Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Some thoughts about Deadpool (2016)

By now, even the geniuses over at Fox have realized the old comics wisdom that, to paraphrase some wise old writers (Archie Goodwin it was, I think), when making a superhero movie, you can make any kind of film around the fights and the superpowers as long as you have the fights and the superpowers. Well, at least some parts of Fox seem to have realized, the rest thought Fantastic Four was a good idea.

So now, we get an oh-so-hip, oh-so-mature cynical comedy around the fights, a film that mostly seems to have come about by its makers misunderstanding the heart in Guardians of the Galaxy or Ant-Man as ironic posturing; which is useful, since posturing is the best Deadpool can do. There’s something unpleasantly puerile about a film whose only idea of subversion is to throw in lots of blood, decidedly less sex (because that’s much worse than the red stuff, obviously), many a joke I would have found funny when I was in puberty, and whose general approach to the specific dreams at the core of the superhero genre is a vague, pointless and joyless cynicism. Basically, the film’s a fifteen year old boy, and teenagers suck.

An extra degree of the tiresome is added by the never-ending fourth-wall-breaking jokes, which add a feeling of undeserved smugness to Deadpool’s other failings by giving the impression of a film that’s more interested in congratulating itself for how funny it is instead of actually being funny.

To add insult to injury, the super-powered action isn’t much cop either with all the ironic, fourth-wall-breaking posturing breaking up any possible flow, an overemphasis on slow-motion and stops that reminds me of one of those 90s US action movies that were so desperate to look like a John Woo movie but never did, and generally unimaginative set-ups for the action that fit how boring Ed Skrein’s Big Bad is.

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