Saturday, February 13, 2016

More Acerbic Than Spider-Man, It's Deadpool!

Reel To Reel: Deadpool

Going Rate: Worth matinee price
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, T. J. Miller, and Ryan Reynolds' bare badoinkus, too!
Rated: R (but is pushing NC-17)
Red Flags: Gratuitous bloody violence (although cartoonish at time), strong language (multiple f- and s- bombs), brief intense nude sex (although I can't tell you exactly how intense because my Puritan eyes were closed)

I wasn't sure whether or not I wanted to see Deadpool, although people have buzzed about this movie for months, and I know a group from the newsroom went to see it on opening night. Then I learned one of my SAR compatriots went to see it and laughed -- a lot. The general rule for your humble servant reviewer is that if I'm going to have mixed feelings about seeing a picture, especially if I have to pay for it, I'll push it aside. Then I remembered I had this free pass to Harkins...

Deadpool is to superhero movies what Blazing Saddles is to westerns. It breaks every rule -- along with the fourth wall -- in a brutal and acerbic send-up of comic-book movies. It is gleefully obscene in as many ways as it can pull off, destroying any belief you had about superhero films having a baseline morality. Truth, justice and the American Way, it ain't. Try cheap shots, revenge, and lots of sex jokes.

Ryan Reynolds stars as the title character, a self-healing, revenge-laden, foul-mouthed anti-hero's hero who underwent an experiment to cure his terminal cancer. The basement-operating-room treatment turned him into The Thing, only it's The Thing that wasn't in the oven long enough. And technically, that's Fantastic Four, and this is an X-Men spinoff. Sorry, fanboys, I shall work to avoid further sacrilege.

Before all this, Deadpool was merely Wade Wilson, an ex-special forces man turned mercenary who made what I gather was a living wage beating people up. At his favorite dive bar, he meets escort Vanessa (Baccarin). After a speed-date on who's life was crummier, they end up in the sack, or a montage of sack sequences where your Newsroom Puritan kept his eyes closed because he went to a see a movie, not porn. This is where the MPAA undoubtedly decided its rating description needed the term "graphic nudity." Even though I can't tell you how graphic, I'll bet you the role of Ryan Reynolds' bare buttocks probably came up in any negotiations over credit arbitration.

Wilson slipped out on Vanessa to have the treatment administered by a token British-accented thug from central casting, Ajax (Skrein). We learn his real name is Francis. I should've made the screenwriters change it. Wha-- what do you mean I skipped around on the plot? So does the film! Add in a few bloody sword fights and gunfights, and that Big Showdown At The End with Ajax/Francis/Whatever and you've got yourself a superhero movie. But don't forget, you've got to add a couple of X-Men along for the ride: Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) and Colossus (Stefan Kapičić in heavy CGI).

But really, who cares about coherence when the movie is essentially a visually enhanced stand-up routine by Ryan Reynolds, People magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive" for 2010 (a fact the film cleverly tweaks)?

And since you're probably going to see it anyway, why are you even reading this?

Hey, I got you to read to the end!