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New Release Review - DEADPOOL

Marvel's 'merc with a mouth' gets his own movie.



Review by Eric Hillis (@hilliseric)

Directed by: Tim Miller

Starring: Morena Baccarin, Ryan Reynolds, Gina Carano, TJ Miller, Ed Skrein, Brianna Hildebrand



If you were cryogenically frozen in the early '90s as a 12 year old boy, you'll be blown away by Deadpool. For anyone who lived through Tarantino, The Matrix and Shrek, or has enjoyed intercourse at some point in their lives, this is the low point of the seemingly never-ending superhero fad.



Deadpool isn't a remake of the fourth Dirty Harry sequel (though like Magnum Force, it does climax on a disused aircraft carrier). No, Deadpool is a beloved Marvel comics character. He's not just any superhero; in fact he's not really a hero at all but rather a foul-mouthed narcissistic jerk who stands out among his comic book brethren through his self-awareness that he's a comic book character. We saw Ryan Reynolds play a diluted version of the character in the much derided X-Men Origins: Wolverine, an incarnation that annoyed Reynolds so much he's spent the best part of a decade attempting to bring Deadpool to the screen in more faithful form. The resulting movie is as lazy, cynical and generic a comic book adaptation as it's possible to fashion, which makes you wonder how Reynolds must now feel.
Deadpool is known for addressing the readers of his comic directly, so here we get Reynolds breaking the fourth wall as he relates his origin story. Yes, Deadpool is yet another origin story. It knows it's an origin story. It jokes about how it's an origin story. But it's still another bloody origin story!!! There's absolutely nothing interesting or particularly original about Deadpool's origins - former special ops agent turns mercenary, contracts cancer and becomes indestructible when an experimental attempt to cure him goes awry. You might think 'Pool would be content with his regenerative powers, but there's a catch - he's left resembling a cross between Freddy Krueger and a hungover Gary Busey. 
What little plot the movie has centres around Deadpool's quest for revenge against Ajax (Ed Skrein), the mutant responsible for his predicament. There's also a 'love story' concerning our non-hero's relationship with Morena Baccarin's hooker with a heart of gold. When the latter makes a Star Wars reference, Deadpool jokes that she could have have been created by him in a computer program, which is exactly how she seems to be written. Forget about passing the Bechdel test; Deadpool is forced to repeat its freshman year. There are three female characters here, and they roundly give the impression that the screenwriters have never interacted with a woman of the female sex in their lives. Everything that comes out of Baccarin's smutty mouth is designed to turn on pre-pubescent boys, while Deadpool's sullen sidekick, Negasonic Teenage Warhead (yes, really), and the villainous mute brute played by Gina Carano barely get to speak at all, which in Carano's case is probably a good thing (remember Haywire?). The minorities arguably fare worse; an Indian cabbie and blind old black lady appear because the film believes there's something inherently funny about Indian cabbies and blind old black ladies.
I can only assume that the writers of the source comic book actually find something interesting to do with Deadpool's foul-mouthed fourth wall breaking, as their cinematic equivalents certainly don't. The credits sequence lets us know what we're in for by replacing cast and crew names with 'hilarious' gags like 'Directed by an overpaid tool' and 'Produced by asshats'. This is followed by a constant stream of genital fixated profanity from Reynolds, in both dialogue and irritating voiceover, for the remainder of the movie. They say sarcasm is the lowest form of humour, but they're wrong. Sarcasm can be hilarious,  but smut rarely is. Deadpool combines the two, but it's nowhere near as clever as it thinks it is, and even Adam Sandler would be embarrassed by most of the lines forced upon Reynolds (though he may well be improvising to a large degree here).
Visually, first time director Tim Miller takes his cues from those unbearable 'gun kata' movies that were foisted upon us in the dark days of the post-Matrix noughties; it's only short of a rain fight. As such, the film already feels woefully dated, and the pop culture references don't help. When was this script written? Who references Meredith Baxter Birney in 2016? The overall product resembles a Kevin Smith penned script brought to the screen in loving fashion by Paul WS Anderson.
If you were cryogenically frozen in the early '90s as a 12 year old boy, you'll be blown away by Deadpool. For anyone who lived through Tarantino, The Matrix and Shrek, or has enjoyed intercourse at some point in their lives, this is the low point of the seemingly never-ending superhero fad.
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