Thoughts: Deadpool (spoiler-free)

Deadpool shouldn’t be a thing, when it comes to movies.  There are dozens of reasons why it shouldn’t work, or why it shouldn’t have been made.  Even the base idea sounds ludicrous, if you put yourself in the shoes of a studio exec: “Let’s make a comic book movie that kids cannot see.”

Yet, I have watched a Deadpool movie.  Better yet, it was actually very good!  And it’s been very successful!  These are all very surprising things, all worthy of exclamation points!

So how did we get here?  Well, I don’t know, but I have some guesses.  To be honest though, I’d rather talk about the “why” rather than the “how.”  So, not unlike the protagonist of this movie, I’m just going to be a bit chaotic and make a number of observations about why this movie is a bit of a triumph (or at least as much of a triumph as a movie like this could be).

  • The fact that this movie was something I watched and understood while still preserving the fun chaos of the Deadpool character is an achievement.  This movie could/should have been off the rails from minute one, and it feels like it’s going that way a lot of the time, but it doesn’t.  It holds together somehow, trudging forward with the plot while making fun of itself for doing so at the same time.  The movie pauses just long enough in spots to let emotional impact set in, then proceeds to show you its balls.
  • Ryan Reynolds is really great here.  I don’t know how many other actors could or couldn’t have pulled this off, but I do know that he did and he’s great.
  • The fourth-wall breaking is done perfectly.  It would have been very easy to run away with it and “do it until it’s not funny,” but it was the perfect amount, and it never really took away from a scene (which is the risk that’s ran when you do that).
  • While this isn’t the first R-rated comic book movie, it’s certainly the first in a traditional style.  Sin City (derived from graphic novels) was also rated R, but it wasn’t bright and didn’t have costumes.  Deadpool is a real risk, and there has been a backlash towards it (and a backlash against the backlash).  There is a valid concern over a primary comic book character being what Deadpool is and flaunting it in a movie, but I think grown-ups can decide what’s good for their children.  At least I hope so.
  • This movie is legitimately hilarious.  Some of it is sophomoric, a lot of it is crude, but Reynolds and Co. pull it off wonderfully.  There were a few people crying at some of the jokes, which I personally hadn’t experienced before.
  • The violence is at a perfect level.  The thought going in was that it would be gory, as Deadpool usually is in the comics.  It certainly is gory, but it’s not over-the-top.  It only focuses on gore for a moment, if only to profress it long enough to go “this is cool, ain’t it?” before getting on with something else.
  • The only real complaint I can think of here is one in hindsight; I wish there was another major “Deadpool vs. 8 schmucks” action scene, if only because the one that was there was so fun.  There wasn’t room for it obviously, and this movie had to force itself to sit down and show you Deadpool’s origin story, so I understand why there wasn’t.  Would have just liked more, I guess.  I suppose that’s a good sign for the franchise.
  • I think it’s interesting that between Deadpool and to a lesser extent Jessica Jones, that Marvel will likely continue exploring “mature” content in the future.  Not that blood, cursing, and sex is necessary to tell a story, but it’s so far been refreshing when compared to the more vanilla storylines and characters of other films.
  • There’s going to be a sequel, and that amazes me only because I’m not sure anyone’s capable of making a coherent Deadpool movie again.  We’ll see.

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