Movie Review: Deadpool Is Spider-Man But With Nudity, Gore and No Fourth Wall | Arts
Arts
INDY Week's arts blog

Archives | RSS | Follow on

Friday, February 12, 2016

Movie Review: Deadpool Is Spider-Man But With Nudity, Gore and No Fourth Wall

Posted by on Fri, Feb 12, 2016 at 12:42 PM

click to enlarge PHOTO COURTESY OF 20TH CENTURY FOX/MARVEL ENTERTAINMENT
  • photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox/Marvel Entertainment
Deadpool
★★ ½
Now playing


With the irreverent action comedy Deadpool, Marvel Entertainment jumps headfirst into the hard-R end of the comic-book movie spectrum. The results are mixed. The good news is that the film is better than the trailers suggest—largely because the best jokes are far too filthy to put in general-audience previews.

The bad news is that the movie isn't as clever as it thinks it is, and the essential shabbiness of the concept can't be obscured. Deadpool is basically a wisecracking superhero movie, like Spider-Man, but with extended nudity, extreme gore, and lots of wink-nudge meta irony. Beneath the attitude is a strictly conventional, surprisingly formulaic comic book movie.

Ryan Reynolds headlines as our antihero, Wade Wilson, an amoral mercenary given to grim sarcasm and psychotic inner monologues. The gimmick—in the movie and the comic book source material—is that Deadpool knows he's a fictional character. He addresses the camera directly and keeps up a running commentary on the story, alongside other self-aware characters. (His sidekick, played by T.J. Miller, observes: "We just had a fourth wall break inside a fourth wall break—that's, like, sixteen walls.")

Morena Baccarin occupies the dark-side Mary Jane slot as Wade's girlfriend, Vanessa, a proverbial hooker with a heart of gold and the mouth of a drunken sailor. Their sex scenes, kinky indeed, are home to some of the movie's better laughs. Ed Skrein is the villainous mad scientist Ajax, whose medical experiments have left Deadpool disfigured and virtually indestructible.

For the first forty-five minutes or so, director Tim Miller toggles between scenes of sadistic violence and dialogue built on profane sprints of pop-culture riffing. It gets pretty tiresome. But around the halfway point, an interesting thing happens. The script's accelerating jokes, sight gags, and one-liners achieve some kind of terminal velocity. The comedy starts to click.

Reynolds delivers his bits with likability and deftness. He's given plenty of material to work. Screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick have jammed this thing to the gills with smart-ass references to other comic book franchises, Reynolds's superhero history (Green Lantern), and random detritus ranging from the Spin Doctors to Liam Neeson.

The relentless meta jabbering doesn't work all of the time, but it works enough of the time. I particularly liked the scene where Deadpool wonders why only two X-Men show up in his spinoff: "It's like the studio couldn't afford another character license." But by the time the climactic battle rolls around—the underwhelming CGI destruction of a dry-docked aircraft carrier—the  movie has pretty much drained its comic fuel tank and exhausted its premise. Stymied by a conventional structure, it never quite grasps the anarchy it's reaching for. You can't play by the rules and break them at the same time.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Pin It

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Arts



Twitter Activity

Comments

Nice write up. Love the twists and turns and I hardily agree with the ultimate statement (and Camus since I …

by Perry on As the Durham Bulls Enter the Playoffs, We Wonder: What Exactly Is the Value of a Minor-League Championship? (Arts)

Just saw this last night. Did Rubin say that being around the Avetts would make life "matter" or just that …

by Drew Rhys on Full Frame: An Avetts Agnostic Finds Some Faith in May It Last: A Portrait of the Avett Brothers (Arts)

Most Recent Comments

Nice write up. Love the twists and turns and I hardily agree with the ultimate statement (and Camus since I …

by Perry on As the Durham Bulls Enter the Playoffs, We Wonder: What Exactly Is the Value of a Minor-League Championship? (Arts)

Just saw this last night. Did Rubin say that being around the Avetts would make life "matter" or just that …

by Drew Rhys on Full Frame: An Avetts Agnostic Finds Some Faith in May It Last: A Portrait of the Avett Brothers (Arts)

She made me a peanut butter and banana sandwichwithout bread. Now that's art.

by Geoff Dunkak on ADF Review: Queering Objects and Decoding the Body in Cherdonna's Clock that Mug or Dusted (Arts)

Maybe the lack of young people in attendance is partly because of the way the NC Gay and Lesbian Film …

by Jonathan H on A Twenty-One-Year-Old Finds a Welcoming Space at the Twenty-Two-Year-Old N.C. Gay and Lesbian Film Festival (Arts)

I agree that the vocal work is incredible! And, I thought that the well-made and beautifully-designed set really supported the …

by Judy Dove on Theater Review: Dogfight's Regional Premiere at NRACT Is Rich in Emotion But Meager in Staging (Arts)

© 2017 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation