Friday, April 01, 2016

Deadpool - great power, great irresponsibility

movie review


Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, T. J. Miller, Gina Carano, Brianna Hildebrand, and Stefan Kapičić
Directed by: Tim Miller
Tagline: With great power comes great irresponsibility.

The success of most films can primarily be attributed to the work of their directors, writers, cast and crew. A huge chunk of the credit for the success of Deadpool, however, goes to its marketing team. Thanks to an unrelenting, ubiquitous and usually quite amusing promotional campaign, Deadpool went from a lesser-known superhero that many of us were unfamiliar with to the protagonist of a project all of us were at least curious - if not downright excited - about.

The advertising blitz sure paid off. Within days of its release, Marvel’s latest outing - their first R-rated superhero flick (parents and younger viewers be warned) - was busy breaking box-office records, quickly turning into the year’s most profitable film (so far). With both the strength of its publicity and the enthusiastic reception by fans on its side, Deadpool is currently the must-watch movie of the moment. But is it really as good as the hype is making it seem?

The mock opening credits sure suggest so. It is charmingly, disarmingly refreshing when a movie starts by telling us that it stars “God’s Perfect Idiot” and “A Hot Chick”, features “A Gratuitous Cameo”, and has been directed by “An Overpaid Tool”. Then the loquacious protagonist comes on screen and quickly wins you over with his Smart Alec-y ways. But after that we get to the actual plot, and that’s where things start to fizzle.

Set in the X-Men universe, the film tells the story of Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds), a mercenary who has already adopted the impish Deadpool alter ego when the movie begins. In flashbacks, we find out how the former special forces operative met and fell for escort Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), but their chance for a happily ever after is cut short when he is diagnosed with terminal cancer. Wilson reluctantly decides to participate in a secret experimental programme - led by antagonist Ajax (Ed Skrein) - to cure the disease, only to find himself being tortured for days to awaken his latent mutant genes. The gruelling procedure helps him develop super healing powers, but also leaves him severely disfigured and unable to return to his lady love, thereby sending him on a quest to find the man responsible for his predicament so that he can reverse the damage to his appearance.

It suits the character’s sensibilities that Deadpool isn’t on a superhero quest to save the world but on a mission to gain what he lost and exact some revenge. The plot line, however, reveals a fairly conventional origin story, and there isn’t anything particularly remarkable about it. It isn’t a very elaborate or even a particularly interesting mission.

With a relentless stream of quips and barbs, Deadpool’s wise guy routine, too, starts to get a little tiring after a while, and the film’s overly violent incline is definitely not for the squeamish. While Deadpool is distinctive enough to stand out in the current sea of PG-13 superhero flicks, its non-stop juvenile humour ends up feeling a bit forced. The constant raunchy, foul-mouthed wisecracking makes it seem like the film is trying too hard to be funny and please its audience. The jokes work best when the movie uses meta humour; the self-referencing, fourth wall breaking antics are perhaps the most amusing moments that the script has to offer.

On the whole, Deadpool is a fun outing that targets viewers who enjoy in-jokes and irreverent humour, but because of a formulaic, predictable storyline the project is ultimately not quite as remarkable as its success suggests.

- Sameen Amer

Us Magazine, The News - 1st April, 2016 *

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