Director: Tim Miller
Writer: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick
Based on: Rob Liefeld and writer Fabian Nicieza‘s comic character
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Ed Skrein, Morena Baccarin, Gina Carano, Stefan Kapicic, Brianna Hildebrand, T.J. Miller, Leslie Uggams
Seen on: 11.2.2016
Wade (Ryan Reynolds) used to be a special forces agent, now he’s a mercenary and he’s very much in love with Vanessa (Morena Baccarin). Things should be simply great, but then he’s diagnosed with cancer and his chances aren’t good at all. In his desperation he agrees to an experimental treatment administered by Ajax (Ed Skrein). But the treatment doesn’t go quite as planned. While effective, it is also torture, leaving Wade healthy and with superstrength and healing abilities, but also with a burnt face and a thirst for vengeance.
Deadpool was funny and entertaining and as juvenile as can be expected from this film. It’s far from perfect and there were quite a few things I took exception to, but overall, I enjoyed it a whole fucking lot.
Deadpool is a “a gag a second” film, basically and it’s no wonder that in the plethora of jokes – most of which are suitably juvenile for the character – some will fall flat. Given the R rating and the usual contention that Deadpool is not necessarily “politically correct” on the one hand, and my political stance and sensibility on the other hand, there is a surprisingly small amount of jokes, though, that rubbed me the wrong way. For that, I can only thank the high heavens and the writers who understood that (for example) sex-themed jokes don’t necessarily have to be sexist, misogynist and/or rapey.
Nevertheless let me spend some time pointing out where I think they did miss their mark after all. The most obvious way where they went wrong was with the ableism. Wade moves in with Blind Al (Leslie Uggams) at a later point in the film. Blind Al is, unsurprisingly, blind and in the film she is absolutely incompetent. Dropping things, running into things, etc. That is simply insulting to blind people everywhere who manage just fine in their lives. Another factor in the ableism package was Wade’s obsession with his burnt face and his conviction that he was too ugly for the world. I could have lived with it, if it was shown to be simply in his head and something he has to get over, something he struggles with. But in his exchanges with Weasel (T.J. Miller) where Weasel confirms how ugly he is, those internal fears become externalized and thus more than just Wade’s struggle with self-acceptance. And for that to be even remotely called-for, he would have to look a whole lot worse. It’s not quite as bad as Beastly in that regard, but almost.
Apart from the ableism there was also the matter of Wade’s sexuality. Wade is canonically pansexual and the film’s marketing supported that fact. In the film itself, there is not much left of that, unfortunately. Wade does make some sexual jokes towards guys (which came very close to being assaulty, at least in one instance, unfortunately), but the way we are used to seeing non-straight sexuality on screen means that it becomes a straight guy performing homoerotic attraction to gross somebody out as a tactical advantage, not actual expression of his own sexuality. There is only one moment in the film where Wade participates in sex that isn’t “one cis man, one cis woman, penis in vagina” sex and in that scene, he is deeply uncomfortable. (I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: Deadpool would have loved International Women’s Day.) It’s just a wasted opportunity to really make that part of the character into something more.
There were a couple of other things that I thought questionable (Vanessa becoming the damsel in distress for one), but I’ve already spent quite some time pointing out the things I didn’t like about a film I very much enjoyed, so I’ll leave the negative stuff there. For the most part, Deadpool is a hilarious film and delivers exactly what you’d expect and want if you have any love for the character from the comic: the breaking through the 4th wall, the constant cracking of jokes and a huge amount of sarcasm. Reynolds inhabits the role and you can feel how much he cares about getting it right (this time). His interactions with the X-Men felt also very true to form. Generally, Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand makes quite a big screen entrance) and Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) were great characters. Castwise, I pretty much only have on complaint: I would have loved to get a little more of Angel Dust (Gina Carano) but then I usually like more Gina Carano in my films.
Altogether, Deadpool is a hugely entertaining romp and I’m looking forward to the next film where they hopefully get even more stuff right.