Deadpool

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Marvel awesomely flips the superhero genre on its head.
★★★
Movie Review #1,053

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Distributed by 20th Century Fox.  Action-Adventure-Comedy-Sci-Fi.  Running time: 1 hour, 48 minutes.  Rated R for strong violence and language throughout, sexual content and graphic nudity.  Released February 12, 2016.  Directed by Tim Miller.  Character by Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza.  Written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick.  Starring Ryan Reynolds, Ed Skrein, Michael Benyaer, Brianna Hildebrand, T.J. Miller, Morena Baccarin, Jed Rees, Gina Carano, Leslie Uggams, Greg LaSalle, and the voice of Stefan Kapicic.
With a cameo from Stan Lee.

If we’re talking about where “Deadpool” is most clever, the answer is immediately. Whoever wrote the opening credits is a brilliant, brilliant human being. It’s the most tongue-in-cheek introduction we could have asked for. We’re not told that this is Tim Miller’s film, but rather “Some Douchebag’s Film.” Rather than list the names of all the major players, we see titles like “A British Villain,” “A Moody Teen,” and “A Hot Chick” fly across the screen. Meanwhile, on the backdrop, the camera glosses over the intricate details of a freeze frame. We’re obviously right in the middle of a fight scene during this freeze frame, because we see objects like bullets and a crashed car. But the camera also focuses on a few unlikely objects. For example, a cup of coffee, or a wallet containing a picture of Ryan Reynolds as Green Lantern. It’s a joke, of course, on the fact that Reynolds plays Deadpool in this very movie.

That sort of meta humor pervades the script. Deadpool seems to know he’s in a movie. He’s continually breaking the fourth wall; even the way he continually talks to himself, it seems like he’s addressing us. Although “Deadpool” stands firmly on its own two legs, there are some remnants here of the X-Men series, of which it is a spin-off. Two lesser-known X-Men join the cast. One is the “Moody Teen” as mentioned in the credits. The other is some silver giant character called Colossus, who I didn’t particularly care for, mostly because he didn’t look too great as a full CGI creation. The reason we only see two X-Men, by the way, is because the budget was too small. At least that’s what Deadpool says in the film, and given that the average superhero movie costs far more than $58 million to produce, I’m led to assume that there’s some truth in that.

Let’s be clear. “Deadpool” isn’t your average superhero movie (or supervillain movie). It earns earns its R rating, and it even pushes the limits of an R rating. Expect heavily stylized violence with the occasional blood and gore. Expect a montage of se scenes, featuring graphic nudity. Expect loads and loads of coarse language. With all that in mind, if you actually decide to bring your ten-year-old with you, expect that your kid will be scarred for life, and expect that you’ll be getting some dirty looks on your way out of the theater.

There’s lots of dry humor in “Deadpool”. The fact that the film refuses to take itself seriously somewhat tarnishes the less comedic moments of the film, but they make the rest of it a really enjoyable time. The music we hear in “Deadpool” isn’t even a heroic score by some big composer, as we’d usually find in a Marvel movie. Yes, there is an instrumental score, but it’s subdued by a soundtrack filled with titles like “Shoop” by SaltnPepa and “Careless Whisper” by George Michael. While it is in some ways like many other Marvel movies, “Deadpool” is also Marvel flipping the superhero genre on its head. If it’s any evidence, Stan Lee’s traditional cameo occurs in a strip club, where he is the DJ. Now, if R-rated, tongue-in-cheek superhero movies were common, “Deadpool” would suck. Since they rarely come about, it’s pretty darn awesome.

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