Film Review by Fiore
Too many superheroes, so little time. If given a choice, I’d relegate second and third string superheroes in both the Marvel and DC Universes to TV. ARROW, GOTHAM, THE FLASH, DAREDEVIL and LEGENDS OF TOMORROW all do a better job of introducing these characters and giving them a more powerful presence than they deserve on the Silver Screen. That said, the latest Marvel superhero to star in his own film is DEADPOOL. Fanboys everywhere are ecstatic to see this minor character in his own series simply because, outside of HOWARD THE DUCK, he’s the only R-rated superhero. Great fun for those who prefer crass to wit.
The original wise-cracker in the Marvel Universe is Spider-Man. He always has some quick repartee, generally incorporating puns. DEADPOOL is not that intelligent, so he resorts to a multitude of masturbation and homosexual barbs; a bit too many of them for my liking. There is a difference between clever innuendoes and well placed curses, and bathroom humor from Neanderthals. DEADPOOL fits into the latter category. When he is not mindlessly swearing, DEADPOOL breaks the fourth frame. This is the character’s best quality. His asides and soliloquies to the audience are easily the best element of this film.
DEADPOOL is Wade Wilson, who is played by Ryan Reynolds. This character should not be confused with Wade Wilson who quarterbacked both the Minnesota Vikings and Atlanta Falcons before going on to a career as a football coach. Reynolds is a fine actor, but he is determined to be a superhero. He’s not big enough to play one of the starting line-up heroes, even with a wax-on six pack, and his voice is a major problem. He constantly sounds like a whining alto. A quality sound man could fix this easily, but apparently, no one is interested in taking this necessary step. As a result, viewers are left with a superhero who squeaks higher than the Pittsburgh sports announcers; and that is embarrassing. Tom Selleck had a similar problem decades ago when he played Tom Magnum in the TV show MAGNUM, P.I.
The script, penned by Rhett Reese is a bit lame. DEADPOOL is not a mutant, but rather a man-made mutant. Through a series of medical procedures, he is burnt to a crisp and killed, only to revive with the ability to heal and not be killed. Somewhere along the way, he learns martial arts and gymnastics, but the viewers are never told how this miraculous transformation occurs. The film could have used a montage.
The story centers around DEADPOOL’s mission of vengeance to kill the man who burned him, another man-made mutant called Ajax, played by Ed Skrein. There are two action segments in the film. The first is DEADPOOL’s first run- in with Ajax, which he blows; and the final confrontation. In between, the story is an origins tale of how Wilson became DEADPOOL. This part of the movie drags, and even the plethora of uttered F-bombs can’t salvage the slowness. As a subplot, there is a tale of how the X-MEN desperately want DEADPOOL to join their ranks. Why, is a major mystery. e has done nothing to indicate he should be an X-Man. He uses his power to find the people who can lead him to Ajax and then confronts his tormentor. He does absolutely nothing worthy of joining Professor X’s team, nor Magneto’s team, for that matter.
One of the best components to this movie is Gina Carano, as Angle Dust. Carano is one of the few female actresses who can successfully fulfill Hollywood’s current Woman Warrior Agenda. Even a cynic like me can readily believe she would give Colossus a run for his money. Carano is like Ronda Rousey, exuding seductive appeal and feminine fighting ferocity simultaneously. They are not dancers, and their moves on camera indicate a solid foundation and skill in martial arts. Whether through poor editing, or more sinister reasons, her story is left open and leaves DEADPOOL with a major plot hole.
Make-up is a key element to Wade Wilson, so it is a bit disconcerting when his burns shift from scene to scene. This continuity error lies with Make -up Designer Bill Corso. Robert Englund as Freddy Kruger in the NIGHTMARE OF ELM STREET series always looked crispy, but Reynolds looks surprisingly less burnt in some scenes than he does in others. When Angelina Jolie’s Lara Croft in TOMB RAIDER had shifting bust lines, it was a reflection of the videogame, which did the same. I know of no reason for Wilson’s shifting burn degrees.
KEY SCENES TO LOOK FOR:
1. ANGEL DUST VS. COLOSSUS
2. THE 4 OR 5 MOMENTS SPEECH
3. 12 BULLET COUNTDOWN
DEADPOOL offers a superhero for the crass. There are numerous funny moments, funnier even than ANT-MAN, but the rest of the film is like a superhero version of TED. The concept of an adult superhero tale harkens back to Darren Aronofsky's treatment for the BATMAN reboot, but this one does not cater to the sophisticated adult. They are already planning a sequel, but this character would be better served on Netflix. It will never happen, because Reynolds, as star and producer, is making a boat load of money.
THE GRADE FOR DEADPOOL = C.