I am so sick of superhero movies. I’m not against the core concept, as generally engaging and entertaining movies can and have been mined from the concept of a superhero in both the action elements that obviously come with it, as well as the character and emotional aspects of how this person deals with the turmoils of being this different kind of person. Nowadays, though, these movies are so locked in to making money, it seems, that they’ve just become increasingly formulaic with all these characters blending into one where I don’t have any connection to any of them and thus don’t care about them or the movies.
In the Marvel canon, the only recent movies I’ve liked was the first Iron Man, due to it being something completely different from what we’d seen at the time, the depiction of a superhero not named Spiderman, Batman or Superman, the portrayal of the character by Robert Downey, Jr. and the overall fun the movie oozed. I enjoyed the Captain American movies, because although a superhero movie on the outset, at its core was a much more interesting spin on a investigative-type thriller with government-type organizations. The last movie I really enjoyed was Guardians Of The Galaxy again due to its out-of-the-box thinking and its penchant to just go all out and tell with whacky and fun story that at least presented itself as something new. Deadpool falls in line with this list, but to an even bigger degree in that it’s literally a superhero movie made to make fun of how boring and formulaic superhero movies are. Finally.
We all know the story behind Deadpool, with everybody dreaming about the idea of an R-rated superhero movie with swearing and brutal violence that could be built upon the money and resources that the Marvel films seemingly have unlimited of. The first step came in X-Men Origins: Wolverine where Deadpool would have a cameo, until the movie actually happened and Deadpool was this neutered gimp that barred hardly a resemblance to the character. The concept and possibility of the movie zig-zagged for a couple years, only to finally be put into overdrive when some test footage “leaked” and was met with a ton of positive reviews, with the scenes including all the badass Deadpool traits everybody was expecting from such a movie.
Deadpool works on a lot of different levels and mostly in embracing what kind of movie it is. It’s basically like if Marvel did their own version of an “independent” superhero movie. Credit to Marvel for letting the people who made the movie go literally and figuratively balls out. The movie never skimps on any of the violence, sex, language, references and crude humour that you’d expect from the character, not that that content automatically makes this or anything a “good” film, but when you’re dealing with this character and idea that gets so much of its energy and purpose from all that, it certainly allows the film to breathe and be what it needs to be. The film is very small in so-fact as there’s is only about two major fight scenes (which the movie makes fun of, including the scope of these fights being limited where in the movie Deadpool will forget to bring extra ammo and guns), there is only two tertiary side superhero characters, the villain is pretty basic, the plot is a pretty stripped down revenge idea and so on.
Like I said, allowing the movie to go all out in its self-referential and mocking of the genre and Marvel movies with seemingly little restriction was all for the better. One of the best running jokes was Deadpool constantly obsessing and mentioning Hugh Jackman, along with other mentions of real life actors like Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool referencing the literal actor Ryan Reynolds aka himself, mentioning James McAvoy and Patrick Stewart, commenting on how small the film’s budget was when Deadpool arrived at the X-Men school and that you wouldn’t be seeing any cameos because their budget was too small. Or even T.J. Miller as Wade Wilson/Deadpool’s sidekick saying that he wasn’t going to join Deadpool in his final battle against the villain just because “he didn’t want to.” The film has so many ways and mentions of making fun of superhero cliches (and a lot of the time just general movie cliches) and formula that for at least this once and for a character that is bred off this it’s such a breath of fresh air that at least some of your concerns and groans with this genre get reflected back to you from a high stage. It’s not that these references cloud the movie too much or take away from the actual narrative and sense of it being a film, where it still very much feels like it’s own world.
Due to the small nature of things, the narrative itself was very small and contained and it was really all it needed to be. It all just boiled down to Wade Wilson wanting to get revenge on the guy who infused him with these mutant genes that were intended to cure his cancer, but rather disfigured him and kept him from his fiancee. In doing so they wove a simple origin story, which you kind of have to with this being the first film, but it never felt boring or dragged along as they did it partway through the film and it featured almost as more of a framing device/flashback. Ed Skrein as the villain Ajax wasn’t that great or memorable, but he really didn’t need to be since the film is all about Deadpool and it’s not like there was some major plot or set-up to his character or his means. Ryan Reynolds was fantastic, of course, because he finally just gets to play Ryan Reynolds with the sarcasm and rugged movie star looks that featured in every other movie of his that sometimes worked and sometimes didn’t coalesced into the perfect role where those are the main two tenants of his character as this anti-hero superhero.
So, man, imagine that, a movie the people have been clamoring for for years, an R-rated big studio superhero movie at that, actually delivered and was everything and more that people expected from it. The movie really does come at a perfect time as superhero fatigue seemingly reaches its all time high and we at least get this break to regroup before another Summer of much of the same. I would never think this would change anything and not that it really should or tries to be, but at least it makes certain that everybody is in on the joke whether it’s intended with Deadpool or just par for the course nowadays with seemingly every other superhero film.