I must confess, I don’t really know an awful lot about Deadpool. I think the only time he really pinged my radar was when I was writing my dissertation on “Reflexivity in Comic Art” (ha ha! I know, right!) and someone suggested I take a look. My colossal amount of research on the character amounted to standing in Travelling Man in Leeds reading a trade paperback for about ten minutes. I got a 2:1 by the way. Education standards absolutely HAVEN’T fallen! Oh, Lordy me no!
Anyway, I skim read a tale in which he doesn’t want to be disturbed and every time someone tries to talk to him, he pops their speech bubble. Which was kind of cool and funny, but no so cool and funny that I bought the book or bothered reading anymore Deadpool. I spoke with believable authority in my dissertation about him, though.
That’s it. That’s my knowledge of Deadpool; a kind of funny, kind of meta, fourth wall breaking psychopath.
And Rob Liefeld.
Do you know how much I cannot stand Rob Liefeld? Do you know how much I think he is responsible for the infantilisation of comics? (Hang on . . . is ‘infantilisation’ actually a word??’) How I hold him almost entirely responsible for smashing the upward trajectory and kudos as an art form comics were getting before his lame arsed writing and drawing (I will not give it gravity by calling it art!) killed off the goodwill created by the mid-80’s surge of fucking classic writing for comics?
Sometimes I will look at the website –
simply to point and laugh; sometimes to vent my righteous anger.
Of course, he’s a massive star and sold billions of comics. There is no justice in the world. None.
But the movie.
I saw the trailers and thought ‘cool’.
This surprised me.
I actually agonised over whether I should go because it would mean putting money into Liefeld’s coffers, but . . . I went. This morning. At 9:00am.
And it was okay.
No really. Not wishing to damn it with faint praise, but it’s okay. I enjoyed it. It was a good solid eighty minutes of entertainment. Of course with a running of one hundred and eight minutes, you have to question the edit.
But . . .
Remember when Doctor Who rebooted in 2005? It did so well it got a couple of spin-offs? One of those promised to be more adult, darker and sexier? We got Torchwood which was essentially a low-rent X-files where one person talked about sex a lot, one person wanted sex a lot, two people had sex a lot – often in a greenhouse – and everyone said ‘fuck’ a lot.
Welcome to Deadpool.
Okay, that’s a bit damning, but the principle is the same.
X-men doing okay? Let’s spin-off something more adult. It’s funny how in both Torchwood and Deadpool’s case “Adult” means ‘puerile’.
There’s little here to distinguish Deadpool from any other superhero movie in terms of storytelling; there’s a bit more sex, a bit more violence and a bit more brain meat, but it’s pretty much standard superhero fare. What does distinguish it is the way that Deadpool plays with the narrative and has fun with the tropes of superheroics. The fourth wall breaking is amusing but soon gets wearing and by the time it gets to the discussion on how Ryan Reynolds got his part in some movie or other, I can’t remember which one, the constant references to self and previous movies have become more than a little smug and wearing.
Having said that, there is an awful lot to like in this movie. Reynolds absolutely is Deadpool. The action sequences are superb – with most of the movie happening inside one of them – but I can’t help but think the makers didn’t quite have faith that Deadpool could hold a movie on his own.
So we get a couple of other X-men thrown in. II mean, it was great to see Colossus actually do something for a change; he’s been somewhat marginalised of all of the X-men movies thus far, but I don’t think he was ever that self-righteous and stupid . . . not how I read him, anyway. I would have preferred that kind of action in an X-men movie, to be honest. He was pretty much here for dispensing morals and taking pratfalls.
Negasonic Teenage Warhead, stole the movie. It was almost like Twinkle from Dinnerladies got superpowers. Don’t actually know the character from the comics, so I can’t comment on how well she translates, but she kinda ruled.
I loved the bullet countdown, I absolutely adored the opening credits, I even enjoyed seeing Leifeld dead in a toilet (I cheered); I would even more than happily see it again and I would probably enjoy myself . . . even if it was only for the uniporn gag.
And there’s the weird thing. I was chuckling throughout most of the movie – there weren’t that many laugh out loud moments, but it is good, if puerile, fun but it all felt a bit hollow. Yeah the whole thing was underpinned by a love story, but who gave an actual fuck about that when ‘the love interest’ was clearly only there to make good calendar gags and provide the ticking clock in act three? Blah.
Apparently there was a villain, too. British according to the opening credits. See how I’m struggling to recall anything about him? It’s a bit of a handicap if you don’t really remember the antagonist. Sort of makes you wonder what it was all about.
The non-superhero support was mostly forgettable, too. Blind Al was only really there to make fart gags and not make ikea furniture; Weasel probably should have had a bigger role, but for some reason felt cut down; I did enjoy Dopinder the Taxi Driver, though.
Thing is, I can see why people are going crazy for it. I do understand that the constant smart arsed jabber and meta-references are different to what you would normally expect from a superhero movie and that yes, it does something a bit different. I can see why people are whooping and hollering about originality, but when it boils down to it, it’s a fairly ordinary superhero movie that comes in a shiny new bag.
Nowhere near as ground breaking, daring and ‘different’ as, say, Antman – despite it’s on screen protestations of being a great superhero movie – but still shit loads better than Fury Road.
It was so pleased with itself on deconstructing superhero movies that it forgets that The Incredibles did that a long time ago and with a better plot, more rounded characters and a lot more humanity than the ‘love story’ offered here.
It absolutely doesn’t drop the ball in the way Wolverine:Origins did but I can help but feel that it should have been better; more.
See it, but don’t expect it to change your world.