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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Monday, June 05, 2017

Movie Review - Deadpool

Deadpool (2016)
Starring Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, T.J. Miller, Gina Carano, Brianna Hildebrand, Stefan Kapicic, and Leslie Uggams
Directed by Tim Miller

While I tend to have the reputation that I'm not a fan of superhero movies (hell, I've even said it myself on the blog), that's not necessarily an accurate statement.  While the DC franchise has left me a bit disenchanted (even that lauded Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy leaves me feeling meh), Marvel films tend to have enough exuberance that I find the majority of them enjoyable even if they are a bit frivolous.  And no comic book movie is perhaps more frivolous than Deadpool, the R-rated smash that changed the comic book film landscape in early 2016.  Lauded by the fan base for its coarse language, sexual jokes, the occasional boob or butt (although surprisingly not as many as I expected), Deadpool does contain all these things we haven't yet seen in a Marvel flick.  But what it doesn't have is a decent story, relying instead on shock value and a snarky performance from Ryan Reynolds that's not compelling to this reviewer in the slightest.

Reynolds is Wade Wilson whose job nowadays is as a for-hire mercenary, going out every night hunting people down for a profit.  While at the local bar, he meets prostitute Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) and the two hit it off right away.  Now boyfriend and girlfriend, things seem to be looking bright for the heretofore downtrodden and sullen Wade until he's diagnosed with terminal cancer.  Faced with his own demise, Wade agrees to an experimental treatment at some seedy establishment which turns out to be both a blessing and a curse.  It turns out the man running the experiment -- Francis Freeman (Ed Skrein) -- has more nefarious plans which end up permanently disfiguring Wade, but also giving him the fantastical superhero trait of being nearly invincible with the ability to regenerate every aspect of his body.  Despite this admittedly awesome ability, Wade is still devastated that he was pulled away from the one meaningful relationship in his life with Vanessa and he sets out on a mission to seek revenge on Francis.

The biggest issue with Deadpool is that it thinks it's infinitely funnier and more amusing than it really is.  Beyond Wade's backstory, there's very little plot here and the screenwriters decided that self-referential jokes would win people over -- and based on this film's blockbuster status, they were correct.  Unfortunately, it didn't work for me.  Sure, a few bits hit their mark and elicited a chuckle or two, but in the end, I found myself feeling decidedly disconnected from the story and the characters.  Granted, part of that disconnection is formed by placing a pompous egotistical jerk of a character at the center of your film -- but, honestly, that just means the filmmakers have to try a little bit harder to get people like me to care about things.  You can have an awful person at the center of your film and succeed -- just look at my all-time favorite movie Psycho -- you just have to work a little harder to have the audience buy into what they're watching.

Ryan Reynolds does a decent job exemplifying the title character, but his wry sensibilities throughout most of the film weren't enough to keep me engaged.  Part of me understands why people fell in love with this movie -- it is admittedly very different than comic books films we've seen previously -- but "different" doesn't necessarily equal "good" and that's the case with Deadpool.

The RyMickey Rating:  C-

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