Welcome to a movie review of a film that, first of all, actually came out this year (and wasn’t just a late 2015 release) and, secondly, was/is not an awards’ nominee. Of course, I’m talking about Deadpool – a movie that I was really looking forward to and a film that had perfect timing and came out just when I needed something fun and easy, after watching a ton of depressing Oscar contenders. I am warning you – this review will be very biased and will look more like an extremely long praise for a film, which will land on my best movies of 2016 list if not take the top spot, than an actual objective criticism of a motion picture. If you are ready for that, let’s GO!
IMDb summary: A former Special Forces operative turned mercenary is subjected to a rogue experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers, adopting the alter-ego Deadpool.
Comic book movies and 20th Century Fox
Deadpool was the first comic book movie of 2016 and it raised the bar pretty high. It was completely unique and unapologetically different. It was made by a studio that can make really great superhero films (X-Men: Days of Future Past) as well amazingly bad ones (Fantastic Four) – 20th Century Fox. My faith in this particular studio was restored after the DOFP and then completely destroyed after the FF. Let’s hope that this trend won’t continue and that the amazingness of Deadpool won’t be overshadowed by the terribleness of X-Men: Apocalypse.
Deadpool had one of the best marketing and advertising campaigns I have seen for not just a superhero movie, but for any movie ever. The trailers and the TV spots gave away just enough to get the viewers hooked, but didn’t spoil anything. The posters and other promotional photos were also completely appropriate for the film and something that we have not seen before.
The opening credit sequence of the film was the coolest action movie opening I have ever seen. The slow motion, the long take and Juice Newton’s 1967’s song Angel of the Morning created an amazing background for the first joke of the film – the titles/names of the opening credits. That whole sequence set up the whole tone of the film just perfectly. I also really liked the fact that the opening action sequence, which continued into the second act of the film, closely resembled/was based on that leaked test footage that actually helped to get this film made in the first place. It was not only a nice fan service, (since the fans were the ones who positively responded to the leaked footage and demanded to see more), but a nice visual homage to the hardships of all the people who have spent a decade working on this project.
Story and Writing
The screenwriters of the film – Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese (they have previously co-written the scripts for Zombieland and G.I. Joe: Retaliation) – were definitely the real heroes of this movie, as the opening credits suggested. They managed to blend action, humor, and romance perfectly. They managed to add a ton of Easter Eggs. They wrote amazing jokes which landed all the time. And even if the joke wasn’t really sticking, the actors would make that awkward moment work. I also loved all the references to other movies (Pool, Deadpool! and that rant about Liam Neeson) and to pop culture in general. Of course, the way they made fun of Green Lantern and X-Men Origins: Wolverine was just perfect. That Hugh Jackman’s paper cameo was also pretty neat. However, my favorite references were the ones about the actual making of this film and the inner workings of 20th Century Fox (where did we get the money for this film? Well, we only got enough to put two X-Men in a film).
The breaking of the 4th (or 16th) wall also worked wonderfully in this movie. Not only was this kind of behavior right in line with the character of Deadpool, it also somehow pulled the viewer into the movie even more rather than distracting him/her.
The film’s story was told in a non-linear fashion. The plot of the film started in the middle of the story, showed the origin of the character in a flashback and then, when the plot caught up with the story, the third act was made into a cohesive and linear narrative.
The idea to tell the origin story in a short flashback was a really clever one because this way the movie was saved from dragging on or slowing down. The scene, where Deadpool gets his name (Captain Deadpool), was also a nice one as well as the quick montage sequence where Deadpool was going through a few fashion stages and costume changes.
While I am not a person who likes raunchy comedies or offensive jokes, I was completely fine with the humor in Deadpool. Moreover, I can definitely see why the film got an R rating – the nudity, violence and the jokes were surely not for the younger audiences.
Directing and Visuals
Deadpool was directed by Tim Miller and it was his directorial debut. He has previously worked as a creative director of a few sequences on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Thor: The Dark World. I have already mentioned the opening credits sequence and the opening action sequence which I both loved. I also enjoyed the killing/looking for Francis montage. The final fight was also filmed in an exciting manner. The whole film was very fast paced and the CGI effects were also magnificent and as realistic as they could have been.
Deadpool had a lot of slow motion and this was probably the first film that made me notice the slow motion in a positive way. Usually, when slow motion is over-used, the film looks very cheesy, but this cheesiness worked for Deadpool and just plainly looked really cool.
Deadpool’s soundtrack was created by Tom Holkenborg, better known as Junkie XL. He is the guy who remixed Elvis Presley’s A Little Less Conversation back in the early 2000’s. He has also composed soundtracks for animated films like Madagascar 3 and Kung Fu Panda 2 as well as live action pictures like The Dark Knight Rises, Man of Steel, Mad Max Fury Road, Black Mass, Point Break and he will even co-create the music for Batman v Superman. His Deadpool soundtrack was full of fun – it had a perfect amount of 1990s with Shoop by Salt-N-Pepa, a pinch of 2000s with X Gon’ Give It To Ya by DMX and just enough of 1980s WHAM! magic with Careless Whisper.
- Ryan Reynolds as Wade Wilson/Deadpool – Reynolds has had a lot of missteps in his career, but he more than redeemed himself with Deadpool. He was amazing in the action sequences as well as in more serious/romantic scenes. His comedic timing was on point. I finally want to see more of his films. I quite liked him in Self/Less, which came out last year. Reynolds will also be in action thriller Criminal, coming out this spring.
- Morena Baccarin as Vanessa Carlysle – was a really nice love interest for Wade and had amazing chemistry with Reynolds. I really like Baccarin on Gotham and was happy to see her transitioning to the big screen.
- Ed Skrein as Francis Freeman/Ajax – was quite a good villain. I liked his facial expressions and the evil British accent. He and Gina Carano’s Angel Dust made a nice villainous pair. Last year, Skrein was in Transporter Refueled (which I skipped) and in Kill Your Friends (which I do want to watch). Gina Carano is a former mixed martial artist and she has starred in Fast & Furious 6 a couple of years ago.
- T. J. Miller as Weasel – was a great sidekick/friend for Wade. Their conversations were really funny. I especially loved the ending of their last chat – ‘I would come with you, but I don’t want to’.
- The two X-men that Fox could afford were Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead played or voiced by Stefan Kapičić and Brianna Hildebrand. Colossus’s hero monolog and politeness were great when contrasted with Deadpool’s anti-heroism. I also liked Negasonic Teenage Warhead’s COLORFUL costume because it was similar to the costumes in X-Men: First Class.
- Other supporting characters were played by Leslie Uggams (as Blind Al) and Karan Soni (as Dopinder, a taxi driver). Their conversation with Wade was also amazing and amusing.
- Stan Lee also had his most scandalous cameo appearance as an announcer in a strip club. It is always a pleasure seeing him pop up on screen.
End credits scene
There was an end credits sequence, so I suggest you wait a few minutes after the film has finished. It’s not a teaser for a sequel or a teaser for X-Men: Apocalypse. It’s just a perfect scene to end a perfect film, Ferris Bueller’s style. Like a cherry on top of a chocolate cake.
In short, Deadpool left me speechless in the best way possible. It was extremely entertaining and exciting. I could not stop laughing and I did not want the movie to end ever. I highly recommend you go to see it – it’s not just another superhero movie, it’s THE superhero movie of 2016 (that might be an exaggeration, but I can’t help it – I am just too enthusiastic about and delighted by this film).
Trailer: Deadpool trailer