controversy hype around that movie died down crazy fast. Whatever Deadpool has, it doesn't have an 11 year old girl impaling and dismembering grown men with various blades and knives. It also doesn't have a scene where said girl's father graphically burns to death right in front of her. So much hype, so much controversy around Deadpool, and in the end... it's R rating is... well, kinda standard fare.

  The only reason this particular rating got so much attention is because Deadpool is a Marvel character, and he's sharing a universe with the X-Men here- a consistently PG-13 franchise. I mean, okay? So what? The violence is so fast and cartoonish that it's not all that shocking, kids probably hear worse dirty jokes at school, and what- some boobs in a strip club scene? Please. Not that graphic. Not to mention THE BAD WORDS. My own little brothers have already seen movies rife with profanity as bad as anything in this movie. Plus, the dirty humor in Deadpool would probably actually go clean over the heads of anyone under... 12 maybe. I myself laughed at most of the jokes in the movie, which is 90% more than I was expecting to laugh at.

   Even critics who've been positive towards this movie have been highly critical of the plot structure and the amount of jokes that land vs the ones that don't. I gotta say, neither of those things were an issue for me. Not much of one anyways. Maybe a small handful of jokes didn't stick the landing? I couldn't even tell you. Most did though. The plot structure was odd, but nothing came to a screeching halt like people had said. I found Reynolds' scenes as Wade to be weirdly charming in an killer-with-a-heart-o'-gold type way. He's funny and genuine, and I enjoyed his performance. Anyways, the two X-Men characters in the movie were cool and almost scene-stealingly fun- even if the majority of their good parts were spoiled in the trailers.

   In conclusion, Deadpool's small-ish budget held back it's scope and scale, and while it tries to make it's villain compelling it never really succeeds. But, most of that is irrelevant because the movie is so much vulgar, dirty, and infectious fun despite itself. It never buckles under the weight of it's good-natured humor, and manages to deliver on the basic promise of any respectable action movie: lots of ass gets kicked. Guns, knives, swords, explosions, some kung-fu shit, and one really epic car crash. It was faithful enough to the brand and flavor of Deadpool that I love, while also being inclusive of the more comedy driven iterations at the same time. It pulled off a delicate balancing act and I really enjoyed it. So much humble pie, so little time. The movie was fast, fun, exciting, and while flawed- deeply so, it's still a damn good time.

   Fuck me running, I liked Deadpool. A lot.

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