I know I promised this review some time ago, but between the Hawaii state legislative session, penning the fifth installment, of the Zoo Crew series, and flying back home to TN to welcome my new nephew into the fold, the last couple months have gotten away from me.
(See what I did there? Simultaneously setting the stage AND apologizing for being so delinquent in my posts as of late…)
To that end, and since this week the movie arrives out on DVD (along w/ a fantastic ED drug commercial spoof found HERE), I am finally getting around to it. Here goes…
Anybody that has had a pulse the last few years has no doubt seen the rash of comic books movies invading cineplexes from coast-to-coast. Doesn’t matter if you have a television/computer/phone or not, there’s just no way to avoid it. Clothing, merchandise, fast food wrappers, everything under the sun that can features Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, etc etc etc had done so.
And will continue to do so.
At last count, there were more than 20 different comic books movies slated to be released in the coming years. The lion’s share comes from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a brand so ubiquitous that it has its own acronym. In trying to play catch up, Fox has jumped in w/ the X-Men, Sony keeps trying to breathe new life into Spider-Man, and DC has mangled both Batman and Spiderman, but that doesn’t keep them from spitting out new ones every few years like clockwork.
Siiiiiigh….remember when you could go to the movies and see something original?
Anyway, w/ such a glut of self-reverent comic book flicks hitting the theatres, it was only a matter of time before one come out that was specifically design to skewer the heck out of them.
To be clear….this had all the earmarks of the trainwreck it could have, and arguably should have, been, from the beginning.
An oversaturated subject matter. A hard R rating. A “star” that had bombed badly w/ previous source material attempts (more on him later). Writers whose best work to date was GI Joe and Zombieland (which I enjoyed, but still…). A character that has never cracked the top ten of anybody’s comic book listings, ever. A developmental cycle that took 10+ and an internet campaign to get pushed through.
Despite all of that….this thing works. I mean, really works.
To be clear, it is, as stated in Variety, “Fast, ferocious, and inevitably a bit too please with its own cleverness…” (I’m quoting here b/c that’s the best single sentence I could have written there, and I have too much respect for fellow writers to plagiarize)
To deconstruct, this movie earns every bit of that R rating. The humor is crude, the F-bomb is used profusely, and the amount of blood shown as downright cartoonish. There are blatant attacks on the 4th wall, on the X-Men franchise (wolverine in particular, which was hilarious), and on the comic book genre as a whole.
Deadpool knows its exists b/c of said genre, but makes it very clear it has zero interest in being lumped in w/ it.
I won’t go into the plot here b/c, well, it’s now been out for several months and I’m guessing, based on the exorbitant amount of money it made, anybody that wanted to see it has. I will say though that this money did a fantastic job of (1) avoiding typical tropes simply by pointing them out. Startlingly effective. (2) While this thing is at points a scattered mess of juvenile potty humor, it does so w/ a pace and verve that kinda works.
The key to making that happen – and holding it all together, quite honestly – is Ryan Reynolds. For everything his first turn as Deadpool wasn’t in Wolverine Origin (Or some such unnecessary movie), this one it is. His particular brand of smartass fits in perfectly, making one completely forget Green Lantern ever happened as he hoists this movie onto his shoulders and carries it down the stretch. Long gone is Van Wilder, replaced instead by a grisly, wizened version of himself turned up to the 12th degree.
Taken as a whole, is this movie for everyone? Absolutely not. Not even close. If one is easily offended, does not like caustic/acerbic banter, or has anybody at home under the age of 15, don’t even consider it.
If poking fun of the absurd is your thing, though? You’ve gotten completely sick of seeing one comic book movie after another? Or maybe just need to see a good looking star get by on something other than his looks?
This movie is right up your alley.
(And in the greatest ironic twist of all, ended up doing something it never intended and kicking off yet another comic book franchise…)