Hollywood is obsessed with superheroes, but it seems that they have become self-aware with Marvel’s newest feature film Deadpool starring Ryan Reynolds as the titular character.
As those who have followed the mutant mercenary know, Deadpool is no hero, yet he is known to deconstruct the usually redundant narratives that surround them. This characteristic is carried throughout the film as director Tim Miller shows a great understanding of what makes this character unique.
When the film was announced, many fans cringed because of Marvel’s past failures in trying to bring the character to the big screen. Many consider the greatest of these failures the portrayal of Deadpool, also played by Ryan Reynolds, in the 2009 film X-Men Origins: Wolverine, in which he is shown as a sliced up mutant with his mouth sewn shut. The director’s character choices were so unrealistic that fans didn’t even recognize the snarky, fourth-wall shattering mercenary.
While making this film, the studio made the choice to not just recognize their past failures, but to make jokes about them, all in the spirit of Deadpool. It is in the internalizing of this spirit that led this film to have such a wide acceptance by comic book fans. All people involved seemed to be in on the same joke and they brought the crowd in on it as well. They made jokes at Reynolds expense for his past superhero movie flop, The Green Lantern and satirized Marvels popular formula, including “a gratuitous cameo” from the great Stan Lee. It held all of the same qualities as the studios bigger films such as the X-Men franchise, but it pointed them out and ridiculed them with Deadpool’s immature and crude humor.
However in it’s attempt to stand out, the film came off as a bit disjointed, as if it was trying too hard to be different. Though there was an understanding of the character, he fell flat as his jokes became monotone without much inflection. This was probably the most compelling part of the movie, a surprising and authentic love story residing under all of the disconnected one-liners. It is Deadpool’s relationship with Vanessa Carlysle that brings the only substance the film has to offer. Listening to the lines shared between the two, you could almost be convinced that you were watching a romantic comedy, that is until it changes to a scene in which Deadpool is comically assaulting his latest kill.
The film is an up-beat and irreverent take on the popular superhero movie format that is saturating the industry right now, and though it does not make any revolutionary movements in the genre, it is content to point out everything wrong with it. What seems to be a massive joke, aimed at ridiculing consumers who will pay to see any Marvel movie, turns out to have a warm, substantive center, even if you have to withstand the anarchy to reach it.