Friday, April 8, 2016

Deadpool (2016) (Movie Review)

    Up until 2016, the X-Men films were arranged in three distinct groups, the original X-Men trilogy, the “First Class” series, and the stand alone Wolverine films. With so many different characters and arguably the largest super hero universe ever created, why not branch out and give other select X-Men characters, or closely related X-Men characters their own stand alone films? Storm, Gambit, Rouge, the list goes on, and any one of them can easily hold their own in a film. Well, ask and you will receive, because it’s time for a select character from the X-Men universe to get his own film, but it still takes place within the X-Men film series. Our star for the day is none other than Deadpool ... um ... cool, I guise. Okay, I know Deadpool is one of the most beloved characters ... scratch that, “things” in all of pop media, and fans have been demanding a movie, especially sense the disappointment of how his character was previously featured in “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”. Personally, I’m just not that big a fan of the character. His methodic hummer and trademark of breaking the forth-wall can be very entertaining at times, but the character himself really doesn’t do that much for me.  

      When this film premiered, it was a monster hit, it got critical praise, is currently the highest grossing film in the series, and even the highest grossing R ratted movie ever made. All the films praise and attention actually pushed my hot button a little, because I was very disturbed thinking about how many kids were going to get roped into seeing this. Like seriously, a film of this sort should not be getting “this much” attention. Also, I’m not overly fond of films that bank on dirty sexual based comedy, and needlessly harsh Meta hummer. I knew the film was going to be chalk full of that stuff as it really banked on the novelty of being the first R rated film in the X-Men series, but I’m also willing to give any film the benefit of the doubt. Once the movie ended, I surprisingly didn’t hate it as much as I thought I would, if fact, I found it to be far more entertaining and worthwhile then a movie revolving Deadpool had any right to be. I didn’t love the movie by any means, I found it to be okay at best, but it certainly wasn’t terrible, and it did at least surpass my small expectations. 

     Wade Wilson is a small time mercenary, usually hired by adolescent teens that are having problems with really jerky people. One night, completely out of the blue, he comes across a woman named Vanessa, they fall in love instantly, and a relationship blooms between the two. Everything is fun and games until Wade is diagnosed with terminal cancer, and it’s kind of hard to have a long and happy relationship when you’re either dead or dying. Desperate for help, he goes to some back ally doctors who claim that they can cure his cancer, as well as give him the added bonus of having super powers. As it turns out, these doctors are in fact a splinter group from the Weapon X division, and their goal is to experiment and torture people in order to unlock their mutant powers, then they’ll be brainwashed and used as mind controlled super agents. Through a series of abuse and experiments, Wade’s mutant power of self regeneration comes to surface, curing his cancer, but the experiments left a rather damaging effect on his good looks. After he escapes, he takes the name Deadpool, vows to track down and kill every doctor that was involved in the experiments, leading up to their boss named Ajex. Bloody action ensues, his girl friend gets kidnapped, and the X-Men find themselves roped into the situation when they fail to recruit Deadpool onto the team.

      I’ll say this, the film is very funny, cleaver, stylish, and very self aware of what kind of film this is. It’s also very self aware that we “the audience” see superhero movies all the time now day’s, so it cleverly parodies all the common tropes, while making them awesome again. There’s even an after credit scene that’s clearly paying homage to “Ferris Bueller's Day Off” and spoofs the notion of every comic book movie having an after credit scene. It’s also very aware that many fans didn’t like “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” and makes fun of it at any chance it gets. I’ll actually go so far to say that this film actually transcends the superhero formula, and is kind of refreshing when compared to how familiar comic book movies these days are. It’s also a rare case in which a film from an action series becomes a full blown comedy, but it still fits very well within the X-Men universe. The movie is directed by Tim Miller, who was also involved in films like “Scott Pilgrim vs the World”, so he was the perfect chose to direct this movie. The films method of breaking the forth wall is brilliant, and the overall comedic style of "Deadpool" is wildly original. It actually reminded me of the 2005 movie “Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang”. "Deadpool" also begins with one of the funniest opening credit sense ever, it hooked me in right away and set the tone for what kind of film this is. The cartoony, R rated violence also worked very well in a film of this sort. It’s some of the funniest and most entertaining action I’ve seen in years. Of course it still has those sexual innuendos and dirty references that I don’t care for, and just roll my eyes at. This definitely keeps me from loving the film, but I do my best to glance over it.  

    Unfortunately for this film, another one of its biggest short comings is the plot. It’s a movie with great style, and some high entertainment quality, but the plot itself is as boring and “been done” as they get. This applies to the character of Deadpool himself. Whenever he’s in his costume, cracking jokes and kicking butt, it’s a real joy to watch. However, when the film cuts back to the actual origin story of Deadpool, or his love story, I was bored out of my mind, and just wanted the film to get back to the action, comedy and forth wall jokes. Ryan Reynolds is the only returning actor in the film, and does a respectable job in the role. It’s a clear sign that he just didn’t have anything to work with back in “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”, because he is in fact very charismatic and funny in the role. His costume too is fantastic and I love the added expression in his eyes. There’s a comedic best friend character played by T. J. Miller, who’s about as obnoxious and annoying as they get. Every time he was on screen, the movie just died, but that’s me talking. The girl friend is also a generic girl friend stereotype, who’s just there to fall in love and get captured, nothing else. I will say that it was nice to see actress Morena Baccarin of “Firefly” fame in the role. The romance just didn’t grab me either, it actually came off as a very unhealthy relationship, so I didn’t feel as invested when something negative happened to them. I will say that the film at least tries to convey some emotion between the two, especially when the cancer gets in the way of their romance, but I also felt that it clashed with the films comedic tone and style. At times, I felt that this movie became the same kind of origin film it was parodying in the first place, which is much harder for me to glance over. 

     The Villains are also very boring, stock bad guys that we’ve seen a million times before, not just in comic book movies, but action movies in general. The main bad guy called Ajax is probably the most pathetic villain of the entire X-Men film series. First of all, his supper power is that he can take a beating ... yeah, he doesn’t have healing powers like Deadpool or Wolverine do, he still gets injured, he just won’t feel the pain. That’s the big threat to challenge our hero’s, someone who can’t say “OW!” when he gets punched. He also has a very generic design and appearance, which makes him even harder to remember. He’s played by Ed Skrein, and he at least does a decent job in ... wait a second, wasn’t he in “Game of Thrones” too? Boy, these current X-Men movies just can’t go without roping in an actor from that show can they. Anyway, the secondary villain is a woman called Angle Dust, and once again she’s a very stock “Evil Henchwoman”, but she at least posses more of a threat during the action. Despite her appearance, she actually posses super human strength and can even best the mighty Colossus, which is no small feat. 

     On that note, I love how this movie took place within the X-Men film universe. I originally thought this film would just feature Deadpool and maybe throw in some little references and quips to characters like Wolverine and Professor X, which it does, but we also see the X-Men mansion, and two of the team members are main characters, which is great. This movie honestly harkened back to my nostalgia for the 90’s “X-Men” TV series more so then most of the movies did. There’s a great scene when our hero’s are just sitting down, watching TV while eating breakfast, then breaking news comes on screen, they drop what they’re doing, and take off in the X-Jet while exchanging some witty quips, and that little moment alone just captured the spirit of the X-Men perfectly. Then it hit me, a film series has to make every movie stand out like a big event, but the TV show allowed the characters to have smaller missions that were still significant but didn’t need every team member, and didn’t always need to be a huge spectacle. “Deadpool” is the perfect opportunity for them to just have a simple mission in-between such mega films like “Days of Future Past” and “Apocalypse”.

      This is the fourth X-Men movie to feature the supper strong, metal skinned team member called Colossus, however in all the previous films he was played by Daniel Cudmore, now he’s voiced by Stefan Kapicic, and played by several different motion capture actors. This is the best portrayal of Colossus by far, and honestly, it’s one of the five best on screen portrayals of any of the X-Men yet. He finally had a Russian accent, I liked that he was in his metal skin form the whole time, and I absolutely loved his personality. He’s just a nice big lovable guy, and a great contrast to Deadpool’s trashy attitude. The second X-Men featured in the film is a young trainee called Negasonic Teenage Warhead, played by Brianna Hildebrand. With a colorful name like that, angst teenage character traits, and super power to create her own explosions, she’s arguably the best young team member, and should be more well known. She was certainly better then Jubilee in the animated TV series.  

    At last we have the big climax, which is hands down one of my favorites of the whole series. Usually these final battles start with the X-Men taking off in the X-Jet, but this time their all squeezing in a little cab, which is hilarious, and a fun way to kick things off. Then we get that classic action movie cliché of our team of hero’s walking in a straight line, which is undeniably one of my favorite takes I’ve ever seen of this as it was both funny and kick ass at once, right down to Deadpool looking at the camera and saying “cue the awesome music”. The fight takes place in junked up ship yard, which is an awesome location, allowing the characters to cover a lot of ground, and destroy a lot of objects. It’s also really refreshing to have an epic final battle with simplistic stakes, and only a hand full of team members brawling. It all concludes with a one on one dual between Deadpool and Ajex, which is actually a pretty darn cool fight. Deadpool fights with his swords, Ajex fights with axes, the choreography is swift and quick and much like “The Wolverine” movie, it was a treat to see such a classy, old school fight in a superhero film.  

    This certainly isn’t a film for everyone, because if you’re not a fan of really rude, needlessly sexual, and overly violent Meta humor, you should probably skip this film entirely. However, if you like extremely clever, forth wall breaking comic book satire, interjected with lots of style and charismatic performances, then "Deadpool" will entertain the living crap out of you! As for me personally ... I'm caught somewhere between the two extremes. It had its moments that both disgusted and annoyed me, plus it had a plot that was very standard. Never the less, the film can be extremely entertaining at times, I loved how it took place within the X-Men movie universe, and the main character can be a lot of fun, at least when he’s in costume. If you’re one of the many fans of this character, you’ll love this film, as it certainly does the character justice. It’s not a film I’ll be watching again anytime soon, but for all the stuff I liked in the movie, I certainly don’t regret seeing it, and may even watch it again someday when I don’t have anything else to watch.

                                              I give "Deadpool" 3 stars out of 5. 


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