At the Movies: Should we expect more from ‘Deadpool’?
Special to Lake Tahoe Action
Directed By Tim Miller
Starring Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, T.J. Miller, Ed Skrein, Gina Carano
Fox, Rated R, Action, Sci-Fi, 108 minutes
“Deadpool” is an anti-superhero movie. It’s a comedy, that spends its considerable bucks to deliver violent sequences and a perpetually naked Morena Baccarin.
Ryan Reynolds stars as snarky ex-special ops smart ass, Wade Wilson, while Baccarin plays Wilson’s girlfriend Vanessa. She’s a street walker and exotic dancer who’s pleased to find that she and Wilson both enjoy kinky sex and macabre humor. We learn of their shared proclivities through a montage of bedroom scenes that include coitus designed to reflect each holiday occasion. For example: Vanessa dildos Wilson in honor of International Women’s Day.
Such imagery contributes to the film’s R-Rating, flaunted here. It’s long been thought that a superhero flick needed a teen-accessible PG-13-Rating, but “Deadpool’s” No. 1 spot at the box office indicates that adults will gladly patronize superhero movies driven by violence, dirty jokes and raunchy sex.
It isn’t the dirty jokes that disturbed me, but we are asked to root for a hero who doesn’t much care for anyone, other than Vanessa. Wilson routinely delivers violent deaths as part and parcel to his vendetta.
Early in the story and not long after finding love with Vanessa, Wilson learns he is dying of terminal cancer. A mysterious underground organization promises a cure, but refuses to explain further. Leaving Vanessa without explanation, Wilson puts himself in the hands of Ajax (Ed Skrein) and Ajax’s superstrong henchwoman Angel Dust (Gina Carano). Ajax injects Wilson with a serum guaranteed to both cure Wilson’s illness and bestow special powers upon him. However, to activate these effects Wilson’s body must first release large amounts of adrenaline. To accomplish this, sadistic Ajax and Angel (who also appears to enjoy her work), subject Wilson to ever more ruthless forms of torture that culminate in oxygen deprivation that leaves Wilson’s skin mottled and makes him look like a burn victim.
Hatred develops between Wilson and his benefactor who attempts to kill Wilson after the treatment finally works. Wilson is now able to heal from virtually any injury, and is personally intent upon hunting down and killing Ajax whom he has learned aims to create an army of super slaves able to carry out Ajax’s evil deeds.
Wilson is unable to show himself in public without causing horrified reactions. Thereafter he appears in a head-to-toe red and black latex suit, becoming Deadpool, whose mission is to kill everyone responsible for Wilson’s condition.
Unwilling to be seen by Vanessa, two years pass during which she doesn’t know whether Wilson is dead or alive.
Peering beneath the concept of this film, I wondered why Deadpool didn’t also seek the serum responsible for his super-healing powers, in order that others might also be cured of killer diseases. Nevermind, the film has no interest in this serum beyond its use as a tool in a revenge plot.
Wilson narrates, frequently breaking the fourth wall to talk directly to the camera. Taken line-by-line, much of the writing is clever and funny, but the violence is way over the top and the film’s underlying concepts don’t make sense. What constitutes a hero, or a superhero, and has he any responsibility to humankind? Just as a dirty joke earns forgiveness for its offensiveness by being truly funny, so a violent, and/or raunchy film earns our patronage by demonstrating its redeeming value. All the way to “Deadpool’s” conclusion, I hoped it would deliver some nugget of worth or logic. It was not to be.
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