A Review of ‘Deadpool’ (2016)

‘Deadpool’ is, hands-down, the best Deadpool movie you will see this year.

An old, weary joke I know, but in this case it happens to be true. Is ‘Deadpool’ an exceptional superhero movie? Is it riotously entertaining? Is it a deep and thoughtful exploration of love and loss? Is it a refreshing change of pace from the preceding and succeeding torrent of superhero films with which we are supplied? Are all of these questions rhetorical?

In order: No, Yes, No, Yes, Yes. Funnily enough, your mother said exactly the same sequence of words to me last night. Only with exclamation marks instead of commas. And a lot of heavy breathing.

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‘Deadpool’ is an “experience film” – every element of it exists solely to provide the audience with the experience of watching a movie about Deadpool. You may think that’s a semantically-null sentence, and you may be right, you’d have to explain the meaning of “semantically” to me first. But ‘Deadpool’ is a vehicle for the character Deadpool, and that’s the limit of what it offers.

If you enjoy Deadpool’s personality-laden antics, then this film will entertain – almost beyond measure. I am not a comic-reader, and so I knew little about the character beyond his origin and main characteristics, but I hugely enjoyed every minute of exposure that he received – which happened to be the entire run-time, more-or-less.

However, if playground humour doesn’t particularly entertain you, and if you prefer some of the more mature characterisation of the first two X-Men films by Bryan Singer, or the brutal reality of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight series, or the traditional, grandiose heroics of Captain America and The Avengers, then ‘Deadpool’ won’t have much of great appeal.

As I left the cinema with my friends (I have at least two, believe it or not), we discussed films in general, and what we liked about certain productions compared to others. We mostly enjoyed ‘Deadpool’, and we mostly disliked James Cameron’s ‘Avatar’ (2009) – which is another “experience film”. In the same way that ‘Deadpool’ is all about putting the audience in the same room as a fun character, ‘Avatar’ is about bringing the audience to a strange, visually-encapsulating world – things like story, plot, character development, narrative, all take second place to the larger objective of crafting an “experience”.

That’s not to say that those elements are done poorly in either film – ‘Deadpool’ and ‘Avatar’ also share a great deal in that they are both very well made. The acting is fine, the stories are simple and coherent, the characters largely act in the way they’re supposed to act, the shots are all in-focus – because that’s all they need to be. Indeed, I could make the argument that some kind of deep, intense plot with twists and revelations would detract from ‘Deadpool’ as a product, because crafting such a plot would demand screen time that could otherwise be dedicated to the title character.

However, if the extravagant visuals of ‘Avatar’ aren’t enough for you, if the zany babblings of ‘Deadpool’s Deadpool don’t quite hit the mark, and if your brain demands the stimulation of an original, well-crafted story to entertain, then any “experience film” is going to leave you unsatisfied. And that’s fine – we each enjoy different things.

Except for ‘X-Men: The Last Stand’. Nobody actually enjoyed that.

Nobody.

8 thoughts on “A Review of ‘Deadpool’ (2016)

  1. “if you prefer some of the more mature characterisation of the first two X-Men films by Bryan Singer, or the brutal reality of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight series, or the traditional, grandiose heroics of Captain America and The Avengers, then ‘Deadpool’ won’t have much of great appeal.”

    What I expected from Deadpool was a great satire/parody on the superhero genre. It def wasn’t meant to be any of the movies above and I don’t think anyone expected it to be. What I didn’t expect was the movie to be full of jokes and nothing else. It’s fine for Deadpool to just be Deadpool but it’s a terrible waste of potential.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As far as introducing the character’s overall sensibility goes, I think the movie did an excellent job. If you don’t like Deadpool’s wise-cracking, you probably won’t like the series, since the meta quality comes from the graphic novels. The story is pretty standard origin stuff, but I thought they did a good job of at least making it entertaining. I’d take this over yet another Spider-Man origin movie any day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Y’know, I didn’t even bother with the last two ‘Spiderman’ movies? It just seemed so grotesquely unnecessary, and I could not tell for the life of me what new material it would bring to the character or the story.

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    1. I think it comes down to “Is almost two hours of Deadpool cracking wise a satisfying experience for you?” And for me, it was – but I can easily see how others would feel otherwise.

      Like

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