By James Hancock February 11th, 2016
Superhero movies like any genre of escapist entertainment are always at risk of growing stale through repetition and familiarity. With such a tsunami of movies and television shows on this front, critics and cynics are constantly warning about the threat of something called superhero fatigue as if it were an STD we simply haven’t diagnosed yet. In my childhood in the Eighties there was such a dearth of superhero content that I was willing to watch anything where the protagonist wore spandex (even the 1987 catastrophe Superman IV: The Quest for Peace), but we now live in an age of riches with so many options to choose from that we have the luxury of behaving like spoiled connoisseurs, picking and choosing which superhero movies and shows we wish to follow or acknowledge as official canon. Deadpool is something new, that rare movie in this genre that I love perhaps a little too intensely that is going to force the entire community of superhero fans to sit up and take notice. I don’t care if you’re a Marvel purist who only watches movies that take place in the official MCU or if your heart goes all aflutter at the sight of the teen heartthrobs featured on the CW, Deadpool is an R-rated, uncensored, hysterical game changer that is going to make so many overly earnest competitors in this field seem hopelessly old fashioned by comparison.
If you’re unfamiliar with the character of Deadpool aka Wade Wilson, I wrote a piece a few weeks ago that will tell you all you need to know, but honestly you can walk into this movie cold and enjoy the story just fine. The key ingredient that makes the character Deadpool tick in the comics is that he is aware that is a fictional character and frequently breaks the fourth wall to talk to his readers. Director Tim Miller absolutely nails this side of the character along with all the other strange details of his personality such as Wilson’s shameless taste in Eighties music, love of chimichangas, insanely deadly combat skills or his fractured mental state that frequently borders on madness. I don’t think I’ve ever liked Ryan Reynolds in a movie before but I absolutely loved his interpretation of this character. It feels like he has been waiting his entire career to stop being a musclebound pretty boy and become the foul-mouthed, completely perverse, but strangely tender-hearted Deadpool. At its core, Deadpool is a love story with the added bonus of near-constant bloodshed and a few cameos by the X-Men. The movie starts right in the middle of the action and then slowly fills in the details of Deadpool’s origin as the story goes. Personally I don’t ever want to see a superhero origin story on film ever again, but director Tim Miller superbly walks the tightrope of supplying us with just enough background information so that we know and love the character but never at the expense of the forward momentum of the story.
If I appear to be shamelessly showering praise on what appears to be a rather juvenile movie, I’ll be the first to admit that Deadpool is exactly that, which is what I hoped it would be all along. If constant references to masturbation and the inside of people’s assholes is not your cup of tea, then Deadpool will fill you with disgust and loathing. Personally I was having such a good time I would have walked right back in the theater to see it again if I did not feel compelled to vomit my praise for the movie onto the internet. As someone who has been reading Marvel comics his entire life, it was a huge treat finally to see a movie that gives us the character Colossus, one of my all-time favorite X-Men, a proper chance to shine as a major player on the screen. Colossus along with newcomer Negasonic Teenage Warhead bring just enough X-Men continuity into the story to make Deadpool feel like part of that universe but never in a way that feels only like teasers for future movies to come. Screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick are already at work on the greenlit sequel but I’m looking beyond that movie and rubbing my hands together with glee at the prospect of seeing an X-Force movie that incorporates Deadpool into a permanent team (see Rick Remender’s brilliant run on that comic if you’re curious about what that would entail). At any rate, chalk me up as a very satisfied fan. I love superheroes movies but I try to be the first to call them out on their shortcomings when they disappoint. If you have a love for the profane or the offensive and you’re tired of seeing generic superhero movies seemingly made on an assembly line, I promise that from the moment Deadpool begins to the moment the credits roll, you will be grinning from ear to ear for the entire experience.
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