quick review: deadpool

Here we go again with another attempt to shock the bourgeoisie, only this time the outrage is perpetuated on superhero films after years of Marvel formula. Are we really outraged anymore by crass humour, crude sex, or gory violence, or are we just being good consumers by buying into the marketing?

Deadpool adapts an intriguing metafictional anti-hero – 31st on IGN’s ranking of Top 100 superheroes – but like most of Marvel’s film output, it’s a mediocrity. The plot is a rehashed revenge-driven origin story, the settings are banal, characters not named Deadpool/Wade Wilson are either clichés, bland pudding, or punchlines with little humanity to them, and the raunchy rapid-paced humour is more often hit-and-miss rather than the hit-and-run it hopes to be. (T.J. Miller’s comic relief is particularly limp, but if you’re amused by the description of Wilson’s disfigurement as the offspring of two avacadoes hatefully fucking each other, dig in.) There’s nothing in its metafictional makeup – breaking the fourth-wall, self-referential humour – that we haven’t seen done better elsewhere (by characters named Ferris Bueller, for example). Not even the addition of two X-Men helps. Negasonic Teenage Warhead’s contribution is to be the butt of moody teenager jokes, while Colossus isn’t even allowed to win his own big fight let alone be more than Deadpool’s naively moral straight man. At least the romance between Wade Willson and Morena Baccarin’s Vanessa is sweet. Awwww.

If Ryan Reynolds, who made the film his passion project, wasn’t so well suited to the title role we’d have a plotless bore. But Reynolds carries the film like it was his birthright, partly due to his charm but also because Deadpool is the only character the filmmakers care about. It’s a shame that the film comes across as money thrown at a low-budget indie production. Tim Miller stages his action scenes with verve, but there’s nothing about his direction or Ken Seng’s pedestrian, colourless cinematography to thrill the senses. Deadpool has its moments – enough to be worth a watch if the trailer intrigues you, and the character has potential, but as far as this pool goes Marvel is swimming in the shallow end.

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