Deadpool (2016)

Deadpool (2016) movie poster

director Tim Miller
viewed: 02/15/2016 at CineArts @ the Empire Theater, SF, CA

Deadpool is a breath of fresh R-rated air in highly corporate product genre of superhero movies.  The marketplace is awash in superheroes and looks to stay awash from years to come, but these are products built for the family-friendly PG-13 audience, increasingly mainstream culturally.  And while this is a product of a big studio (Fox) from a comic from a big publisher (Marvel), it is decidedly unlike the norm.

I don’t have a pre-existing relationship with Deadpool, the character.  He was invented after I’d stopped reading superhero comics.  So I can’t comment on what the film gets right or wrong.  How perfect or imperfect Ryan Reynolds is as the man-made mutant mercenary.

It’s not that Ryan Reynolds was born to play the role, more that this is the role that Ryan Reynolds adopted, midwifed and birthed into existence.  He, and the writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, as well as director Tim Miller, put in a lot of effort to get this movie made in this particular way.  And it seems to be a hit with the fanbase.  What that will mean for the genre?  Who knows.  At least a sequel.

Crass and violent, Deadpool earns its R-rating.  Funny and pretty entertaining, it earns some praise as well.  I don’t know if it’s quite as witty as it thinks it is.  Is having a character make a note of “breaking the fourth wall” really innovative or clever?  Isn’t the “fourth wall” really a theater thing and less a movie thing?  More aptly, the film is filled with geek-love easter eggs.

I don’t think I’d be the only person to suggest that Brianna Hildebrand who plays Negasonic Teenage Warhead almost stole the show despite her relatively small role.

The superhero movie is certainly in danger of becoming a victim of its own success at the moment.  The glut of product is really just entering its onslaught phase.  And as successfully as Marvel/Disney have crafted the Marvel Cinematic Universe and DC and Warner Brothers are desperately trying to construct their own, we’re going to be drowning in it soon.  And how soon it plays itself out is anybody’s guess.  More and more it seems like “product” rather than actual entertainment.

So Deadpool‘s success… it will be interesting to see if it actually shakes anything up.

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