Saturday, June 2, 2018

REVIEW: Deadpool (live action movie)

Deadpool is a superhero movie, sort of. Deadpool's a comic book character, and he has superpowers, but he's more of an antihero at best.

In this movie, Deadpool's an immortal mercenary who can heal any injury and who has one overriding goal: find the man who horrifically scarred and tortured him in the process of giving him mutant powers and force him to turn him back to normal so that he can go back to the life he used to have with his girlfriend, Vanessa.

When I was in either high school or college, my dad gifted me with several boxes worth of comics, which was how I learned to love Gen 13, X-Men, Azrael, Generation X, Thunderbolts, and Deadpool. Deadpool was one of those series I loved enough to buy more of at my local comic book store. (No thanks to the owner of the store, who made me feel unwelcome every time I visited. If I could have bought comics someplace else, I would have.)

I haven't touched an issue of Deadpool in over a decade, but I had fond memories of the series and was worried when I heard it was being adapted into a live action movie. Those worries mostly evaporated upon watching the leaked test footage, but I decided against watching the movie in theaters because I wasn't sure how much the sexual content would bother me and because it was so hyped that I felt like I was being set up for disappointment. I also put off watching my Blu-ray copy.

I shouldn't have been worried, because it was everything I hoped it would be. The scenes on the bridge were amazing, and Deadpool and Vanessa had a surprisingly sweet relationship considering that a chunk of it was presented in the form of a weird sex montage (I'm not a fan of on-screen sex, but the montage was so bizarre it made me laugh).

The movie started with the first part of the bridge scene, which managed to be both graphically violent (I winced at the guy who got a car cigarette lighter shoved into his mouth) and surprisingly funny. I was thinking about this later, and I think those scenes managed to be funny because, as gory as they were, they didn't spend much time on the bloody aftermath. It was all high-speed action and Deadpool's one-liners. The fights against Ajax, on the other hand, were handled much more seriously and felt more brutal, even though they weren't as gory.

There were only a few big fight scenes and a grand total of four prominent super-powered characters besides Deadpool, but it managed to work really well. I loved the way Deadpool's fourth wall breaking was used to poke fun at the movie's inclusion of only two X-Men (and not even the most well-known ones from the movie franchise).

There were only a few things I wasn't wild about. First, I don't care how much people praised T.J. Miller's improv jokes, I really disliked the scene at the bar when Weasel first saw Deadpool's scars.

Second, the blindness humor made me wince - I can't remember if the comics were worse about it or better, although I do recall Deadpool's treatment of Blind Al being considerably worse in the comics. If I remember right, she was basically his captive and eventually developed something like Stockholm Syndrome, whereas in the movie she was just Deadpool's roomie.

Third, Deadpool's decision not to talk to Vanessa after his transformation sucked. Viewers were supposed to believe that their relationship was about more than just sex, and yet he didn't trust and care about Vanessa enough to at least let her know that he was okay.

This definitely lived up to the hype. Ryan Reynolds was perfect as Deadpool, and I'm so glad he got another chance at this role after the character's disappointing appearance in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. I look forward to seeing Deadpool 2, although I'll probably wait for the Blu-ray/DVD release instead of going to the movies.

  • Deleted/Extended scenes with optional audio commentary by director Tim Miller - I don't think there were any deleted/extended scenes that I found myself wishing had been kept in. The movie was definitely better without them.
  • Gag reel - This included an extended version of T.J. Miller's improv, and, again, I don't like his sense of humor nearly as much as everyone in these extras seems to.
  • From comics to screen
  • Gallery (concept art, costumes, storyboards, pre-vis, stunt-vis)
  • Deadpool's fun sack - If I remember right, this included some of the clever marketing videos the Deadpool movie franchise has become known for. There's a surprisingly informative PSA about doing self-exams for testicular cancer or breast cancer.
  • Audio commentary by Ryan Reynolds and screenwriters Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick - I listened to some of this and enjoyed it.
  • Audio commentary by director Tim Miller and Deadpool co-creator/comics artist Rob Liefeld

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