By Mounjayan (Kolkata, West Bengal, India)
The Good and The Bad
Beware viewers, Deadpool is a contagious movie and after watching it you might have the following side-effects:
– Memorising “X gonna give it to ya” (Deadpool theme) and “Angel of the Morning”.
– Scouting zealous comic books and movie fans on YouTube talking about the clamorous mercenary.
– Intense craving for Deadpool comics and everything Deadpool.
At least this is what happened to me after watching the crimson antihero on the big screen.
The adage which comes to my mind after watching Deadpool was “Old wine in a new bottle”, but boy did I love the bottle. The plot and the story of the film was anything except “Unseen”, the same old revenge story, with the damsel in distress stuck in the middle working as the villain’s primary object of leverage. But what made Deadpool great, was the execution of the much familiar story (imagine Robin Williams reading to you a Deadpool comic) and the simplicity of the motive of the protagonist. Writing in 2016, it is an established fact that we are experiencing a saturation in the superhero genre both on the big screen and the small. Deadpool, however is a breadth of fresh air from such overdose and due to its R rating could usher in new practices in the superhero genre.
I loved Deadpool, I enjoyed Deadpool and following are the things which I learned and observed in the movie Deadpool:
1) Effective Humour: Comedy and horror are very difficult genres in cinema. The margin of error being the slightest. But Deadpool has to be one the best comedy movies I have seen in a long time. The timing, the blunt honesty of the characters and exquisite writing and Fox’s ability to make a fun of itself and Deadpool character as a whole it a giant feather to the funny bones.
2) Self-Awareness: The movie and everyone involved in it are very much aware of the fact the film is a comic book adaption and hence a meta-cinema, and it is the acceptance of the same which makes Deadpool so very special. The Deadpool’s blunt reference to both of the Charles Xavier actors (James McAvoy and Patrick Stewart), his delightful jab at his production studio about featuring only two relatively unfamiliar X-Men in the movie and finally his constant and innocent leg pull at his fellow mutant Wolverine and the sporting Hugh Jackman made the movie all the more enjoyable. I believe that the ethos of the movie lies in its acceptance of what it is and acting in favour of it. I have never read a Deadpool comics nor have played the video game, but the movie was so effective in its interpretation that anyone can grasp and enjoy the essence of the character.
3) Relatable motivations: The driving force (i.e. why he is doing the things he is doing), of our crimson antihero was very much relatable and humane. I could feel and very much relate to the character and his problems as they were personal. There was no self-inflicted burden of saving the world or an undefined motivation to spend one’s lifetime fighting crime to which no one in the audience can relate to. Simplicity and small scale of the events which unfolded worked in the favour of the movie. Since relatable, the audience was still rooting for him despite the fact him being a gruesome murderer chopping people like carrots.
4) Celebrating Imperfections: Most superhero movies celebrate role models, a near perfect portrayal, and a utopian ideal to strive for. Though morally acceptable, in reality such one dimensional sense of self-righteousness is hardly possible. Human lives are more complex than the one dimensional scope of good or bad and it is unrealistic to expect to be at our moral best at all times. Most superhero protagonists have the propensity to portray an ‘Ideal Person’, like that guy in your class who every teacher adores and most generic parents compare you with for some superficial reason or the other. Deadpool doesn’t suffer from Ideal Person syndrome, that’s the fun of being an antihero. Similarities can be drawn between Deadpool and the last underdog box office success Guardians of the Galaxy as the morality of the characters definitely lie in the grey zone making them all the more fun and unpredictable.
5) What Deadpool personifies and other symbolisms: The “merc with the mouth” is far from perfect, hardly qualifies as a hero and is seldom taken seriously. Yet despite all of his short comings this man never tries to change his way and maybe there is a lesson which is embedded in this trait.
Could it be, that this amusing rogue of a man personifies the acceptance of our true self? Not changing despite the circumstances or the people might force us to. I choose to believe so, and the healing factor and regeneration could stand for a metaphor backing this, despite any wound Deadpool can recover from it without changing a single cell in his body. Not only physically, but also his personality remains the same. No matter what happens Deadpool always returns in his original self. In the movie Wade Wilson coming out of the ashes of the destroyed experiment centre is symbolic of the Phoenix’s rebirth from the ashes of its former self.
6) Unconventional: From the opening sequence, constantly breaking of the fourth wall and contrasting slapstick comedy makes Deadpool a refreshing experience. The opening credits is every generic description of the most common characters in a movie and is as innovative as the marketing of the movie.
7) Unpredictability: That’s the fun of having a main character with a moral grey zone. In the conventional case of having a self-righteous protagonist 8/10 times we expect the hero do the right thing (vice versa for the one dimensional villains), hence overall making the character predictable, and an ingredient for a dull watch. Deadpool is unconventional and morally inconclusive hence making him difficult to predict, he could shoot the guy or spare him one can never tell for sure.
But not all was liked about this movie especially after 2nd time watch. First time watching this movie is similar to the first few months of a relationship everything seems flawless crafted to near perfection, but as time passes the flaws surface and Deadpool has a few. The screenplay in the Strip Club seemed directly taken from rap music video, where the main man, generally in a hood, is shown walking in slow motion from backwards. Likewise in some other things (like bike tires screeching on the bridge) they all seem very familiar to something which we all have seen before. The final fight scene and the climax scene (Negasonic’s final blast when Angel Dust was choking Colossus) seemed a bit hasty and lack of budget was evident, as the movie’s final fight not being as dynamic as its first act, which was arguably the best scene in the movie.
One more shortcoming of the movie was the primary villain Ajax, given Deadpool’s mutant abilities Ajax didn’t seem so formidable (something which I have felt in the first Avengers movie with Loki). The development of animosity is well portrayed but the villains in terms powers lacks the potency which would have been a more suitable ingredient for a better final fight.
On an ending note, I am very happy for Ryan Reynolds who took a lot criticism for Green Lantern and the 2009 Deadpool in the Wolverine origin movie, nothing makes me more happy than seeing someone turning their failures to one of their biggest success of their lives, cheers to the internet who made the original footage go viral and causing the chain of reactions, ultimately leading us to this day. The R rating hopefully would encourage other movie makers to making more like the above.
I would definitely watch Deadpool many times over the coming months all the while eagerly waiting for the sequel.