For a movie so utterly obsessed with holidays and observances, it is strange timing for Deadpool to be released around Valentine’s Day.
Perhaps it makes sense in that Twentieth Century Fox released Kingsman: The Secret Service in North America around February 14th a year ago, but this timing may have been in part because of the incorporation of a character named Valentine.
No such occurrence in the Tim Miller (“an overpaid tool” as he is called in the credits) directed Deadpool, which suggests that the film is for the schlubs, the loveless ugly dudes that will not be rushing to celebrate being hit with Cupid’s arrow.
And it’s fine, because Deadpool is a heck of a fun time at the movie theatre. Not every one of the many crude and often times meta jokes land, but that’s okay. Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) has a bit about the Liam Neeson Taken film series, which is just weird enough to work. Other times, the screenplay tries too hard to be crude and edgy and the laughs feel forced. The constant meta posturing of the film is extremely welcome at a time when comic book movies have become less and less, y’know, comic.
The opening credits of Deadpool are probably the best that we will see all year, (though its explanation of what to expect during the film is eerily accurate. Perhaps think of changing the formula ever so slightly next time?) But the closing credit sequence and bumper (and it was odd that almost the entire preview audience knew that there was going to be one) was perhaps a little less interesting. The energy level in the crowd surged through about seventy-five percent of the film, though the dénouement finds a not very interesting villain (Ed Skrein) facing off against Wade Wilson / Deadpool while his great love (Morena Baccarin) essentially sits and watches. The great reveal is that there is a far more interesting enemy, a mainly taciturn Gina Carano, but she kicks some major ass. It would have been quite inventive for Deadpool to tweak the formula and allow Angel Dust to be the main antagonist instead of the mostly lifeless Ajax / Francis. Or perhaps give Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) more to do. Essentially, she stands around for the majority of the film, though she does celebrate International Women’s Day in a very surprising way.
But what surprised most about Deadpool is the level of self-reflectivity, featuring everything from Canadian jokes, (aside from @VancityReynolds, the film was shot in B.C., all glass condos and highways, a zamboni is featured, and O Canada is mentioned) to repeated mentions of the X-Men universe in a joking manner (“McAvoy or Stewart?”, as well as so many cuts to Hugh Jackman). The tone doesn’t translate to the other actors as much as Reynolds (and surprisingly, a fantastically interesting T.J. Miller as the necessary sidekick). The meat of the film is clearly Reynolds having the time of his life in the city in which he is from, and snarky bumper aside, this film definitely feels like the start of a franchise.