I don’t say this about movies very often, but Deadpool made me want to kill myself.
Yahtzee Croshaw once said that an attempt at comedy that falls flat is the basic unit of raw despair, and nowhere is that more evident than in Marvel Studios’ newest superhero extravaganza.
Full disclosure: I neither know nor care about Deadpool’s depiction in the comics, but my sources tell me that he’s made the transition to film mostly unchanged. I’m left to wonder, then, at what kind of people really find Deadpool’s juvenile jokes and eye-rollingly obvious fourth-wall-breaking antics funny.
Here’s the rub: witless insult-based humor and self-referential gags are essentially the only two strings to Deadpool’s comedy bow, meaning that his repertoire grows stale incredibly quickly.
Going into the movie blind, as it were, I was kind of under the impression that Deadpool was supposed to be Marvel’s quirky tear-away character whom the writers could use to parody the more absurd and clichéd characteristics of their comic book universe—and now we’re getting to the root of the problem.
See, there’s a world of difference between parody and reference. A parody (like Airplane, for example) actively disparages and lampoons its subject, while a reference merely points to its subject and reminds you that it exists. Deadpool is unquestionably in the latter category, and its cringe-worthy self-reference and fourth wall breaking only come off as pathetic.
While I’m on the subject, I feel it’s worth mentioning that as far as plotting is concerned, being ironically generic is still being generic, no matter how many times you wink to camera.
In the trailer, the eponymous Deadpool defiantly proclaims “this isn’t your average superhero movie!” which ultimately makes the film a liar on top of everything else, because if Deadpool is anything, it’s hopelessly, pathetically, unabashedly pedestrian, no matter how loudly or how many times it declares itself otherwise.
The plot can basically be boiled down to: 1) guy gets superpowers; 2) bad guy kidnaps loved one; 3) good guy rescues damsel in distress—you know, the same plot the industry has been churning out like so much canned dog food for the better part of two decades now.
It strikes me as a massive missed opportunity that Deadpool doesn’t play around even a little with the old tried and true formula, considering its subject’s ostensible “quirky” characterization; but no, it’s the same hackneyed three-act structure that serves as the framework for literally every other superhero movie in existence.
I can’t even condescend to admit that the R-rated action was anything above passible either. It’s like every individual aspect of the film was scientifically distilled in a lab somewhere in an effort to make them as bland as humanly possible. Sure it’s bloody, but they may as well have used those drag-and-drop plug-ins for all the impact it had.
Not to engage in ad hominem or anything, but the whole affair really gives the impression that the entire creative team were a bunch of self-aggrandizing, self-congratulatory assholes who neither knew enough about filmmaking or cared enough about storytelling to treat Deadpool as anything more than a big masturbatory cash-grab that completely fails to justify its own existence with its execrably dull execution and vomit-inducing attempts at humor.
Rating: 1 out of 5