The Marvel Movie Machine just keeps chugging along making hit film after hit film and frankly, it’s pretty damned impressive. I’m not big on the whole numbers game where critics examine a films worth by how much money it makes, but unless you don’t pay any attention to movies at all, you know almost every Marvel film is a massive commercial success. What’s odd is that even when they announce a film that causes people to roll their eyes (Guardians of the Galaxy, the film under review here, Deadpool) there’s always a faction of people who say “there’s simply no way this one’s going to work!” and yet Marvel continues to confound naysayers with a massive spray of successful movie and TV superhero magic.
Deadpool, now the largest money making “R” rated movie opener ever, shouldn’t work. In fact, I’m still not sure how it worked as a roundly successful film, but it did. What makes Marvel movies tick is excellent casting coupled with fantastic filmmaking aimed at all ages. But Deadpool is a hard “R” movie that cleverly rips back the curtain on Marvel storytelling which at times has been accused of getting too formulaic. It’s a movie for people that hate superhero movies as well as one for those who love them which I’m guessing is what made it pull in buckets of cash opening weekend; in the end it’s a movie for everyone…except kids. Even though many said it would flop because kids wouldn’t see it, once again those doubters were soundly proven wrong.
Wade Wilson is Deadpool, a smart-ass mutant played by Ryan Reynolds who never shuts up, be it during intense killing sprees or romantic lovemaking. While I won’t go into spoiler territory about the characters backstory, the film is a fully formed origin story that also tells a separate plot successfully as well. Even that in and of itself is odd and difficult to pull off but as you may note is a recurring theme in this review, Deadpool defies expectations to deliver the goods. While the film is indeed raunchy, inappropriate and frequently hilarious, it sometimes crosses the line between clever into the obnoxious but as any solid, self referential film does, Deadpool knows when to ease back and self correct itself to push the plot forward. There’s also a ton of heart in this story as it’s really about Wilson having to overcome a massive ego to try and become human again after horrible disfiguring process makes him look like a kissing cousin to Freddie Krueger. Reynolds simply nails the character and is fortunate to have another shot at it after a so-so appearance as Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009).
That’s not to say I didn’t frequently become annoyed with Ryan Reynolds who seemed to be doing a Jim Carrey knock-off job circa The Mask but the more I think about it, it seems him being super annoying is all part of the plan and in fact, kind of makes the film more clever than it seems on the surface. Not only does Deadpool shred on all superhero movies, it shreds on itself and even the career of Reynolds as a pretty boy who’s already had a shot to own a franchise yet totally stunk the place up (I’m looking at you, Green Lantern).
So yes, believe the hype. Deadpool is a blast to see and completely not appropriate for kids. But that’s o.k. because frankly, the world needs more “R” movies that aren’t pandering to all audiences. The fact Deadpool hit so huge opening weekend has already caused the new Wolverine movie to do what all the Wolverine movies should have done and gone for an “R” rating. Also intriguing is that some other X-Men are also in Deadpool thus forcing the hand of 20th Century Fox (who owns the rights to those films) to step up and rethink what they’re doing with that franchise. But aside from audiences who are going to get their money’s worth with Deadpool the other big winner is Marvel who just keep making all the right moves.