[Deadpool references his naughty list.]
DEADPOOL is not attempting to be a deconstruction of the superhero genre. It’s not a critique of the hero’s journey. It’s not trying to reinvent anything, and it’s certainly not trying to be a masterpiece of cinema. DEADPOOL’s just happy to be here, have a good time, slice up some folks on his Naughty List while rattling off juvenile insults, profanities, and general silliness. He’s Spider-Man without the responsibility, the snark turned up to 11, and the rating clocked firmly to “R.” He’s Marvel’s SOUTH PARK, and he has no higher aspirations than to amuse you for a couple hours in his very own super revenge comedy.
As far as superhero movies go, DEADPOOL is low budget and unpolished and it likes it that way. The fanciest action bits are in the trailer and from the first act, interspersed with flashbacks that tell Deadpool’s origin. The movie meanders into and through its revenge plot and finale with the focus of an 8-year-old with ADHD, but that’s absolutely the point. The plot exists to service Deadpool, and Deadpool exists to service the part of your brain that’s amused by a “hero” that tea-bags his victims while the straight-laced X-Men trying to keep him in line shake their heads in shame. (If this is not a part of your brain you are familiar with, perhaps apply elsewhere.)
Ryan Reynolds has long ridden the line between smartass douchebag and charming leading man. It’s a hard act to place, which is probably why during his extensive career he’s turned in some amusing performances, but never in a good movie. DEADPOOL is his comeuppance. His denouement. The coming together of all the various strands of the universe to service his particular brand of ridiculous. It’s hard to imagine another smartass in the tights. Reynolds embodies the character as fans have always known him. He seems to be loving it, and he’ll be owning the role for quite some time in sequels and team-up spinoffs and beyond.
The fact that DEADPOOL even exists is a testament to the sheer willpower behind his fanbase, and despite the low budget, they will not be let down. The ragged edges were well worth the freedom that bought Reynolds and Co. to be as crass, ridiculous, and comic-booky as imaginable at the expense of Fox’s often stale take on their X-Men franchise. And while it doesn’t reinvent the wheel, I appreciate that DEADPOOL defies the concept that the “comic book genre” is either tiring or limited.