Movie Review: Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool is Marvel’s latest instalment of superheros
So, “Deadpool” was number one at the box office two weeks in a row, huh?
That’s interesting. Or depressing.
One of those.
Nonetheless, as popular as “Deadpool” is right now, it’s still going to become the cinematic equivalent to Korn’s “Follow the Leader.” Everybody who loves it at this exact moment will eventually graduate from junior high and become suitably embarrassed by how much they loved it. Although based on a Marvel comic book, “Deadpool” could have just as easily been adapted from the Facebook profile picture of a 14-year-old flipping you off from his parent’s bathroom mirror.
It’s a film so gratingly adolescent the mere act of buying a ticket leaves your fingertips coated in a fine layer of Cheetos dust. Anyone seeing this movie in public older than 15 should be given the option of watching “Deadpool” with a burlap sack placed over their head, because nothing can equal the embarrassment of walking out of the theater and suddenly finding yourself recognized by a disappointed adult friend or loved one in the lobby. In short, the appeal of “Deadpool” is lost on me.
To start with, Ryan Reynolds: why do we suddenly care? For years we barely tolerated his non-threatening John Ritter-esque hunkiness, bland sitcom-level snark and whispery line deliveries. There’s a reason why “Van Wilder,” “The Green Lantern” and “Just Friends” were almost instantly consigned to the pop-cultural scrapheap. Why did we hate him in a green domino mask but sloppily embrace him in a red and black balaclava?
Because this is the same non-entity whose filmography is inaccessible to most people mainly because they’re unwilling to dig through the mounds of copies of “The Son of the Mask” in the $3 bin at Wal-Mart to find them. Understand, this is Ryan Reynolds at his most unforgivably Ryan Reynolds-y. Winking as hard as he can at the camera, beating a dead horse called Yakov Smirnoff and becoming the one millionth person in film history to do an “irreverent” spin on that “I’m just a boy …” line from “Notting Hill.”
Why the hell are we applauding his labored stabs at dad humor? Because he’s doing it as he murders three guys with one bullet? If Deadpool was a real person, he’d be that guy at your office who still makes Monica Lewinsky jokes and came dressed as Caitlyn Jenner to the Halloween Party. Y’know, a boring, unfunny asshole you’re constantly trying to avoid.
Secondly, could we please put to rest the misconception that meta-humor is in any way smart or clever? Pointing out clichés but still strictly adhering to them is lazy. What “Scream” did for the horror genre, “Deadpool” does for superhero movies: make them self-satisfied and smarmy.
Sure, the film opens with a jokey sequence in which the cast and crew are credited in the most glibly insulting way possible (Reynolds is simply credited as “God’s Perfect Idiot”), but that opening sequence is filled with the kind of geek friendly nods (such as a gratuitous reference to Deadpool’s creator, Rob Liefeld) that exist to make the nerdier, more pony-tailed members of the audience squeal with girlish delight.
That’s the problem. “Deadpool” feints toward genre subversion as it conforms to the hoariest of Marvel Studios tropes. Hiding behind fourth-wall-breaking-Zach-Morris-talks-to-the-camera moments is a basic origin story complete with a cameo from Stan Lee. Apart from the novelty of having a violent superhero whose voice seems to be permanently stuck in an air-quotes holding pattern, there’s nothing new to see here.
Of course, my opinion is in the minority. America fell in love with Deadpool and his timely references to shake weights and high-larious reflections about accidentally leaving his stove on. “Deadpool” isn’t a movie you enjoy, it’s a movie you grow out of.
I’d rather die in a pool than sit through “Deadpool” again (Look! I can be funny just like Deadpool! Can I host “Saturday Night Live” now too?)
Mike Sullivan is a movie reviewer for Weekender. Movie reviews appear weekly in Weekender.
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, T.J. Miller, Morena Baccarin
Director: Tim Miller
Weekender Rating: W
Length: 108 min.