Not usually one for going to opening weekends for movies, I attended last night’s showing of Deadpool while visiting Iowa. As I silently predicted, the seats were rubbish. With it projected to do $117 million this weekend, and a strong rating on the tomatometer, getting to the movie – even the 9:45pm showing – 10 minutes before it started was always going to be tough. So yeah, crap seats – but actually, a decent audience.
The movie is being hailed in all quarters as some kind of breakthrough for the superhero subgenre. I certainly wouldn’t go that far, but it was somewhat refreshing for it not to be yet another safe adaptation. A Deadpool movie could easily have been just another family friendly PG-13 yuckfest, and I suspect if it had been made by Marvel Studios, this would have been exactly the case.
Still, the fact it was made by Fox, who I consider to be handling their Marvel properties with extreme ineptitude (see Fantastic Four, and the insanely bad handling of the X-Men timeline), it’s almost a bigger surprise that the result is actually pretty decent.
It must be said though – other than the non linear storytelling, and the raunchiness of the character, the plot itself is pretty standard superhero fare, and is pretty thin throughout. It’s obvious that the only real attraction here is Ryan Reynolds’s (Green Lantern, Self/Less) interpretation of the character. I wasn’t terribly invested in the story and the other characters come off pretty two dimensional. The only side conflicts come in the form of two X-Men characters facing off against one bad guy in an unimaginative punching match, with some explosions thrown in for good measure. Even though the movie’s selling point is the humour and the character of Deadpool, I felt cheated by the laziness of the plot. Simon Kinberg seems to be Fox’s go-to guy for their Marvel properties, and he’s quickly plummeted to the level of Damon Lindelof for me. He’s no Drew Pearce, that’s for sure.
That said, I really did enjoy the character, and I thought Reynolds did a pretty good job both in and out of the mask, (though at times it was almost like watching a Jim Carrey performance from the 90s). Likewise, I greatly appreciated the level of violence in the movie. I’m a strong proponent of adding this kind of detail into these kinds of movies instead of the mostly sanitized money-printers from Marvel Studios, or the Warners movies where “with great destruction comes zero consequence”. I’d like to think that Deadpool might usher in a new phase of superhero movies that have more appeal to more mature audiences without relying on R rated humour, but I don’t think it’ll happen outside of this franchise.
Definitely worth a watch, but I hoped the story would have had more meat on its bones. As it is, it’s less a meal than it is a decent appetizer.
© Andrew Hope, 2016
Links to other reviews mentioned here: