My Deadpool History
I’m a child of the 80’s, but I didn’t start reading comic books (other than Transformers and G.I. Joe) until the early 90’s, which was at the peak of the X-Men’s popularity. I didn’t pick up New Mutants #98 right when it came out, but I came on during the single-digits of X-Force, so it’s fair to say I was there at the beginning. I immediately fell in love with the character and have maintained that love ever since.
However, after the 2007 Deadpool series ended, I never quite connected with the follow-ups. I didn’t care about him having a Deadpool team. Didn’t care about him carrying around a zombie head. I got it, but it didn’t resonate with me. Nor was I able to get into the recent reboot which started with him battling zombies of dead presidents (I think I’m just tired of zombies). And though I was glad to see him in the recent 25-issue X-Force series, I felt he was underused and undervalued.
Still, I never lost my love for the character.
My Expectations Going In
Hollywood has butchered nearly every franchise I grew up with. The Transformers, sacred to me as a child, are now a bunch of characterless, spiky, silver, metal constructs wrestling other characterless, spiky, silver, metal constructs. The G.I. Joe films were at least somewhat fun, but they were still miserable excuses for films. Even worse were the A-Team and Dukes of Hazzard movies. Even Ender’s Game didn’t escape unscathed by Hollywood’s short-sightedness. But most importantly, Deadpool himself was silenced—literally and figuratively—in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Any hope I had of a decent Deadpool movie was lost.
That is, until Ryan Reynolds worked so hard to get the character rebooted. And the test footage was leaked. And a certain someone I know who was working on the film at the time was brave enough to get my hopes up despite knowing how many times they’d been shattered before. “You know I read thousands of scripts, right? Best script I’ve ever read.” That’s a cruel thing to say. I wanted to punch him. It obviously couldn’t be true. But he was insistent.
And then there was the marketing. I’ll skip the details, as it’s been covered everywhere for several months now. Suffice to say, anytime someone asked me “what if the movie sucks,” I was able to respond with “if it does, the marketing alone is already more enjoyable than most movies I’ve seen in the last few years.”
A Wild Ride
“Fun.” What more is there to say? What else matters in a film?
Even for those who analyze films or critique their artistic merits, they do so because those factors are what makes them enjoy a film. And that’s the point of film—it’s supposed to make us feel something. And ideally, at least for me personally, there’s no better experience a movie can give me than “fun.”
Deadpool is, at its core, a fun movie. It irreverently makes fun of itself while never disrespecting the viewer. We see Deadpool as he’s supposed to be, straight out of the comic books. He’s funny. He cares about whatever his singular focus is at the moment, and he cares about nothing else. He knows he’s the only one getting his jokes, and it doesn’t matter. He’s trapped inside his own head, and he invites us in to visit. And while it’s a disturbing place, it’s a fun place.
Check out RandomChatter #100 for a more in-depth analysis. The only thing that really matters to me about Deadpool is that it was so much fun, the fun easily compensated for all its flaws.
A Film as Imperfect as the Character
The film does have some issues. Most of them are nit-picky (e.g. the low budget means the CG effects on Colossus aren’t great), so I don’t really care.
However, the one flaw that seems to be universally accepted and universally disappointing (did I mention the fun compensates for it?) is that the story is very, very bland. Imagine a generic revenge film in which you’re not even worried for the main character because he’s effectively invulnerable. Nothing can hurt him, so there’s no real threat. He’s hunting for a cure, but we all know he’ll never find one (because we know the character already). This is John Wick minus everything that made John Wick an awesome revenge film.
Fortunately, not knowing what will happen to Vanessa does give us some stakes to be concerned about. Still, it’s not enough to care much about the story. There are some interesting points along the way, but for the most part, it’s predictable and mediocre. If Deadpool himself weren’t so fun to watch, this movie wouldn’t have had much going for it. The story isn’t bad, it’s just too familiar.
…but the mediocre story doesn’t matter. The characters matter. We care about Vanessa, and we care about Deadpool. And because he’s basically a separate character, I should point out that we care about Wade Wilson too. Thanks to interesting characters and some flat-out awesome action scenes, I can easily say that Deadpool is one of my favorite movies of all time.
Since this is the first review on the relaunched RandomChatter site, I’ll explain the stats below. The “Story/Writing” in this case just simply wasn’t great. The “Characters”—the dialogue, the actors’ portrayals, etc.—were great. The “Pacing” was pretty darn good; there were a few times I would have preferred a little more Deadpool and a little less Wade Wilson, but the movie still moved along quite well.
The “Emotional Connection” is a generic way of establishing whether a movie’s intended emotional response was delivered. Did the drama make you cry? Did the action movie get your adrenaline going? Did the horror movie scare the crap out of you? In this case, Deadpool fulfilled every emotional commitment it made to the audience.
And finally, the “Wildcard” rating. I threw this in so reviewers could weigh the numbers a bit more in one direction or another as needed. Sometimes a film might look good by the baseline statistics, but the reviewer just didn’t like it for some abstract reason or another. In this case, my personal wildcard is the rightness of the film. This is Deadpool. In fact, this film comes closer to getting the character right than any other comic book film does, with the possible exceptions of Chris Evans as Captain America and Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. The “Story” rating pulls the numbers down further than it really should, so I’m taking my wildcard to weigh things more heavily to everything that’s right about this film. So there.