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Review: Why ‘Deadpool’ Isn’t the Unconventional Superhero Movie Marvel Wants It To Be

Review: Why 'Deadpool' Isn't the Unconventional Superhero Movie Marvel Wants It To Be

READ MORE: ‘Deadpool’ Rated R For “Strong Violence, Language, Sexual Content And Graphic Nudity” Plus 4 New TV Spots

Director Tim Miller’s long-gestating “Deadpool” feature exposes its audience to its twisted worldview in the least amount of time possible, using its uproarious opening credits to tick off important character tropes rather than actual actor names (Brianna Hildebrand is “a moody teen” while Stefan Kapicic’s Colossus is derided as “a CGI character”) who are all starring in “some douchebag’s film.” These snappy, sometimes silly credits all play over a slick, gory slow-motion car crash that hints at major carnage to come, all with a cheeky twist (amid the swirling, crunched bodies gentling hurdling through space, there is various self-aware ephemera, like a People Magazine declaring Ryan Reynolds as the sexiest man alive and a Green Lantern card that made an entire audience groan). It’s all bolstered by a purposely ironic musical choice: Juice Newton’s “Angel of the Morning” blares out like the cherry on top of a “look, isn’t this funny?” sundae.

And for a moment, it is, but not for long.

Although Deadpool has previously shown up in other features — Reynolds himself played him in “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” — Miller’s film functions as an origin story (see? already not so original). In his non-mutant form, Deadpool is Wade Wilson, a former Special Forces dude turned for-hire mercenary, one armed with both serious ass-kicking skills and a salty sense of humor (he’s not called “the merc with the mouth” for nothing). Wade mostly busies himself with beating up baddies for chump change and hanging out at a local merc watering hole run by his pal Weasel (TJ Miller, providing standard comic relief in a movie already bent on being funny). 

Things change for Wade when he meets the alluring Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), who’s also both very violent and funny. The pair fall in love and everything looks like sunshine and roses, until Wade is diagnosed with cancer. Eventually driven to find a cure, he submits to the weirdo come-ons of a mystery man who delivers him to Ajax’s (Ed Skrein) “workshop” to be, presumably, made better. He’s not. Deadpool, for all of his wit and winking self-awareness, is still bred from the X-Men line, and Ajax’s “treatment” involves subjecting Wade to enough stress, pain and torture that his mutant genes activate and cure him.

When those genes do finally pop up, they turn Wade into a mutant capable of healing himself from everything, not just cancer, though his outward appearance is forever altered (and not for the better). In a rage, he destroys the workshop and sets his crosshairs on Ajax, the only man who may be able to change him back. Horrified by his appearance, Wade becomes Deadpool, slinks into the shadows and refuses to let Vanessa in on his new lifestyle until he can force Ajax to fix him.

It’s a fine enough plan, and it’s one punctuated by plenty of style, a solid self-awareness (and lots of fourth wall breaking), some pretty good jokes and the thorny realization that it will never pan out. Also, two of the X-Men show up, begging Deadpool to join their merry leagues. It’s a bit of a mess, but even with its piled-on plot and lots of laughs, it still looks very much like a standard superhero origin film.

Even casual comic book movie fans are likely well aware of the years-long struggle to bring “Deadpool” to the big screen as a standalone film (the film is, like the X-Men franchise, not part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but Deadpool is a Marvel superhero and the film was partially produced by Marvel Entertainment, alongside 20th Century Fox), a complicated drama of inner-studio wrangling and competing interests that, while a fine enough talking point for a while there, holds little bearing on the final film itself. What is clear, however, is how much Reynolds and company clearly wanted to make this film, particularly for fans, and that good cheer and strong dedication shines through in every frame.

Reynolds is at his best here as Deadpool (and, alternately, as Wade), all snappy jokes and sly one-liners. He’s genuinely fun (he’s funny, too, sure, but really, he’s fun) and he seems to relish the chance to give his chimichanga-loving hero the main stage that many people have so long desired. In a landscape where superhero roles are too often seen as paycheck parts, Reynolds breaks the mold. Too bad his film doesn’t.

One of the primary selling points of “Deadpool” and its big differences with most studio fare is its R-rating, earned for “strong violence and language throughout, sexual content and graphic nudity” (plenty of people have tried to tout the film as the “first” superhero film to pick up an R, but that’s just not the case, as it follows in the rating steps of other offerings as diverse as the “Blade” films, “Watchmen” and even the recent hit “Kingsman: The Secret Service”).

Despite what that rating might tell you, the majority of the film’s more adult-skewing elements lean towards the “strong violence” side of the scale, and every action scene is punctuated by the kind of bone-crunching violence that wouldn’t be out of place in the “Saw” franchise. At one point, Deadpool wryly remarks that the film is really a horror movie, and while that particularly instance is caught up in psychological trauma, it’s hard not to see the parallels elsewhere.

As is often the case with such violence, it eventually becomes numbing. By its midpoint, once the novelty of a superhero movie showing super levels of violence wears off, the thinness and lack of spark in the fight scenes becomes more readily apparent. By the film’s end, they are hard to distinguish from any other superhero fare. Similarly, lack of imagination keep the film’s prodigious swearing and occasional nudity from feeling like anything original. They appear to be shoe-horned into the film simply because they could be, not because they serve an essential purpose. And here we thought “Deadpool” would do something different.

Grade: B-

“Deadpool” opens nationwide on February 12.

READ MORE: “Deadpool Is Nothing But Tangents” Says Director Tim Miller, Plus New Images From The Film

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John David Stutts

This is a movie about a gay douchebag, made by gay douchebags, for gay douchebags and the gay douchebags who love them. If you like Deadpool, you probably were that little jackhole I overheard coming out of Snakes on a Plane saying it was the "best movie I’ve ever seen."


"Similarly, lack of imagination keep the film’s prodigious swearing and occasional nudity from feeling like anything original." – I completely agree. Especially in regards to the nudity. I have never been bothered by nudity in film when it serves a function, but there were moments when it was obvious that the filmmaker was just throwing in a vagina or boobs for no reason other than he could. I say he because even without knowing up front – it was obviously a man. All of the characters outside of Deadpool were incredibly underdeveloped. As someone with no prior knowledge of the comic series, I developed no empathy with anyone in the film. Sure it was entertaining, but I wouldn’t want to see it again.


watch Deadpool movie online
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Yeah. Deadpool has nothing to do with MCU


He’s not a superhero though is he, he’s a mercenary/ANTI-hero so your argument is invalid.


The author of this review is clearly not a part of the target audience of the movie.

Is the target audience people who enjoy movies?


shut you hipster douche


Think, and I mean really think, before you spew garbage like this ever again.


Way to show your woman-hating a s s, Arturas. Nice work.


the same rotten tomatoes that gives supergirl 100%, not a reliable source

Ann Onimus

It’s hilarious that some people still think that you need to know "[usually nerdy franchise] lore" to review the film adaptation. Guys, if it’s a crappy film, you don’t need a PhD in Deadpoolism to see it’s crap. Same if it’s a good movie. Besides, the majority of moviegoers won’t know anything about the comics and judge the film on its own, which makes the point even mooter.


@RRA and many of the above, yes, google is your friend – Deadpool is co-produced by Marvel Entertainment… check the wiki page. Also this film looks like Ace Ventura: Super Douche, Ryan Reynolds has built his entire career off pretending hes brodie in Mallrats, and now he’s thrown some jim carrey in there its unbearable


Marvel Studios has built up such brand power, that people mistakenly think EVERY movie based off a Marvel comic is produced by them. Remember kids, Google can be your friend!


Cue butthurt sexist fanboi at 2/7/16 5:09. I’ve already seen a couple of mediocre reviews of this movie, but I’ll probably still go see it at some point. I never thought it would be anything more than "superhero movie by way of South Park," no sophistication but an amusing, obscene diversion all the same.


Lets search RT for a review that validates our stance on a movie we have yet to see! and while we’re at it, lets keep using RT the wrong way!

Mike G

Um…this is a FOX production, not a Marvel movie.

Also, DEADPOOL is the greatest. If you don’t like it, you can cram a chimichanga where the sun don’t shine!


So…what’s your point? Sounds perfect to me.


Bad review number said

Philip Henderson Jr

The author of this review is clearly not a part of the target audience of the movie. And the only negative review I’ve seen.


*run-on sentence*…get that, fembabes?


Thanks for the kindergarten-grade footnote, Sile. On behalf of all of the knuckle-dragging neanderthals on this side of the gender aisle we’re always grateful for the enlightened viewpoint from great feminist minds like yours helping us climb out of the masculine muck on our way to your view of an evolved world where men had lost their testicles and ability to laugh and serve at the whim of those like yourself and the poor, misunderstood reviewer.


*underroos* not *understood*…get that fanboys?.


Great review, Kate…pay no attention to whiny, mewling cry-man-babies wetting their Deadpool understood due to your honest, negative review.


    Crappy review. You can notice a biased opinion reviewing a movie she doesn’t even know anything about. You could have done your homework studying the actual character before making an REAL educated opinion. Even if you don’t care about the subject, that is what separates your “opinion” from a true critical review. BTW: 1) Anti-hero 2) You can clearly notice that you have no idea what target audience is in Marketing.
    Sile, please you really need to look up the definition of “Opinion” and really use your head to compare that with an “honest review”. Dumbass


Who let feminist with zero knowledge of Deadpool lore reciew the movie?Pathetic review search RT for better ones.

Paul Davis

Well, considering its currently at 100% on RT your opinion is in an extremely small minority.

Paul Davis

A field of your own


Deadpool is produced by Fox and has nothing to do with the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

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