Deadpool – A Review

deadpool-movie-poster-20161

I guess sometimes the second time is a charm.

Last time we checked in with Ryan Reynolds starring in a superhero movie it was back in 2011 with Green Lantern; the only good that came out of that movie was Reynolds’ marriage to his co-star Blake Lively and their (presumably) adorable daughter James. Green Lantern was otherwise pretty forgettable and Reynolds’ career noticeably cooled afterward. But 2016 is apparently the year of redemption for people who have previously starred in failed super hero movie –what’s up Ben Affleck – so Reynolds received a second chance to prove himself with Deadpool.

This is, of course, also the second time that Reynolds has played a version of Wade Wilson; he originally brought the character to life in 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine, though without the disfigurement and red suit that would come once Wilson transitioned into Deadpool. X-Men Origins: Wolverine was kind of forgettable as well and Reynolds had a relatively small part. So there wasn’t a lot of proof that giving the Deadpool character his own movie was going to be a slam dunk. Reynolds has reportedly wanted to make a Deadpool movie for more than a decade, but it was a very long and slow road to making that a reality.

Given my meh reaction to both Green Lantern specifically and Ryan Reynolds generally, I can’t say that I was initially all that pumped about the idea of a Deadpool movie. I had no familiarity with the character at all; my comic book knowledge is passable at best and X-Men Origins: Wolverine made so little of an impression on me that I mistakenly remembered that Deadpool was Wolverine’s brother (that of course was actually Sabretooth, played by Live Schrieber. I have zero recollection of him even being in the movie). But other people were excited about Deadpool and the frequency in which it was discussed online slowly began to pique my interest. If people who know more about Deadpool had reason to be optimistic, I was going to defer to their good judgment. The marketing team behind Deadpool also ran an A+ campaign over the last few months. If nothing else, I was more predisposed to like Deadpool simply because its publicity made me laugh.

As I’ve written before, going to see super hero movies has become something of a slog as they have increasingly taken themselves way too seriously and neglect to insert any fun. I can “dark and broody” with the best of them, but with the frequency that they are churning out these Marvel and DC properties it’s getting exhausting to sit through them when there are few glimpses of joy. The movies of this genre that I’ve enjoyed most lately are the ones that have a little bit of fun along the way. Not everything has to be cast in gray tones and be so bleak. I will ride of die for the Christopher Nolan Batman movies, but that doesn’t mean I want every super hero movie to be cut from the same cloth. Variety is the spice of life – let’s mix it up a little.

Deadpool not only mixes it up, but it takes the whole superhero genre in new and tremendously fun directions. This is not a parody and it does not blow up the formula of these movies completely, but it is a film that follows the basic rules of superhero films with a very knowing wink and infused with a lot of insanity and hilarity along the way. Deadpool is a self-aware comic book movie that breaks the fourth wall and totally commits to its R-rating; it’s violent, funny, crude and absolutely glorious. I was 100% in during the hilarious opening credits.

Deadpool is the story of Wade Wilson, a mercenary who makes his money by doing bad things to bad people. He meets and falls in love with an escort Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) and things are going pretty swimmingly until Wade gets sick. In an attempt to cure himself, he engages in some questionable experimental treatments run under false pretenses by Francis Freeman (Ed Skrein) which leave Wade disfigured and with new mutant abilities. Now christened Deadpool, he sets out to get revenge on the man who ruined his life, killing whoever has to be killed along the way.

That’s right – I said killed. Because unlike the PG-13 violence that largely populates this type of movie, Deadpool leaves very little doubt that its main character is leaving a path of dead bodies in his wake. There’s a lot of blood in Deadpool and the violence is ratcheted up a notch; this is probably the first superhero movie that I can remember where people are beheaded and otherwise mutilated. In some ways, Deadpool is the most honest of this genre because it doesn’t shy away from the consequences of all this mayhem. When Deadpool shoots a gun, he generally doesn’t miss.

Considering that the character Deadpool is known as “the merc with the mouth” it should come as no surprise that the film is full of his smart aleck observations. Deadpool is fully committed to the humor and the jokes fly as much as the bullets. Not all of these jokes land – there are definitely a few duds in the bunch where it feels like they are just trying too hard to be irreverent – but the ratio of jokes that do land is so high that you don’t really mind the occasional misstep. I’ll probably have to see Deadpool again simply because the audience was laughing so hard that I missed perhaps 10% of the dialogue. Deadpool hasn’t met a quip that he doesn’t like and a fair amount of the humor comes from in-jokes or references to comic book movie tropes. Deadpool will occasionally break the fourth wall and direct the audience directly; he’s aware that he’s in a movie that we’re watching. Reynolds has exactly the right personality for this character and his delivery is perfect. I could see Deadpool being more annoying or not working as well if portrayed by someone else, but Reynolds strikes just the right balance and can tone down the jokiness when it is necessary. Deadpool may poke some fun at the superhero genre, but it is done with affection. If people are expecting Deadpool to totally reinvent the wheel, they will be disappointed; the movie follows the general formula of an origin move without feeling formulaic. It checks the usual boxes, but just has a lot more fun in doing so.

The most frequent question that I’ve received from friends is about whether this movie is appropriate for kids. Of course every kid is different and parental preferences for what kids are exposed to varies, but I think that the short answer is no for anyone under the age of 13. After that, I think it is going to depend on your comfort level with some of the R-rated elements in the film. In addition to the violence, this is a film that has definitely taken advantage of the fuller vocabulary that an R rating grants them. There are the usual curse words, but also some more “colorfully original” insults as well. There is nudity – both male and female – and there is a sex scene montage that definitely explores positions and activities that may make for some awkward moments if viewed with your teenager. Frankly, I was expecting the sex and nudity to be much more graphic and prolific. There’s still enough to make parents aware of it, but it may be a little tamer than you’d expect from what you are reading online. Of course, I am not a parent and generally have a more liberal view on this stuff than most, so take this with the necessary grain of salt.

Some other quick thoughts:

  • I saw the first non-Imax screening of Deadpool last night. Generally the theaters are pretty empty for Thursday screenings, but it was pretty close to capacity last night. Expect Deadpool to have a strong opening weekend.
  • As stated, I have no prior allegiance to the Deadpool character or how well the film adapted the comics, but the guy walking out ahead of me said that this was everything that he could have wanted from a Deadpool movie. The audience also applauded when it was over, so I’m taking that as a de facto endorsement from those who actually have some skin in the game.
  • There are in fact two post-credit scenes, so make sure you stay through all the way to the end.
  • The musical choices in Deadpool are fantastic.
  • Betty White liked the movie. What more do you need?

Deadpool is a superhero movie for people that are getting a little tired of the current superhero movie status quo. Deadpool and Ryan Reynolds do not take anything too seriously, yet still deliver a completely enjoyable super hero movie that just happens to have a very warped sense of humor. Deadpool doesn’t feel like a chore to watch – it’s fun, it’s simple and it knows that everyone is in on the joke. It completely exceeded my expectations and I just had a good time watching it. It’s coming out at the perfect time; I’m a little exhausted from my marathon consumption of heavy Oscar movies and the majority of other movies coming out right now are borderline unwatchable. Deadpool is the perfect antithesis to the winter blues and is proof that not all superhero movies have to be dour affairs. A good time was had by all.

 

The Nickleback Effect

Everyone hates Nickleback.

Well, not everyone – someone is buying their cds and going to their concerts – but if you ask most people how they feel about this Canadian band, I’m guessing that 19/20 people are going to have something derogatory to say about them. They are a punchline, an easy joke to make about terrible music. The coo thing to do is mock Nickleback.

I have no explanation for how this came about or where all this deep seeded resentment is coming from. I have made more than my fair share of Nickleback jokes over the years, but if I was really challenged to articulate what it is that I dislike so much about them, I’d be hard pressed to come up with much justification other than “they’re the worst.” It’s not rational. But somewhere along the line, we all just decided that Nickleback’s mere existence was an affront to humanity.

My irrational dislike of celebrities isn’t limited to Avril Lavigne’s husband and whoever else is in Nickleback; there are plenty of famous people that I can’t stand for any clear reason. For me, these people have the opposite of box office mojo; their attachment to a project instantly makes me less likely to want to have anything to do with it. I can’t put my finger on what rubs me the wrong way about them – there is no clear reason not to like them – yet my visceral reaction is displeasure. I acknowledge that this isn’t fair or even a reasoned response (I can be rational about my irrationality), but that doesn’t diminish how I feel. In the words of many an idiotic reality show star, I guess I’m just a hater (a word that no one who has graduated high school should ever use seriously).

So what celebrities are unlucky enough to make my list and suffer from the illogical “Nickelback Effect?” Here are some of the people who have inexplicable earned my ire:

 

Minnie Driver

minnie driver

I frequently see commercials for NBC’s new comedy About a Boy and wonder why I’ve never given this show a shot. I liked the movie upon which the series is based and it looks amusing enough. I happen to find star David Walton, who I find affable and liked on the short lived series Bent.

And then about halfway through the promo I am reminded that this show also stars Minnie Driver and my instinct immediately is “Nope – I’m out.”

tumblr_mltlu08DCU1r91mjso1_500

This one-sided beef with Driver goes back as far as I can remember, but I have no idea why it originated or why she is such an anathema to me. I’d pin this on the fact that she dated Matt Damon back in the day, except a) I’m not 12 and b) I have to be reminded that they were ever a couple. So whatever is the source of my annoyance, I don’t think that’s it.

 

Ryan Reynolds

1152958-ryan-reynolds

I know that plenty of girls find him dreamy, but whenever Ryan Reynolds is on the screen I have an overwhelming desire to punch him in the face. Like, I’m legitimately angry that I have to deal with this guy. I even hate his stupid hair. Actually, the hair might have a lot to do with this – my loathing seems to ebb and flow depending on how floppy his hair is. The distaste never completely disappears, but he becomes slightly more palpable dependent on his stylistic choices.

Why do I feel this way? I have no godly idea. He actually seems like he’s a nice enough guy. There are plenty of people who are deserving of such venom. On the surface, he doesn’t strike me as one of them. Sure, he makes some crappy movies, but I haven’t held that against other people. Maybe if he would just let me punch him just once, I’d get this out of my system and get over this.

 

Anne Hathaway

Anne Hathaway

I’m hardly alone on this one – somewhere around 2012 everyone decided that they were over Anne Hathaway. She’s clearly talented, but there is just something about her that people find off-putting. The problem is, it’s kind of intangible what it is exactly that drives people so batty. My best guess is that she seems to want to be liked so badly that it actually has the opposite effect. It comes off as calculated and desperate to some. My irritation dates back to before the Oscar seemed like a legitimate possibility (don’t tell me that you watched The Princess Diaries and though that you were watching a future Academy Award winner), so while her recent Tracy Flick-like behavior certainly hasn’t helped matters it isn’t my sole reason for disliking her. I was delighted when I recently heard some stories about her from college that were less than flattering (turns out that I am three degrees of separation from her). She just has a certain je ne sais quoi – if je ne sais quoi is French for irrationally hatable.

 

Jamie Foxx

jamie-foxx-5

 

Talent isn’t necessarily in dispute here; I actually can tolerate Jamie Foxx the actor. When he’s playing a role, I can forget that I don’t like him. But as soon as I have to deal with Jamie Foxx the person, all bets are off. When he’s just being himself (or the version of himself he plays in public), I’m instantly riled up. And not in a good way. If he’s on a talk show or at an awards show, I tend to flip the channel to not have to endure his foolishness.

 

Jerry O’Connell

Jerry O Connell

I take it back – I don’t want to waste my punch on Ryan Reynolds; I want to use it on THIS GUY. Intellectually, I know that he isn’t even worth the energy to dislike but I can’t help it. It’s instinctual. I don’t even know enough about him to have grounds for finding him distasteful, but reason isn’t necessary.

 

Ellen Page

Ellen Page

I’ve liked some of her movies and I fully support her recent decision to publically announce that she is gay. Kudos to her for being her true self. But there is still something about her that has always bugged me. It might be her voice and speaking pattern, but that isn’t defined enough so I can’t absolutely say that is what it is that irks me. This reached its full boiling during Inception, but it had been simmering for a while.

 

Jennifer Morrison

jennifer-morrison-mens-fitness-magazine-junejuly-2009-lq-01

I don’t think that it’s a total coincidence that I started to really dislike How I Met Your Mother as soon as Morrison showed up for an extended arc. Sure, the show was beginning to decline in quality, but her mere presence made me a lot less tolerant than I would have been otherwise. She was a large reason that it took some urging for me to watch Once Upon a Time. I just don’t like her – and my distaste for her only increases when she’s a blonde. But whatever her hair color, not a fan.

I genuinely feel badly that I don’t like these people for no apparent reason; I like to give people a fair shake and in these instances the celebrities in question surely didn’t get that. But obviously I don’t feel badly enough to stop irrationally hating on them. I don’t see that changing in the near future. I try to explain this behavior away with the fact that I’m just more perceptive than other people and I’m picking up on something subconsciously that others are missing. After all, I have irrationally hated Shia LaBeouf forever and we all know I turned out to be right about him. So perhaps time will prove me correct with some of these people. I could definitely see Jerry O’Connell doing something smarmy.

Now it’s your turn – what celebrities do you irrationally dislike? Sound off in the comments below.

Pop Culture Odds and Ends – Kick off the Weekend Edition

Some technical difficulties and a wonky schedule this week mean that you are getting your pop culture roundup a few days late. Apologies to anyone who was disappointed, but I tried to make it up to you with an extra-long batch of links. With Sundance, The Television Critics Association winter meeting and awards season all happening at the same time, there was no shortage of news to report. This is actually the condensed version of links! So while most of the country is in a deep freeze, grab a blanket and stay inside all weekend pouring through the last 2+ weeks in the world of pop!

  • Last night was Adam Scott’s final installment in his The Greatest Event in Television History specials. They ended with a bang, with Scott and Paul Rudd recreating the opening credits to Bosom Buddies:

I will miss these.

  • HBO has passed on the Sarah Silverman pilot, People in New Jersey. Boo!

 

  • As someone who regularly hangs out with our interns at the office, this Conan bit made me literally laugh out loud:

 

  • Adrian Grenier was almost Dawson on Dawson’s Creek. I didn’t think it was possible to make that character more awful, but that would have done it. #Pacey4Life
  • This will make some people I know happy – the first photo from Dumb and Dumber To:

Behp68qCAAAyHyO

  • Bam! Pow! The original Batman TV series with Adam West is finally coming to home video. So. Much.Kitsch.

Now for some news on the Super Bowl:

  • The Full House guys are reuniting for a yogurt commercial:

 

  • Good news for the Bronies out there – the Bronytunes app allows you to stream 7,000 different songs about My Little Pony.
  • One Direction will appear on the show:

 

  • This is kind of cool – watch Quentin Tarantino and Steve Buscemi rehearse Reservoir Dogs:

 

  • The first poster for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I have been released (and it doesn’t look much different than the poster for the previous two films):

Hunger-Games-Collage

 

 

  • One of the stars of Shipping Wars has died.
  • Watch a one armed teen scare The Walking Dead star Norman Reedus:

 

Trailers:

  • A teaser trailer for FX’s The Strain:

 

  • I bailed after J.R. died, but here’s a trailer for the 3rd season of the new Dallas:

 

  • A new trailer for The LEGO Movie, which I really want to see:

 

  • Chloe Sevingny’s new show, Those Who Kill:

 

  • James Franco’s Child of God:

 

  • Showtime’s new creepy thriller, Penny Dreadful:

 

  • A very Syracuse-y trailer for Adult World, starring Emma Roberts and John Cusack

 

  • A new prom for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon:

 

  • I did far better than I expected on this SNL quiz, thanks to some catchphrases from the 90s.
  • Just because, here’s a photo of Tupac and Suge Knight playing Sonic the Hedgehog:

tupac-shakur-and-suge-knight-playing-sonic-the-hedgehog-2

As always, we end with the mashups and the supercuts:

The film Her seems to have inspired a lot of parodies:

  • A trailer for Him:

 

  • Her starring Sex and the City’s Samantha Jones:

 

  • If you ever wondered what Game of Thrones would look like if it was set in ancient Japan (and who hasn’t?), wonder no longer.
  • As a fan of independent films, this parody trailer made me giggle:

 

  • Mean Girls by cats:

 

  • A supercut of every Nintendo start screen….ahh memories:

 

  • A hipster remake of American Psycho:

 

  • Donald Glover’s last episode of Community was last night; here’s a Childish Gambino/Community mashup to help ease the pain:

 

  • It was only a matter of time- someone mashed up Haim’s “The Wire” with footage from The Wire :

 

  • Watch a supercut of “Let It Go” in 25 different languages:

 

  • Teen Wolf of Wall Street:

 

  • A supercut of Larry David’s best insults:

 

  • And finally…The Facts of Life/Breaking Bad mashup you didn’t even know you needed:

 

Have a great weekend!!!