Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Speaks Reviews: Deadpool

Still Marvel

★★★ out of ★★★★

Congratulations are in order for Ryan Reynolds. He's finally found his place in the big money superhero franchise world. He deserves it. He worked hard for it. Deadpool is a perfect character for him. Think his wisecracking Monty character from Waiting..., train him in Special Forces, put him in a red suit brandished with various deadly weapons, and there you are.

And it's a solid movie. Deadpool is a "superhero" movie that, in its knowing asides and winks to the audience, works as so much more than that. I would describe it as a blend of three things many moviegoers love. Those things being "the raunchy R-rated comedy," "the bloody action flick," and, of course, the "Marvel superhero movie." The latter for me being a genre within a genre that I can hardly stand. That, I'm afraid, is what keeps the film from greatness.

From the opening title sequence, Deadpool has you laughing. No doubt about that. The song choice and titles themselves see to that, plus there's a genius burn of Ryan Reynolds, the hunky actor, that may be worth the price of admission alone. The essentials are that Deadpool was once a former Special Forces soldier named Wade Wilson. He works as a hired tough guy in the city's underbelly. He meets a beautiful girl, Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), and falls in love, finds he has an aggressive cancer, gets in touch with a bad dude called Ajax, but really Francis (Ed Skrien), who maybe can cure him and then some, only to find himself transformed, in appearance, in a most grotesque way, then seeking revenge against the dude who did it to him. Plus, he wants his girlfriend back.

His buddy, Weasel (T.J. Miller), is in and out here and there, as the bartender of a bar so bad there is a constant daily "pool" on which bets are placed on which regular will die that day. Then, on the other hand, there's the X-Men, Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand), so desperately trying to recruit him to the good side, unconvincingly so, since, well "Marvel couldn't afford any of the cool X-Men" for a Deadpool movie. We instantly know that to be a bad joke. Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead are both awesome.

There are ample clever bits like that. In fact, the movie is made of them. Nods to other Marvel movies. Pop culture references. Hard R-rated (and quite funny) dialogue. Killer soundtrack cuts. (I dare you to try and get Salt 'n' Pepa's "Shoop" out of your head in the hours following your screening.) But not enough of it, other than the soundtrack, really stayed with me, which is a shame.

You've noticed that this website is called "Speaks in Movie Lines." That's because I grew up quoting movies at random with my friends and, really, anytime they popped up, much to the chagrin of girlfriends, family, and other such people, who have no idea what I'm referencing. I so wanted Deadpool and all it's cleverness to stick. I wanted to come out quoting genius dialogue. The best of it has escaped me. All I can remember, as far as dialogue is concerned are the silly lines Reynolds delivers during the fight sequences.

But the fight sequences are so good. This is one of the cheapest movies Marvel has made at a mere $58 million. To put that into perspective, the last big Marvel film, last year's Avengers: Age of Ultron cost $280 million. Trust me, you can tell the difference. THIS movie actually looks great, as if people are actually fighting people, instead of a computer man fighting another computer man. It is coherent and exists in realistic space, instead of a hundred things happening all at the same time while people are yelling and screaming.

The action pieces are expertly choreographed, comedic in their own right. Consider the scene on the bridge, which has been featured in most of the trailers and acts as the opening/centerpiece of the picture. The wit and intelligence of the Deadpool character is matched by the rhythm of the battle. Director Tim Miller, cinematographer Ken Seng, and the special effects people at Marvel, are obviously in perfect lockstep in how the twisted mind and humor of Deadpool should be in direct influence of how shell casings fly out of his guns and how bodies slam against windshields or highway signs or pavement.

I used the word "solid" to describe Deadpool earlier. It is. It is a special effects triumph on a modest budget for a movie of its type. It features a comedic actor in Ryan Reynolds, who owns this character, not only in the sarcastic way Reynolds speaks but how he moves his head and his body to a sometimes slapstick effect. It is Deadpool's movie, and as that, it works tremendously.

But in its wish to be different, it fails. It leaves characters underdeveloped. The chemistry between Reynolds and love interest, Baccarin, is fine, but the movie hangs way too much on that line at the end for the movie's own good. It becomes predictable. Added to that, it simply becomes another superhero movie with a big ugly grey pile of rubble all over the screen by the end.

Deadpool is three movies, as I said before. It succeeds at all three, and that is its problem: it is a funny R-rated raunch fest, a perfectly bloody action movie, then it's a Marvel superhero movie. That last part is what gets me. I hope the sequels do better...or worse.

P.S. Speaking of sequels, stay through the credits. Just trust me. 


  1. Great review! I had a good time with this, though I'm not completely in love with it. I thought all those winks and nods got really excessive, but I'm happy Reynolds got something that sticks after that disastrous Green Lantern movie. He was always meant for Deadpool.

    1. Thanks! I feel about the same way. I hope the next one surpasses this one.

  2. Great review :) I was so happy this lived up to all my expectations. I don't think I can remember many specific lines either, but I'm looking forward to a second viewing because our cinema's audience was laughing so hard I think I missed about 50% of the dialogue!
    - Allie

    1. Thanks. I had very little expectations, as a guy who doesn't get into comic book movies all that much. It was really a breath of fresh air on that front...until the very end. Lots of laughs at my screening as well.

  3. First...the image choice you used here is amazing! I was laughing right off the bat.

    Second, Colossus is probably my favorite X-Men so...shut yo mouth with the 'uncool' comment!

    Great review, bro. I look forward to seeing this. I'm not a Reynolds' fan, but his breed of humor seems a perfect fit for Deadpool.

    1. Yeah. That poster is great!

      That was the writers of this movie, not me. But in all seriousness they do well with Colossus. He is the yang to Deadpool's yin. The guy who did his voice is perfect.

      Thanks. I am not huge on Reynold's myself, but he can do wonders in the right movies. His humor his perfect for Deadpool. His real work lately was in Mississippi Grind. That movie blew me away. Reynolds is really perfect there. Have you seen that on yet?

  4. Awesome. That's all I can say about this film. So mind-blowingly awesome.

  5. Yes the end credits. The only time it was worth it to stay. That was the biggest laugh of the movie for me

  6. I liked the film, but it was a bit short. I just wanted it to go on. Also, the after credits was definitely my favorite part of the movie.

  7. I really enjoyed. Not knowing much about the character, I do think Reynolds' brand of humor played well with the character. I saw it has an origin story, so now I am intrigued for more.