Saturday, February 20, 2016

Deadpool



Directed by: Tim Miller
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, T.J. Miller, etc.
Release date: February 18, 2014

Deadpool is an R-rated and decidedly profane film; a superhero movie that is not aiming to please kids, nor is after their pocket money. As a film, it follows the rules of the superhero genre while subverting it at the same time. Though this is a risky move and could have spelled disaster, Deadpool treats its audience with respect while acknowledging their intelligence. Consequently, it develops into an eccentric mix of awesome and absurd. Undoubtedly the director and writers deserve credit for this, but equally deserving is its lead: Ryan Reynolds slips into tight red spandex and the whacky world of Wade Wilson like it were his natural habitat.

Without being drastically different from your typical superhero origin story, Deadpool is about Wade Wilson, your regular guy next door. Regular, in that he is a dishonourably discharged US Marine who works as a neighbourhood muscle-for-hire. At the cusp of a settled happy life, he is diagnosed with late-stage cancer. Opting in for an off-market experimental procedure, Wade Wilson mutates into the rapidly-healing Deadpool, albeit with a terrible skin condition (think Wolverine, but without the claws and very, very ugly). Revenge, re-love, explosions and bullets ensue. All with a trash-talking, motor-mouth Deadpool who really doesn’t have any filter between his thoughts and his words.

Deadpool is a passion project, and it shows. While watching the movie, it is evident that no parts of it were commercially ordered. The film takes risks and ridicules popular culture with little sense of accountability, much like good fan-films, but with the production size of a significant Hollywood release. 20th Century Fox, the studio that has produced the best (most X-Men films) and worst (all the Fantastic 4 movies, the two Wolverine films) superhero movies, granted debutant director Tim Miller and writers Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick a free-hand to make the movie they wanted within a limited budget, and the trio seems to have taken on the task with glee. From the time the opening credits begin, all the way to the post-credits scene at the end of the film, the jokes are laid on thick – in fact, while laughing at one, you will miss the next one or few.

The lack of experience at the top also means the movie has its set of flaws. For one, the villain is particularly bland and forgettable. In fact, it is never made clear what his powers are, and neither are his motivations. The movie is also a little lopsided in content: the first half has great writing and build-up missing from the latter half, culminating in a standard action-movie finale. Conversely, the jokes come faster and smarter in the second half when Deadpool is in full stride. But given the pre-production and budget challenges the movie faced, the final movie is a monumental achievement. And most of all, it is funny as f*#k!

Amidst the annual deluge of Transformers and its low-brow clones, the successes of any original idea, even partially original ones like Deadpool, will give rise to more movies that push the boundaries of popular cinema. With Guardians of the Galaxy earlier, Deadpool now and Suicide Squad coming up later this year, it is promising to see big studios explore rather than just exploit the superhero genre. In fact, the superhero genre may have finally matured, even if it does so with the most immature of characters.

Rating --> 4 out of 5

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