At what point does being self-aware of a genre actually start to work against you? This was a question I pondered upon leaving my packed and pretty amped up screening of Deadpool. Surrounded by people who were raving about the film, I found myself in a weird place of feeling like I was giving the movie a bad grade, despite my immense like for the film.
Deadpool is an origin story told in a non-linear, foul mouthed, fourth wall breaking, bloody fashion, and for the most part it truly is a fun thrill ride and refreshing for superhero films. I enjoyed the exploration of a film that uses familiar trope of a superhero film and injects some much needed life into well worn story beats (guy’s girl gets stolen, he has to rescue her, big act 3 set piece). But it’s also in this inject that the movie kind of stumbles, even in it’s fun. Because the movie feels the need to adhere to standard conventions as well as its own rule breaking you get weird half baked things such as Ed Skrein’s villainous character Ajax, whose motivations aren’t entirely clear, other than him just being evil. I luckily cared about Vanessa and Wade and their fun relationship, that it carried me through the film’s 3rd act. Or when you want to express your character’s potential pan sexuality via a brief moment of pegging and some choice comments here and there, but have the entire film be about his desire to sex up, marry, and eventually save one woman.
The movie also has an irreverent way of referencing X-Men, that feels silly for a multitude of reasons. It’s one thing to only have two people from the team, but the fact that the movie wants to have its cake (look at us hinting at him being in the X-Men universe!) and eat it too, rubbed me the wrong way. Colossus’ presence in this film grated on me because he felt like a cheap way to tie into the universe but provided a character that just felt lame because we never got the human version, he just felt like a CGI character, as the credits so eloquently put it.
But most of my issues were assuaged immediately by Ryan Reynolds, who certainly is the perfect guy to play this part. As an actor, whom I’ve (sort of) jokingly referred to as the actor equivalent of white privilege, Reynolds makes the most of a part he rallied to play. He’s got a natural charisma which he uses expertly and his comedic timing and sensibilities work wonders for this character. It’s a good thing too cause those 4th wall breaks would have been awful if not for someone as gifted as him.
I say the above to say that Deadpool is a movie that while it might not have gone over like gangbusters with me, provided me a very entertaining time at the theater and I’d definitely encourage everyone to seek it out and form their own opinions.