For years, Deadpool fans wanted the anti-hero to get a proper film. Recently, the Marvel universe has been pumping out more family-friendly material, which is something Deadpool is not. The character had been introduced in “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” with Ryan Reynolds portraying him. Now, seven years after that mishap, Deadpool gets his own film, which releases to theaters nationwide on Feb. 12. And, for all the creative marketing tactics the studio released and all the hype surrounding the film, it’s unfortunate that “Deadpool”” takes the character and places him in something as standard as this.
Now, Deadpool is labeled as the “Merc with a Mouth.” The character isn’t exactly as friendly as Spider-Man or any other character in the Marvel Universe. He’s vulgar; he constantly cracks jokes; and there are several moments in which he’ll break the fourth wall. Just that alone is enough for the crew behind the feature film to do something unique. However, first-time director Tim Miller and screenwriters Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese don’t do anything to make “Deadpool” stand apart from other comic book movies.
The film begins with a frozen action sequence, spinning in a circle. As this scene is shown, the film’s credits display on the screen. They’re not your average credits in which the cast and crew are listed by name. Each one mocks the actors and crew in a way that is begging for people to laugh. For example, rather than listing something like “Special Appearance by Stan Lee,” the credit says “Gratuitous Cameo.” And as these credits are being displayed, there are jokes behind it. Reynolds on the cover of People when he was named “Sexiest Man Alive” is just one of the many things you see.
The viewer is then thrown into an overlong action sequence that looks and feels as ordinary as others seen in previous comic book movies. And for those unfamiliar with the source material, you’ll spend a good portion of this sequence asking yourself: “Why should I care?”
The humor in “Deadpool” is so constant and so self-aware that it hardly gives the viewer any real chance to take in everything else that is onscreen. It’s as if the writers truly wanted to hide the fact that what’s behind all the fourth wall breaks and joke cracks about average comic book movies is something we’ve seen multiple times over the years: an average origins story with average action sequences.
Granted, there are some jokes that do work, especially when Deadpool comes in contact with a couple of X-Men characters trying to recruit him to the team. But with so many of them occurring so often, there are bound to be certain jokes that don’t get even a chuckle. And that happens quite a bit, making the film a chore to watch at times.
The narrative comes across a little clunky when Deadpool’s origin is revealed to the viewer. It’s treated in the form of flashbacks, telling us who he was and how he got to where he is now. In most cases, this can work. Here, unfortunately, it doesn’t. The flashbacks happen too often and take place after Deadpool announces that it’s going to go back in time to inform you how he got to be where he is now. But even when it’s expected, the transition comes across as choppy.
Reynolds is truly into the character, and you can tell by the way he talks and how excited he is when he’s running around killing every villain that gets in his way. It’s a role that he’s wanted for years, and now that he has it, he puts all of his effort into it. But the others around him, both good and evil, are flat. The screenplay is more focused on how intriguing Deadpool should be, and everyone else is left in the dust.
It’s not like “Deadpool” is as bad as, say, last year’s “Fantastic Four,” or even all of the other comic book turned movies that Reynolds did before this film. The one which gets the most ribbing here is “Green Lantern,” obviously, but there is also “RIPD” and “Blade: Trinity,” which the writers didn’t bother taking cracks at. It’s the fact that, for all the wisecracks about others in its realm being the same type of movie, “Deadpool” is exactly like them – just with far more expletives, blood, and forced humor. So, there’s really not much it can brag about.