To quote Vyvyan from The Young Ones: “Even mindless violence seems boring today.”
I am not familiar with the Deadpool source material, but given the sheer level of foaming at the mouth from those I know that devour comics, I was intrigued to see the film that many of them are proclaiming to be a masterpiece. After viewing it however, I must confess I am rather at a loss to explain their enthusiasm.
Clearly director Tim Miller is aiming for the disreputable tone of anarchic, iconoclastic movies like Kingsman: The Secret Service, or more obviously Kick-Ass, with all manner of f-word laden gratuitous violence, sex and a string of potty-mouthed jokes. Consider yourself duly warned: Deadpool is absolutely not for children.
The threadbare plot involves a sort-of origin story told in flashback detailing how Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) came to be Deadpool, after volunteering for experimental surgery when he is diagnosed with terminal cancer. Prior to this we see him meet, have vigorous sex with and fall for Vanessa (Morena Baccarin – Brody’s wife from TV’s Homeland). This romance would more effective were it not for the fact that I find Wade an incredibly irritating character. By contrast, Vanessa is much more likeable, even if she does effectively come off as a nerd’s fantasy girlfriend.
Along the way, Wade brushes shoulders with Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead from the X-Men franchise, cue stupid “meta” jokes about not being sure whether Professor Xavier is Stewart or McAvoy these days, or that the studio couldn’t afford additional X-Men for this film. Frankly Deadpool’s spoofy self-awareness, which includes fourth wall breaking and a ton of smug, self-congratulatory, self-consciously hip jokes, becomes really quite wearing. Give me old fashioned proper storytelling any day.
I don’t mind films being offensive, but Deadpool felt as though it were trying too hard to be offensive for no good reason. Instead it came off as tiresome and frankly a bit boring. It lacks the satirical bite and unexpected charm of the afore-mentioned Kick-Ass which had surprising depths beyond its mindless violence and Daily Mail baiting child actors spewing obscenities. The only time I really laughed in Deadpool was during the self-deprecating opening credits (“Directed by an Overpaid Tool”, “Starring a British Bad Guy”, for instance).
Perhaps I am in a minority as everyone else in the cinema guffawed heartily at every new penis joke. But much as I love to indulge my puerile sense of humour, on this occasion I failed to be amused. I get that Wade Wilson is meant to be an anti-hero, but he just isn’t a very interesting one. Really he’s just obnoxious and annoying. Like the film in general.