'Deadpool' Review: Vulgar marvels
The opening credits of Tim Miller’s Deadpool summarize everything that is entertaining in the film. (READ: Movie reviews: What critics think of 'Deadpool')
In beautiful slow motion, blood, guts, and brain matter are sprayed out of mangled bodies. That’s unabashed violence right there. Here and there, the camera offers a glimpse of Ryan Reynolds’ noticeable bulge from his purposefully tight red leather pants that are conveniently stretched by his awkward position. That’s indecent sexuality right there. Instead of the names of the creative force behind the film, the credits display cheeky descriptions of whoever is involved. That’s self-aware humor right there.
Deadpool then continues to fulfill the promise of its irreverent opening, with the morally confounding character cheerily conversing with an immigrant cab driver before wreaking havoc on a busy speedway all in the name of selfish and sex-filled love. The film is irreverent, vulgar and wildly enjoyable. That’s really just about it.
Take away all of its exaggerated naughty charms, brutal whims, and self-deprecating humor, and the film is as typical and predictable as the rest of its loud and spectacle-reliant ilk.
Miller’s film is as his crimson-costumed main character states very early on, a love story, one that is very familiar, with a man falling in love with a woman, requiring him to rescue her in the end to earn his happy ending. It is also the expected origin story, with the narrative breaking most filmmaking rules just to present a prelude that is no longer surprising, that the sociopathic anti-hero is a cancer-ridden mercenary who undergoes suspicious experimentations to become the superhero he is.
See, Miller simply dressed up the same story that is to be expected of films about with newish clothes. Sure, the moral indifference of Wade Wilson is an ongoing curiosity, but there really is nothing beyond the quirks of having a protagonist of villainous capabilities. The film is too engrossed in its own zaniness to entangle itself with psychological or philosophical musings. Deadpool is only entertainment.
Now that expectations are aptly tempered, it can be argued that Miller’s orchestration of the elements of both the genre and the genre’s self-reflexive parody is near impeccable. Deadpool is consistent on the joke. It never really fumbles into drastically moody and bleak territories where its peculiarities are awkward. It never gets too serious to betray its own efforts at ridiculing itself and the genre it belongs to.
Reynolds spends most of the movie either masked or covered in grisly prosthetics. Despite such limitations, he portrays the titular character with ample heart, even amidst all of the profanity, the many bloopers on masturbation, and political incorrectness he is designed to recite. Given that the film is a romance at its core, Reynolds’ effort in infusing the despicable hero with just the right amount of charm and charisma to render the love story plausible is a feat in itself.
The film’s other characters are mostly fodder. They are either essential pieces to complete the formulaic plot like prostitute-with-a-heart-of-gold Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) and villain Ajax (Ed Skrein), or components of the film’s gargantuan gag, like ridiculously amiable Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) and his angsty sidekick Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand).
Fun and familiar
In the end, Deadpool is fun because it doesn’t stray too far from the familiar.
It beats with a rhythm that is recognizable from all the films that it takes its cues and clichés from. It is only rebellious because rebelliousness is cool, hip, and a very convenient springboard for all the vulgar marvels it churns out relentlessly. It is also careful not to bite the hand that feeds it, keeping its jabs and insults against the industry hollow and painless, akin to the sometimes funny punchlines that are regularly heard from low-rent stand-ups.
If the film is getting a lot of attention because of how revolutionary it supposedly is, it only spells out how close to being creatively bankrupt the superhero genre has become right after so many iterations of the exhausted but still profitable formula. The film needs only to be as clever and inventive enough to offer arguably novel amusement outside the traditional explosions and conventional expository banter that most superhero flicks rely on. – Rappler.com
Francis Joseph Cruz litigates for a living and writes about cinema for fun. The first Filipino movie he saw in the theaters was Carlo J. Caparas’ Tirad Pass. Since then, he’s been on a mission to find better memories with Philippine cinema. Profile photo by Fatcat Studios