I’ve seen a superhero movie that I felt perfectly captured the true essence of its character just three times in my life. The first was Spider-man 2. No, the Raimi one, not that other piece of crap. From the everyday trials that Peter Parker must overcome to the realization that he has no choice but to be a hero because he couldn’t live with himself otherwise, that movie is a two hour synopsis of who that character is and why he exists. The second was Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Here we have the man-out-of-time who’s making progress finding his place in our world, but refusing to let go of the values he brought back with him. Values which the world desperately needs. I just saw the third one. It’s called Deadpool.
This movie is ten years in the making, and we can all thank Fox for that. No, seriously. Thank them. THIS is time for this movie. It absolutely depends upon the current superhero film culture for its relevancy. A great deal of the humor in this film comes at the expense of its own genre, and that’s a good thing. I’d be the last person to say that I’m sick and tired of all these superhero films, but Deadpool adds to the genre exactly by taking it down a peg. I’ve always thought a big factor in the success of the Marvel films was that they knew to not take themselves too seriously. We’re talking about people in colorful and often shiny costumes beating up on other people in similar garb only eviler. It needs a little shot in the arm (see Hulk punching Thor in Avengers) to make us forget how ridiculous this all is. That’s...pretty much all Deadpool does. But it works!
The plot? It’s simpler than Mad Max: Fury Road. I’m dead serious. There are two big set pieces edited with flashbacks every so often. That editing is kinda genius, but from a technical standpoint I think it leaves the movie a little disjointed. That said, it distracts you from just how threadbare the movie really is, so in the end it serves the movie very well. I’ve always been amazed at how Fox has never ever been able to make use of Colossus effectively. It almost makes me sad that he’s here to be made fun of, but it really is a great use of him. I thought the CGI was little on the weak side, but Deadpool is practically a cartoon character himself so I say let it go.
Now for what’s really important: the jokes. There are a lot of them. They start with the opening credits and don’t finish until after the end credits (and do stay until the credits are done). Are they any good? Listen, this movie is funnier than any comedy that I’ve seen in a long time. In some ways this movie is a one trick pony like that, but it does it really, really well. You will laugh. You will cry (because you’re laughing so hard). You’ll miss the first few seconds of dialogue immediately after a joke because the audience is laughing so hard and have to see the movie in an empty theater because dammit I want to hear everything.
If you’re familiar with the character and have anything resembling a liking towards him, see this movie. I’ve never been the biggest fan, never went out of my way to read his book, and yet I still had an amazing time. I suspect this is a property that works exponentially better on-screen than it does in print. It’s one thing to read the stuff that comes out his mouth, but it comes off a lot better when it’s spoken out loud and you have to ask yourself, “Did he really just try to talk that cabbie into murdering a romantic rival?”
Verdict: Deadpool gets 10 out of 10 chimichangas just for the fact that the crazy bastards actually did it.