Time to roll again on Fishing in the Discount Bin, my weekly blog about a movie I own on DVD or Blu-Ray, or even VHS in a few rare occasions. I'm done with every Batman movie, so I think Deadpool would be a good palette-cleanser. This is in my notes at May 29, 2016.
With the glut of superhero films these days, I think we're primed for a really good superhero spoof. In a perfect world, that would be the movie version of The Tick. But until that day, we have to make due with Deadpool.
Deadpool is one of those characters who hit it big after I began drifting away from comics, so I wasn't too familiar with him. All I really know is he's become popular for cosplay because his whole schtick is breaking the fourth wall and making snide comments about the plot and/or superhero cliches. Therefore, you can be a douche at a con and write it off as being in character. But then, as one does in this day and age, as the movie draws closer, you begin googling more to learn about these heroes. He's from the X-Men pantheon...his healing factor is a result of a government program to duplicate Wolverine's healing factor in others...and, when done properly, he's funny as hell.
This film also gained a bit of infamy. After a brief appearance in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, it was hoped he would get his own movie. But the project was stuck in development hell, as the studio didn't know if Deadpool had enough mainstream appeal. It was star Ryan Reynolds and director Tim Miller who kept it alive for all that time. Finally, a few years ago, some test footage that Reynolds and Miller shot was leaked online, it went viral, and the Internet went nuts for it. That was what finally brought the studio around.
The end result? The highest-grossing R-rated movie of all time, and now we're bracing ourselves for the backlash of superhero movies needlessly made gritty and violent to get an R-rating. (Looking at you, R-rated director's cut of Batman v Superman.)
Wade Wilson. Former special forces op, now a low-rent mercenary. He falls in love with a prostitute named Vanessa and it looks like life is pretty good. Until he gets cancer. He's then approached by a shadowy organization with the offer of turning him into a superhero, and that his newfound powers could cure his cancer. He goes along with it, but the super-soldier program turns out to be a series of excruciating forms of torture. Eventually, though, his mutation triggers, and his gifted with a Wolverine-style healing factor, and his cancer is cured. The only side effect? He's horribly disfigured. Taking the persona Deadpool, he goes out to seek bloody vengeance on those in charge of the program, find a cure, and be reunited with his beloved Vanessa.
Is the plot formulaic? Yes. But the fun is in Deadpool knowing so and commenting on it. That makes this film incredibly funny. One of my favourite gags doesn't even involve Deadpool. Deadpool eventually ropes the X-Men Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead into helping him out. Colossus does battle with the super-strong mutant Angel Dust. Now, as we all know, female superhero costumes tend to show off cleavage to an impractical degree. And in Deadpool, that finally becomes a thing as Angel Dust winds up popping out of her top while fighting Colossus. Being a gentlemen, Colossus looks away while Angel Dust adjusts herself, and she's complementing Colossus the whole time on his good upbringing and gentlemanly ways. And then they go back at it. Cracks me up every time. I just love a good "fight interrupted by mundane bullshit" gag.
I did have to ask my X-Men lovin' buddies if the whole subplot of Colossus trying to recruit Deadpool for the X-Men was actually something from the comics, or if it was something invented for the movie to let us know what superhero universe this takes place in. According to my friend, it was briefly a thing in the mid-90s, when Deadpool first started moving from villain to anti-hero.
And Colossus is a bit of a show-stealer for me, the way he plays up the "big blue Boy Scout" depiction of superheroes more commonly associated with Superman and Captain America. And of course, Deadpool has fun with that.
At the end of the day, Deadpool was just a really fun movie and a great breath of fresh air in the superhero genre. Like I said, we were due for a good spoof. Deadpool isn't a spoof proper, but it does mock the cliches the right amount.