“Deadpool” marks itself as the next super hero movie to join the fray, yet it seems to be a distanced attempt at creating heroism. Starring Ryan Reynolds as the wise-cracking, superhuman Deadpool, the film plays as a comedy that happens to have a well-known hero placed within. Still, its humor and wit catapults it to the achieved acclaim and success within the box office. Though lacking in areas, it smartly avoids bringing attention to those places which is why it comes out on top.
Following the story of Wade Wilson as he becomes Deadpool, the film focuses on his desire for revenge. After being diagnosed as terminally ill with cancer, Wilson is approached by a mysterious man who offers him the opportunity to be cured and become a superhero. With nothing left to live for, Wilson takes him up on the offer, but is tortured in the process by Ajax/Francis (Ed Skrein) and severely disfigured, becoming Deadpool. And thus the revenge plot is born, with Deadpool tracking down Francis to give him his good looks back. It’s as shallow a plot as it can get, but the humor behind it is what saves it.
Deadpool’s flippancy makes him, and the film, a winner. He’s a regular wise-cracking guy on a personal vendetta, doesn’t have a save-the-world mentality and doesn’t even see himself a hero; in fact, he’s repulsed with the idea. His wit adds to his charm and his buoyant attitude delivers the humor in all the right ways. While the jokes and punchlines are borderline juvenile, focusing entirely on sexualized content, the film never promised to be anything else. It delivers its advertised intent, making a mark in a genre entirely its own. While not entirely a spoof and not entirely a serious super hero flick, Deadpool straddles those two genres seamlessly.
“Deadpool” exists in an oversaturated—yet thriving—time of super hero films. With Marvel’s Cinematic Universe (MCU) dominating the box office and DC’s attempt at mustering up accolades for themselves, it would be easy for “Deadpool” (while still a Marvel character, not within the MCU) to get lost in the shuffle. But it doesn’t. It shatters records of its own with its unique execution and take on a now cookie-cutter genre. “Deadpool” fits in no molds because it lacks a driving force that’s beyond the scope of a single character, or the depth and meaning that those before it seem to muster up. But in the same sense, that’s where “Deadpool” falls.
There’s a huge hole with the plot, as it really doesn’t entice a natural ebb and flow required to give the film any complexity. It’s a simple revenge story riddled with mysterious baddies whose motivations are nonexistent. There are entire action scenes that exist for the sake of existing, no real force driving them to fruition. Missing as well is any depth to anyone other than Deadpool himself. The villain Francis is hollow and hardly possesses enough substance to make him formidable enough a foe, and his side kick (Gina Carano) who seldom spoke the entire film seems to be there just to…be there. And of course the film makes its attempt to add the stereotypical comic relief in Deadpool’s friend Weasel (T.J. Miller), but it seems to have forgotten that their main character is all the comic relief it needed. The one iota of a saving grace is Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), Deadpool’s love interest, who shares his sense of humor; but even she lacks the required depth to matter.
Overall, “Deadpool” makes it entirely clear that it is not meant to be taken seriously, so it can’t be seen as comparable to other films in the super hero genre. But it also isn’t strictly a comedy, as it’s packed with enough engaging action to take it further than that. It also strings along a few characters from the Marvel universe to tie the genres together, marrying them in a way that has the ability to both impress and leave a lingering hollow feeling as a result. Regardless, the film’s success is attributed to Deadpool himself, as Ryan Reynolds brings the character to life in a way that makes him seem real. His banter is authentic and relatable, making him an everyday hero that just happens to have powers that are super.
Final grade? B-