Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
April 16, 2024

Deadpool brings welcome shift in tone

By TIM FREBORG | February 18, 2016

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Chris Jacksone/cc BY 2.0 Ryan Reynolds stars in passion project Deadpool, one of the highest grossing R-rated films in history.

It seems like every mid to late January, theaters hit something of a lull in interesting new releases. All of the big Oscar-worthy dramas crammed themselves in at the end of December to make sure they hit the Academy cut-off date, and all of the big-budget blowout films are holding off until summer where they can rake in the big bucks. Most interesting obscure or indie films are waiting until their customary March/April surge (along with the pre-summer primer hits) and all that remains tends to be the films that would be stomped, crushed, rolled up and thrown out of the box office had they been released at any other time.

Then there’s Deadpool. And he doesn’t care about release schedules or what kind of movies are supposed to come out. He’ll just roll out his movie, guns blazin’, with a popcorn bucket of chimichangas and a complete irreverence for, well, everything. And it is so wonderful to see.

The film stars Reynolds as Wade Wilson, a loudmouthed, sarcastic mercenary-for-hire, as he falls in love with one Vanessa Carlysle (Morena Baccarin). Their happiness together is short-lived, however, as Wade is soon stricken with terminal cancer. As the time of his death draws nearer he is enticed by the offer of an experimental treatment that can cure his ailment, with a few added bonuses as well. Unfortunately for Wade, his would-be saviors are not as benevolent as he had hoped, and he endures weeks of torture and experimentation at their hands.

Wade’s continued sarcasm and insulting humor throughout his ordeal eventually lands him in a torture chamber far beyond what he bargained for with a horribly disfigured body with a healing factor that makes him nearly immortal.

Now cancer-free and able to shrug off nearly any wound, Wade dons the red mask of Deadpool. His goal: To hunt down and kill those who disfigured him, to somehow manage to look good for his girlfriend again and deal with a pair of pesky X-Men recruiters.

In all honesty, the plot of Deadpool is about as paper-thin as they come. Every character’s motivation is pretty flimsy and one dimensional (almost as if they were, perish the thought, comics), Deadpool himself is pretty static as a protagonist and most of the scenes seem to exist solely to usher us into a new action sequence.

While these might be black marks on any other film, these points actually work remarkably well in Deadpool’s favor. In fact, they serve as a major draw for its humor and the nonstop-commentary of the protagonist. The film recognizes that its entire draw isn’t its plot or its twists or its deep insights; The draw is Deadpool himself, and boy oh boy does the film have that in spades.

Ryan Reynolds may well have been born to play the Merc with a Mouth, delivering line after line of some of the best comedy I’ve seen in a film in recent memory. His delivery is on-point, physically he is boisterous and energetic enough to keep the atmosphere utterly electrifying; It’s truly something to behold. What’s more, the film holds absolutely nothing back in its irreverence for traditional superhero tropes or just tradition in general. The film’s writing is crude, raunchy, even distasteful at times, but never feels mean-spirited or ashamed of itself; It just has fun. Truly, this film earns its R-rating in every single scene and feels all the more alive because of it.

But of course, no superhero film, even of the lampshading variety, would be complete without action sequences, fight scenes and all of those wonderful good-vs.-evil moments audiences have come to expect.

Not one to disappoint, Deadpool hands out these scenes with reckless abandon, ranging from tense and dramatic to drop-dead hilarious; One particular scene with X-Man Colossus (played to perfection by Stefan Kapičić) is so drop-dead hilarious it has to be seen to be believed. The cinematography during these fight scenes keeps audiences right up against the action and has almost no shaky-cam, allowing viewers to take in every grisly detail. In combination, the near-nonstop action-comedy combination makes the film feel much shorter than it actually is and leaves viewers hungry for a sequel.

Deadpool only came to fruition because of the passion of those involved, and it truly shows. Every actor embodies their character seamlessly. Each scene has been lovingly crafted in a way that could only come from those who loved what they were creating.

Yes it’s raunchy, yes it’s grizzly and no, it’s definitely not a superhero movie for the kids; But in a market that has been utterly saturated with middle-of-the-road safe action films or dark, gritty melodramas, it’s so nice to see a film in this genre that truly feels fresh and alive. Despite not being particularly deep or intricate, Deadpool is a film absolutely bursting with energy and fun and is definitely not a film to miss this season.

Overall rating: 8.5/10


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