I have read precisely one Deadpool comic. It had two stories in it. One had Mr Pool dealing with an onslaught of vampires (or ‘draculas’ as he persistently referred to them, to their obvious annoyance).
Since I enjoyed that comic, I probably would’ve enjoyed reading more, but for some reason I never got round to it.
I did go watch the film last night, though. I’ve been quite looking forward to it, ever since a friend at work showed me the initial trailers. Shortly thereafter, I found myself downloading and listening to music tracks by – gods help me – Salt-n-Pepa and DMX. Not my kind of music at all, under normal circumstances, which I think showcases the raw power of the Deadpool movie.
Oh, all right. It’ll probably take more than that. And if I’m honest, I do still spend most of the run time of those two tracks arguing with the lyrics, just out of principle.
But they made a film. We Watched It. It Was Good.
Yeah, I was never great at reviewing stuff.
If I was doing this properly, you know, Roger Ebert-style (may he find an afterlife full of perfect movies, or imperfect ones if it’s more fun for him), I’d give you lots of intelligent critique about the direction, the lighting, the sets and costumes, the exact techniques employed by the actors… But I know next to nothing about all that stuff, and frankly none of that’s really what Deadpool is about anyway.
This movie is one long piss-take of superhero movies in general and Marvel’s X-Men series specifically. It’s not a hateful piss-take – perhaps that’s the wrong term. Perhaps I should say it’s an affectionate send-up. There are countless in-jokes, references and snarky little asides, from the genius of the opening credits (informing us that the movie stars “God’s Perfect Idiot”, is produced by “Asshats” and written by “The Real Heroes Here”) to the moment when Deadpool, told he’ll be taken to the X-Men mansion to see Professor X, asks, “McAvoy or Stewart?”
The jokes and gags are a barrage: it could easily be one of those ridiculously quotable movies were it not for the sheer number of lines you’d need to remember. If you have a memory like mine, I suggest you don’t even try. Just laugh at them as they sail past.
Ryan Reynolds is basically this movie all by himself, although the British Villain (‘Ajax’ – like the soap powder) is quite sneeringly sinister, and Deadpool’s barman friend plays off him quite well in some of their scenes together. Deadpool’s unimpressed X-Person allies, Colossus and – ahem – ‘Negasonic Teenage Warhead’ (yes, really), were a little two-dimensional – although to be fair to their actors they weren’t supposed to be anything more.
They were just stock X-Men that Deadpool could bump up against and I really should have phrased that better given the nature of the film. And they represented one of the movie’s key problems-or-possibly-strengths-I-haven’t-worked-it-out-yet, and that’s the licensing issue. The producers weren’t licensed to use characters from existing X-Men movies, so Wolverine, Professor X, Rogue, Cyclops and the like don’t appear. (Don’t worry: Deadpool himself is well aware of this. And it is a very big mansion, isn’t it?)
The movie is hilariously funny, but it’s also extraordinarily violent. There are beheadings, squashings, severings of extremities, guttings and bullet-holes aplenty. The thing is, though, the overall tone of the film is so over-the-top – in a good way – that the brutality sort of doesn’t really matter. You might think that a bad thing, I don’t know – but as someone who isn’t enamoured of violence for the sake of it I found Deadpool much less disturbing than 2012’s Dredd. Possibly because Dredd (otherwise a pretty good film) took itself so terribly seriously – whereas Deadpool does the exact opposite.
I guess it’s similar to why I find shooty games like Saints Row IV (caricatured and comical and colourful) less unsettling than, say, Call of Duty (very, very serious and realistic and brown).
But it’s weird: I didn’t get disturbed – really disturbed – until after the movie had finished, and we left the cinema, and I overheard a (fairly loud) conversation behind us between a man (as far as I could tell) and a woman (as far as I could tell):
Woman: “It’s a bit violent, though; I don’t think they should see it.”
Man: “Oh, it’s fine. They won’t mind seeing people beheaded, it’s only like the games. There was quite a lot of swearing though, wasn’t there?”
I’ll leave it to memes to sum that one up for me: