Deadpool is the newest edition to the Marvel cinematic universe and tells the tale of one of the franchise’s more infamous heroes. Ryan Reynolds plays Wade Willson, a flippant, joking mercenary who falls in love with an equally sarcastic girl named Vanessa (Morena Baccarin). Life is good until Wade is diagnosed with terminal cancer and agrees to take part in a treatment program that will also make him a superhero, run by a man named Ajax (Ed Skrein). However, when Wade learns that Ajax and his extremely painful program was just to make him into a mindless super soldier, Wade escapes, without some of his sanity, and becomes Deadpool. With super healing powers, Deadpool embarks on a sardonic quest to save his girl, reclaim his life, and get revenge, all the while joking, insulting and being gleefully insane the whole way.
The film’s sense of humor is its best and most successful asset, but also in my opinion its biggest stumbling point. From the opening title sequence, where the names of the actors and actresses have been replaced with statements of their cliched roles in the movie, you know that Deadpool will be relentless in its comedy. And it very much is, bombarding the audience with a seemingly endless barrage of jokes, most of which hit bulls eyes. The magnitude and raunchy quality of the humor in this movie is in part to the film’s detriment however. With jokes occupying almost every frame in this movie, it is left feeling a bit one note (that’s not necessarily a bad note, but singular nonetheless). There are only a couple quieter more emotional scenes to flesh out the characters, and the film ends up feeling like a standup comedy routine with a plot. This approach to conducting the feature could ring true to the comics, and I might just be nitpicking something that doesn’t conform to my expectations of common movie making. However, that doesn’t mean that the singular tone of the film made it feel a little more listless, emotionally detached, and dare I say forgettable than other Marvel productions. Now, when I say forgettable, I mean it in the loosest definition possible because I won’t be forgetting the characters, humor, or the bombastic fun time I had watching Deadpool anytime soon. It will be the plot and emotional investment that I will be racking my brain to remember.
The issues raised by the use of humor in this movie don’t stop there. With constant jokes gushing forth from Ryan Reynolds’s character, there is left little to no distinction between Deadpool’s character before and after he became a superhero and went insane. In addition, I feel as if the film has an over reliance on the shock of sex jokes, and I wish that the movie used more different types humor, especially fourth wall breaks which I have heard that there are a lot of in the comic. In fact, the abundance of adult humor makes the movie feel like it’s overcompensating and lacking any really clever jokes.
These problems I feel are to be expected from a film like this, especially considering the quality of Marvel movies in the past. In my opinion, although Marvel movies are constantly good, many do feel similar in tone. All are action adventure comedies with those two aspects changing ratios slightly from film to film. Ant-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy, although both very good films, just feel essentially the same in all aspects. With Deadpool being such a wacky, profane, and different type of superhero, they had to amp up the adult comedy aspect of the film, and it is from that unavoidable decision that all the films problems stem from.
Other than those problems the movie is quite good. Ryan Reynolds nailed the character of Deadpool, and in fact, all the characters were fun to watch, and even the villain, Ajax, was memorable unlike villains in most other Marvel movies. Although I said the movie’s sense of humor was its greatest downfall, it was still a laugh riot. Rarely have I been in a theater where people were laughing harder than in Deadpool. And I will freely admit that most people will not be bothered at all by the issues I have brought up and if you don’t care about them then this movie is a hilarious must-see for 2016. But for me, I give Deadpool a B-.
By Sam Finbury