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Film Review: Deadpool
In 2016, Tim Miller released Deadpool based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name as the eighth installment in the X-Men film series. Starring Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, T. J. Miller, Ed Skrein, Gina Carano, Brianna Hildebrand, Stefan Kapicic, and Leslie Uggams, the film has grossed $520.6 million at the box office as of February 26 and had the biggest worldwide opening of an R-rated film. The Hollywood Reporter has ranked it in their list of “best Marvel Comics adapted films.”
Former special forces operative Wade Wilson has been driven insane by a rogue experiment designed to give him a healing factor. Thus, he decides to get revenge on a mutant called Ajax for his torture and resulting disfigurement as a sociopath named Deadpool. But when he discovers that his old flame has become a target of Ajax, he decides to try being a hero. In the meantime, he shatters the fourth wall and burns the pieces.
Though a film that few thought would live up to the hype, Deadpool actually turned out to be a well-written and hilarious film. One reason for its success seems to really be how true the film stayed to the character of Wade Wilson and his trademark fourth wall breaks. For one, he simply doesn’t ever shut his mouth and cracks jokes at every possible chance, staying true to how he’s the Merc with a Mouth. How he and his mouth is viewed by everyone is humorously shown when he and Angel Dust first meet and she gets so tired of hearing him that she covers his mouth and gags him by force. But through everything, the film does let Wade keep what little standards he has, such as his never hurting innocent people. He says early on that he only goes after those who deserve it and after becoming Deadpool, he offers to spare soldiers working for Ajax because he sees them as people who only take a paycheck for the guy.
At the same time, Ajax is a very notable evil counterpart to Deadpool. Both of them underwent human mutant experiments which grant abilities, with Ajax coming out not feeling pain and would rather go by aliases. But where Wade just looks insane and is actually a nice guy, albeit a psychotic one, Ajax looks and sounds sane, but is actually an irredeemable sociopath. He gets a really good establishing character moment during his first appearance walking into Wade’s room stating that while he could speak in euphemisms, he’s become completely insensitive and doesn’t really care, opting to say what he’s actually going to do instead. Turns out that what he’s going to do is torture Wade mercilessly until his healing factor works. He’s also doesn’t have a lot of sense, especially near the end of the film when he chooses to be defiant under Deadpool’s mercy, taunting him by saying that he lied about being able to cure Wade. Turns out that telling someone who doesn’t care about killing whoever’s wronged them that you’ve lied about the only thing that’s keeping you alive is a bad idea.
Also true to the Deadpool character is the amount of great fourth wall breaks present in the film, which start immediately with some funny credits and lasts until the final shot. It actually makes it so there’s essentially no fourth wall. Deadpool’s first instance of breaking it in the film himself is a great way of doing so too, with him throwing a piece of gum he found on the ceiling of a taxi at the camera before peeling it off and cleaning the lens. Another really good point is when he catches Ajax’s recruiter and physically turns the camera away so the audience doesn’t see what he’s going to do to the guy.
But fourth wall breaks aren’t the only source of humor in the film as it’s full of every type. One great moment is when he’s counting his bullets and shoots a dead henchmen more times than he needs, followed by berating himself but stating that it’s worth it. There’s also when he’s searching for Ajax and one of the targets he believes will get him closer is crawling along an ice rink with Deadpool giving chase in a Zamboni. What really makes the scene is during a cut that shows how instead of being just about to run him over, he’s half the rink away and yells that he’s going to die in five minutes. The film employs a lot of black comedy really well, too. One great part is when he responds to Ajax constantly telling him to say his name, only for Deadpool to say he’ll spell it out and does so using dead bodies.
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