Monday, February 15, 2016

Deadpool (2016)

IMDb plot summary: A former Special Forces operative turned mercenary is subjected to a rogue experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers, adopting the alter ego Deadpool.
Directed by Tim Miller. Starring Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, T.J. Miller, and Ed Skrein.


I have written and rewritten and rewritten this review several times now because I'm pretty conflicted about this movie and have trouble putting it into words. Every so often I come across a movie that I really enjoy but feel uneasy about enjoying. Deadpool is one of them. It's funny, smart, well-written, and perfectly cast. Ryan Reynolds is great in this, even when all you hear is his voice yelling out snarky bon mots. Right from the opening credits, the movie gets in the fourth-wall-breaking spirit, and it doesn't let up. It's a wonderfully fun ride, but it also frequently makes me uncomfortable.

It's not the gore or the nudity that gives me pause, but the gleeful disregard for human life. Deadpool tells you over and over again that he's not a hero, not a good guy, and yet he makes killing his enemies look so fun and it's hard not to enjoy his witty murder banter. This would probably hit me differently if I didn't already feel that our current cultural climate is one of viewing enemies with an unsettling lack of mercy. Deadpool is a smarter, funnier version of the folks I've had actual real-life conversations with who make numerous jokes about how awesome we are for bombing the Middle East or who casually toss out violent solutions for personal conflict and you sense they're not quite joking. (The moment that made me most uneasy in Deadpool was the scene where he cheerfully applauds someone kidnapping and murdering a romantic rival. That's not even some grand tale of revenge the way Deadpool's quest is framed. That's just a petty tantrum because life didn't go your way. At least he didn't suggest he kidnap and murder the woman, but... this is not much of a step up.)

Is the movie in the wrong for its artistic choices it made here? Eh, I can't say that. At another time it might have been much easier for me to separate it out as "Pffft, it's just a movie" and enjoy the story. And at least Deadpool himself is VERY clear throughout the movie he's not doing the right thing. He's just a selfish jerk, and he knows it. But I can't help worrying as the credits roll what kind of happily ever after could possibly lie in store for him and his newfound love.

So... It was fun. It was interesting. But the more I think about it, it was also kind of terrifying.

3.5 stars.

How it entered my Flickchart:
Deadpool > The Kids Are All Right
Deadpool < Eat Pray Love
Deadpool > A Separation
Deadpool > Hamlet (2009)
Deadpool < Bend It Like Beckham
Deadpool > Creed
Deadpool < 28 Up
Deadpool > State and Main
Deadpool > Hannah and Her Sisters
Deadpool > A Few Good Men
Deadpool < Gentleman's Agreement

Final spot: #705 out of 2432.

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