Deadpool (2016)

I knew what to expect since the folks who knew the character from the comic books went out of their way to warn the rest of us that Deadpool would not be NOT a family-friendly Marvel superhero movie.

Although the crude language, the blood and violence, and the explicit sexual messages of the movie did not appeal to me, there were aspects of the movie that did.

See below for more on the movie, including SPOILERS.

Although it’s clear that Wade/Deadpool is more or less a loose cannon, it’s at least somewhat possible to argue that his disregard for human life is not central to his character, and that kindness is.

  • For one thing, at the beginning of the movie, he’s a kind of lowlife mercenary, but the jobs he takes make him the instrument of poetic justice.
  • For another, he leaves his girlfriend and signs up for that sketchy biological experiment because he doesn’t want her to suffer. Although that decision winds up having been the wrong one, it came from a good place.
  • Fundamentally, Wade seems like an innocent guy who wants to do good in the world, so he’s more distressed when told he’s not going to get to be a hero than when told he’s going to be tortured. Finding out he was lied to hurts more than physical punishment.

My problem with the plot is that Wade believes Francis when Francis says he can fix his face and that furthermore he’s the only one who can. The plot hinges on this belief, but I find it implausible for two reasons: first, Francis is the villain and has already admitted having lied to Wade, thus should not be believed; second, Wade should give mainstream plastic surgery a try, or do some kind of research to try to find other mad scientists who might be able to help him, rather than rely on the particular one he hates. Also, give Francis some credit, Wade. Francis may be a jerk, but at least the cancer is gone!

I was confused (as well as disgusted) when Deadpool decided with apparent nonchalance to cut off his hand, since Francis said he couldn’t heal from such an injury. I guess this sets us up for the weird baby-hand scene, but I’d have preferred a clue earlier that Deadpool knew that he wasn’t really losing his hand permanently.

I was also confused why Francis seemed invincible but could be killed by a bullet to the brain. I guess Francis, whose mutation sped up his reflexes, was basically like an agent in the Matrix: the agents can dodge really fast, but Trinity is still able to get rid of one (albeit temporarily) by shooting it in the head.

I see similarities between Deadpool and Mr. Right, even apart from the central character who is a lovable guy who kills people and has no brain/mouth filter. In Mr. Right, the main character is named Francis, which is a kind of secret name the way Francis is for the bad guy Deadpool. There’s also a character in each movie who is sent to kill the protagonist, but is actually a friend. In Deadpool, it’s a guy with a wife and kids who has an emotional talk with Wade while they’re waiting to be tortured again; that guy shows up in the final battle. In Mr. Right, it’s a mercenary named Steve. Both protagonists warn their adversaries’ goons before they attack, giving them a chance to walk away.

I liked the way Deadpool and occasionally other characters break the fourth wall or otherwise refuse to behave as if they are characters oblivious to the story they are in.

  • The title credits in the frozen, zooming, 3D sequence are generic, sarcastic placeholders for the characters in the movie and for the people responsible for the movie.
  • Deadpool narrates his flashbacks to the audience in a more knowing way than is typical of narration; he begins by explaining how he got his own movie! Also, for example, he tells the audience when he has caught up with the events currently taking place.
  • Deadpool more than once observes how few X-Men are on hand, as if the budget didn’t allow for more of them.
  • Wade’s friend at the bar hands him a business card and indicates that he doesn’t know what the man wants but that it might further the plot for Wade to go and talk to him.
  • The same character says he will not be joining Deadpool’s attack but in defiance of narrative expectations doesn’t have or even try to give an excuse; he just says he doesn’t want to.
  • When Deadpool realizes he has left his duffel bag of weapons behind, he decides to proceed and cues the music that had been interrupted by his realization.

Other bits of humor I liked:

  • Dopinder the taxi driver calls Deadpool “Mr. Pool” and does not seem to find his behavior unusual.
  • As Deadpool hunts for Francis, he winds up fighting two women. During the fight he gets all confused about whether it would be more sexist to hit them or not to. A very understandable confusion in these times! Come to think of it, I don’t think Deadpool passes the Bechdel test, does it?
  • Wade seems to be protesting the villain’s torture but is actually just wanting to comment unflappably on something stuck in the villain’s teeth.
  • Deadpool converses with his landlady about Ikea furniture, using the actual Swedish words for product lines of different styles.

Sheesh, when a movie and its main character are both the same word,  you wind up using that word a lot when talking about it, don’t you? Deadpool this, Deadpool that, Deadpool the other thing. What a weird name for a character!