Monday, February 15, 2016
If I haven’t made my opinion about superhero movies abundantly clear over the past, what, two years, then let me catch you up to speed. Since we live in a superhero renaissance, where there are going to be at least five major superhero movies released this year, I’m just tired of seeing all of them. They’re all starting to blend together into a single homogenized mess of explosions, spandex, and set piece moments. There’s nothing to distinguish one movie from another, and the ones that do stand away from the crowd are the rare exceptions to the formula.
But why do I think that about superhero movies? Well, take a look at just a handful of superhero movies that came out last year. Age of Ultron was a gray and bleak superhero “epic” where most of the action wasn’t all that interesting and was more focused on setting up other superhero movies than telling its own. Fant4stic was made solely so Fox could keep the license on the Fantastic Four while turning in a gray and bleak superhero “epic” where most of the action was just laughably inept. The future looks even grimmer, with Captain America: Civil War being a gray brawl between superheroes and Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice looking even darker than Man of Steel was. In essence, superhero movies are missing one thing that makes me want to watch a superhero movie; fun.
Let’s be honest here, when was the last time a superhero movie was actually focused on being fun? Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers were incredibly fun, and I loved those movies. I thought that both of them were fantastic and had everything I love about superheroes. It had crazy action, funny dialogue, a bright aesthetic, fun characters, and was just about having a good time. And with that, we have Deadpool, a movie about a character we know is all about having fun in the most insane way possible, starring in a movie that looks too gray and too serious for its own good.
I’m not going to give you a background story about Deadpool because, frankly, you don’t need it. Wade Wilson falls in love with a woman, gets cancer, Weapon X turns him into Deadpool. And now he wants revenge on the guy that made him an ugly mutant. That’s all there really is to the plot, and that’s all we really need. However, the biggest problem with Deadpool is that it focuses WAY too much on the plot and not enough about the Merc with the Mouth.
Now, before I start tearing this movie to shreds, and believe me, there will be shreds, I just want to say this as clearly as possible.
Ryan Reynolds is fantastic as Deadpool. He is the perfect Deadpool and no one else could have played him. Just imagine Ryan Reynolds is in a tiny little bubble away from this review, immune to all of my criticism, okay? He’s awesome, he makes Deadpool come alive, and that’s all that needs to be said about that. ANYWAY…
Deadpool constantly jumps back and forth between the present, where Deadpool is hunting down the guy that made him, and the past, where it explains how Wade Wilson became Deadpool. Any backstory about Deadpool is uninteresting and at worst, boring. We don’t care about the emotionally decisions that Deadpool made to go to the Weapon X program, or the torture he underwent by the blandest villain in a superhero movie yet. All we care about is Deadpool killing things, breaking the fourth wall, and just being Deadpool. Yes I understand that we need backstory for a character like him, but why couldn’t it be done in a very Deadpool like way? Why not make it like The Emperor’s New Groove where Deadpool pauses the movie, gives a very quick run down on his backstory, and then return to the movie? Why couldn’t the plot be done in a more Deapool-ish way?
About half of the movie is about us following around Wade Wilson, who is still funny and likeable, but isn’t the homicidal sociopath we know and love. Once he turns into Deadpool, then the best jokes of the movie start rolling in. Until then, I was just sitting and waiting until Deadpool came back on in his red spandex.
In fact, I was waiting for a while for a lot of interesting things to happen. I was waiting for something to really grab my attention, and those moments came when Deadpool was reacting to and having witty banter with Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (awesome name by the way). Those scenes were by far the best and had the best fourth wall jokes, one-liners, and puns. Sure, Deadpool being by himself and talking was funny, but the movie was at its best when there were other people Deadpool could crack jokes with.
And when the joke shit, they really hit. I was laughing a lot at those moments where Deadpool was interacting with other X-Men, mostly because they broke up the tedium of plot exposition bland action. And yes, the action was bland for the most part and the movie was dark and gray. Can I just say that I hate it when superhero movies have a visual aesthetic of gray and more gray? There was no color in this movie outside of Deadpool’s bright red suit!
I know I’m really a stickler for visual aesthetics, and a lot of people may not know what that is, but it essentially means that it’s the tone for what a movie looks like. Take Crimson Peak for example. When you watch that movie, you see Victorian mansions, bright red terra cotta, elaborate dresses and suits of multiple colors, dark blues for the nights, and a mixture of white and red for the climax. It’s visually distinctive and leaves an impact because you remember how the movie looked aesthetically. It looks unique and gives off its own, individual appearance. In movies like Deadpool, where the colors are mostly gray with clouds and bleak cities and grungy apartments, it isn’t distinctive because we’ve seen that a thousands times before. We see cities every day and we see gray buildings and rooms almost everyday. There’s no imagination in it, just practicality and functionality, which aren’t visually interesting.
And that’s probably the biggest crime of Deadpool; it just isn’t interesting. It’s true that this is probably the most authentic Deadpool movie we’re ever going to get, but that still doesn’t make this a good movie. Deadpool has shared the fate of its video game cousin of the same name. Sure they both might be incredibly authentic to the character of Deadpool, but as an actual movie of video game, they’re mediocre at best. Just because you’re aware of the fact you’re in a mediocre property doesn’t automatically make it better.
I came into Deadpool cautiously optimistic that maybe, just maybe, it could be the one superhero movie that makes me fall in love with the genre again, but that isn’t the case. Instead, with the exception of the absolutely amazing and perfect performance by Ryan Reynolds, Deadpool is just another generic action movie with nothing really going for it. If you took out Deadpool, you would be left with a painfully average movie without any really bite or pizzazz behind it. As a Deadpool movie, it’s a 5/5, but as an actual movie, there’s no chance of that happening.
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