Friday, May 20, 2016

Movie #361: Deadpool

Deadpool is a superhero movie starring Ryan Reynolds as titular "merc with the mouth," and also Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, Stefan Kapacic, Giana Carano, Brianna Hildebrand, and T.J. Miller. It's not the first R-rated superhero movie, and it might not even be the first R-rated comedy superhero movie, but it's definitely one of the best.

At the guts, it's a fairly standard story - love, revenge, superpowers, taking on the bad guy, explosions. But the devil's in the details. Wade Wilson (Reynolds) is an ex-Special-Forces dude now doing odd mercenary work, and falls in love with a prostitute named Vanessa (Baccarin), but then discovers he's dying of late-stage cancer of the everything. He signs up for what he thinks is a government funded "give you superpowers" program, but as the head scientist Francis (Skrein) explains, that ain't it - they're just making superpowered slaves. The powers he receives let him heal from virtually anything, but also scar his flesh like whoa, so he spends a few years tracking down Francis, whom he thinks can fix his body, before teaming up with Colossus (Kapacic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Hildebrand) to take on Francis and his superstrong buddy, Angel Dust (Carano).

Through it all, Deadpool wisecracks and blows holes in the fourth wall. I'm not even a fan of the comics (remember, I like superheroes, not comics), but I know they got the character right, and all it took was a decade plus of Reynolds working at this, and finally leaking test footage, and it's going to result in a spate of R-rated superhero movies because Hollywood still hasn't figure out that there's no magic formula to follow to make good movies.

But let's talk about what Deadpool gets right. They don't insult our intelligence, and they know we know who these people are. We don't need an explanation of who the X-Men are; Colossus just shows up and we know his role. We don't need our characters to be morally pure; Wade is a merc and he's not a good guy and never claims to be, but at the same time, he loves Vanessa and the movie spends time establishing their relationship (mostly through sex, but whatever).

There are a couple of beats I'm not crazy about; Deadpool has a couple of lines that you could call transphobic (both aimed at Angel Dust), and I think I would have liked the International Women's Day gag a little more if Wade had been into it, but those are comparatively minor in the scheme of things. I'm a fan of the superhero films that do things outside the established genre, get their characters right, and give me someone to root for.

My Grade: A
Rewatch value: High, I think

Next up: Little Shop of Horrors, unless Crimson Peak arrives in the mail first