By Aaron Stiles
In the corporatized, profit-driven world that we live in today, it’s no wonder that every part of our lives is becoming more and more processed. Not only are our plants, animals, and drinking water processed, but since the 1980s movies have become cheap, compressed, nutritionally void products that leave us feeling less than satisfied. The biggest of these junk food movie franchises right now exists in the superhero genre, which had some popularity in the ‘70s and ‘80s but really took off in the early 2000s, with Marvel’s Spider-Man.
Since then, every year has brought us another action-packed reboot, sequel, or origin story for some of the most popular superheroes in history. The only logical next step would of course be to combine these films into crossovers that encompass the entirety of these superhero universes.
Which of course makes sense, because even back when comic books were in their earliest stages, crossover stories have been part of the norm. But the problem is, (and I may be alone in saying this) that while some of these movies are really good in a lot of ways, some of them are becoming so formulated and generic or the fans are disappointed with the adaptation that I can’t help but wonder, “Is it time to retire superhero films? At least for a while?”
And then the superhero franchise finally got the kick in the ass that it needed from Deadpool. Fans of the Marvel comic book immediately fell in love with the anti-hero’s antics more than 20 years ago. X-Men Origins: Wolverine finally saw a film version of Deadpool but fans were horrified at the portrayal, which transformed the character into a deformed mutant, with swords sewn onto his arms and a stitched-up mouth—a far cry from the mouthy, smart-ass true Deadpool that fans knew and loved.
Ryan Reynolds, who played Deadpool in the aforementioned film, felt badly about the portrayal and made it a personal mission to have the film made. After 10 years in development hell, some test footage was released and the Internet went wild. The studio green lit the film and production began in early 2015. Fan boys and fan girls all over the internet were ecstatic. They had read the comics, seen the promotions, and played the video game based on the character—the people were ready for Deadpool. The first trailer from Comic Con leaked online the day it was shown and the hype really began. Deadpool’s opening weekend broke the R-rated opening weekend record.
Deadpool is the story of Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds), former Special Forces operative turned midnight mercenary in New York City. After meeting Vanessa Carlysle (played by Morena Baccarin) in a bar, the two become entangled in a short-lived, picture-perfect romance. Wilson is diagnosed with terminal cancer and as he fights for his life, Vanessa stays by his side and tries to help him, but Wilson feels that his life is coming to an end and the last thing that he wants is the love of his life to see him die. So in the middle of the night, Wilson packs up and leaves and is confronted by a recruiter for a secret program, who tells Wilson they have been studying experimental cures for cancer and they believe he would be the perfect candidate. Wilson is taken to a facility where he is tortured and experimented on by an evil scientist called Ajax (portrayed by Ed Skrein), in an effort to transform him and other “patients” into super-powered, mutated slaves. Wilson is experimented on to the point of deformity but not without gaining a few super powers. Later, Wilson escapes and vows to find a cure for his disfigurement and to win back his girlfriend.
Deadpool was one of the most fun movies that I have seen in a while. Last year there were some really entertaining films—Mad Max and The Revenant—but this film was a treat I had been looking forward to for a long time. Deadpool promised the internet that it would be full of blood, gore, and profanity, which may normally have been a turn off for some people, but of course the spirit of Deadpool had to be preserved, and it worked out for the film in many ways.
The comic book character Deadpool has always been a sarcastic sort of commentator on comic book culture and popular culture who likes to break the fourth wall and make nods to pop culture with his meta humor. This in itself is enough to love Deadpool and to want a movie made about him, but I think there were some other factors that helped usher Deadpool to the big screen. Because of this type of humor found in the comic books, it is easy to see that Deadpool is used as a device to poke fun at comic book readers and the culture, to illustrate the importance of not taking oneself too seriously. Any art form can become pretentious and it’s important to have moments of looking in the mirror and seeing one’s flaws—and of course laugh at them.
This was the perfect time for Deadpool to hit theaters. Not only because we find ourselves in a time where political correctness is being demanded at every corner, but because we live in a period of film that is centered around superheroes. Marvel has become one of the biggest film franchises in the world and has released an impressive amount of films in the last 10 years. With Captain America, Iron Man, and the Hulk always at the forefront of pop culture and movie theaters in the summers, this was the perfect time to have a movie about a sadistic swearing anti-hero.
But the film was much more than just poking fun at superhero movies or breaking the fourth wall. It was also a fun action movie with good fight scenes and plenty of action. The writing was also extremely well done, with all of the quick wit and hilarious sequences. As far as acting, Ryan Reynolds is without a doubt the favorite. Most of the other actors are a bit one-dimensional, but that’s not a problem because Deadpool himself is supposed to be the focus of this film. The only actors who added to the comedy of the film were T.J. Miller as Weasel and Leslie Uggams as Blind Al. Both characters were hilarious and perfectly acted and the chemistry all of them shared with Reynolds was also apparent and added a lot of laughs to the movie.
Overall I had a great time at this film and I will definitely be adding it to my film collection when it’s released.