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The UnPopular Opinion: Deadpool

12.29.2016

THE UNPOPULAR OPINION is an ongoing column featuring different takes on films that either the writer HATED, but that the majority of film fans LOVED, or that the writer LOVED, but that most others LOATHED. We're hoping this column will promote constructive and geek fueled discussion. Enjoy!

****SOME SPOILERS ENSUE****

When I shared my top overrated and underrated films of the year last week, I was lambasted for including DEADPOOL on the overrated ranking. While the preface to this column states that the UnPopular Opinion is about films that I loved or hated in contrast to the consensus take on a film, I feel it is necessary to share my take on Ryan Reynold's passion project. I want to state clearly that I do not hate DEADPOOL at all. In fact, I saw it a couple of times on the big screen and I own a copy on Blu-ray (a gift, mind you). I also tend to leave it on when I come across it on cable but that is also what has thrown my opinion of the film into the contrarian take I am about to lay before you. DEADPOOL does not hold up well upon multiple viewings, at least not as a whole. In segments and quick bursts, DEADPOOL is perfection. Like a YouTube clip of something from South Park or Family Guy, Tim Miller's superhero film is raunchy gold. But, when you start the film and watch it from beginning to end, you begin to see the holes in the mid-budgeted comic book adaptation.

DEADPOOL is the film that many thought was never going to get made. With Marvel and DC relying on the PG-13 demographic to rake in the big bucks, an R-rated Marvel movie seemed an impossibility. But, with 20th Century Fox reeling to scrape as much as possible out of their X-MEN rights, DEADPOOL got made. The resulting film became a huge hit and broke countless records and got Ryan Reynolds and company on all sorts of year end lists and Best Of rankings. As much as I love comic book movies and laughed my ass off watching DEADPOOL, I had to stop and ask myself if this movie really warrants all of the attention it is getting. With that coveted Certified Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, it is hard to find a truly critical analysis of DEADPOOL that airs the dirty laundry most people are ignoring. The biggest problem with DEADPOOL is that outside of the profanity and blood, the movie is incredibly cliche and follows the same exact formula and pitfalls that every other Marvel movie suffers from. Covering those holes with some f-bombs and perfectly delivered one-liners does not get rid of them.

The UnPopular Opinion, Deadpool, Tim Miller, Morena Baccarin, Ryan Reynolds, TJ Miller, Ed Skrein, Superhero, Comic Book, Marvel

If you had to boil DEADPOOL's plot down to a couple of lines, what would it be? Mercenary falls in love and finds out he is dying. Undertaking an experimental cure, he is disfigured and swears revenge while also trying to get back his girl. That pretty much sums it up, right? Now, if you are going to go with a truly generic plot like that, you need to make up for it with a kick ass villain. Who do we get? Ed Skrien, the guy who couldn't carry a TRANSPORTER reboot and got fired from Game of Thrones. Okay, anyone else? How about Gina Carano in a role that has less than five spoken lines of dialogue. That pretty much sums it up. So, we have valuable supporting characters, right? Well, outside of Morena Baccarin we have T.J. Miller as Weasel in a wasted role that serves as barely more than exposition, Leslie Uggams as Blind Al, and Brianna Hildebrand as Negasonic Teenage Warhead. Most of these characters are merely window dressing to allow Ryan Reynolds to showcase his ninety minute standup routine. Granted, when you watch DEADPOOL you want to see a lot of the title character, but that doesn't warrant giving us these cardboard cutout ensemble players.

Which leads to Morena Baccarin. I would sell my child for a chance with this lady but her character is without any sort of true depth. She can go toe to toe with Wade Wilson and delivers in a stunningly hilarious sex scene, but ever other moment she is on screen it almost as hard to take as her performance on Gotham. Vanessa is a hooker with a heart of gold and there is always the potential for her to become her comic book alter ego at some point, but every decision she makes has her as a damsel in distress and barely anything more. It is ironic because the character herself discredits being a damsel in the movie! I get that this movie should have just been titled RYAN REYNOLDS IS DEADPOOL, but that doesn't excuse the sloppy execution here. I blame the majority of that on Tim Miller. Miller, primarily known for his visual effects work, should be applauded for finally getting DEADPOOL to the big screen, but his lack of skills as a filmmaker represent another major shortcoming for this movie.

The UnPopular Opinion, Deadpool, Tim Miller, Morena Baccarin, Ryan Reynolds, TJ Miller, Ed Skrein, Superhero, Comic Book, Marvel

I don't want to knock visual effects or stunt guys who get gigs behind the camera, but it was an incredibly smart decision to get David Leitch to replace Miller. Leitch, best known for helming JOHN WICK, is also a non-director turned filmmaker whose prowess comes in the effects side of movie-making. The difference between Miller and Leitch is the fact that JOHN WICK had some brilliant action scenes. DEADPOOL's major action doesn't come off as anything that we haven't seen before. Again, what people responded to with DEADPOOL was the breaking of the fourth wall and the self-referential nature of the character. Literally anyone could have directed this movie and the results would have turned out the same. Part of that blame falls on writers Rhet Reese and Paul Wernick who had been with the project for a long time. DEADPOOL is clearly a compromise of a film between the studio and Ryan Reynolds team. In order to get the film made, there had to be concessions on both sides: Fox conceded to violence and profanity while the film crew kept everything as cheap and generic as possible.

Notice that none of the music featured in the film is new? That is because the producers went with whatever the cheapest songs were that were relatively close to the tone and style of the film. This wasn't a James Gunn mixtape soundtrack but rather a public domain scramble to find what fit the remaining budget soundtrack. Half the songs themselves are cliches which begs the biggest question of all: if DEADPOOL is constantly mocking and joking about cliches, why is this movie as cliche as it is? Is that the ultimate joke or is it the result of constraints and studio interferene. We laud DEADPOOL for being so risky and unlike the other superhero films crowding our theaters, but is it? Take away the swearing and blood and you really don't have much left. I will laugh every single day at the jokes Ryan Reynolds spews in this movie but taken in a full viewing it just becomes a movie and nothing unique.

The UnPopular Opinion, Deadpool, Tim Miller, Morena Baccarin, Ryan Reynolds, TJ Miller, Ed Skrein, Superhero, Comic Book, Marvel

DEADPOOL is ultimately what it needed to be: the movie that showed the studio that the character (and R-rated comic book films) are a viable stream of revenue. With DEADPOOL 2, Reynolds and crew will be tempted to go bigger and better than the original which does not bode well for an original project full of daring and dangerous humor. DEADPOOL as a film should be as unhinged and crazy as the character is in illustrated form. While this is clearly a studio take on an anti-establishment character, there is hope for something to shake up the formula. But, that would mean a worthy villain and original story have to be at the forefront of everybody's mind. No one should return behind the scenes for DEADPOOL 2 aside from Reynolds himself as he clearly has a love for Wade Wilson. I just hope that he is more than a mouthpiece but an actual character with some depth in the sequel because this version of DEADPOOL is no better than any other comic book film out there.

Oh, and if you have any suggestions for The UnPopular Opinion I’m always happy to hear them. You can send along an email to [email protected], spell it out below, slap it up on my wall in Movie Fan Central, or send me a private message via Movie Fan Central. Provide me with as many movie suggestions as you like, with any reasoning you'd care to share, and if I agree then you may one day see it featured in this very column!
Source: JoBlo.com

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