Directed by Tim Miller
"Cue the music."
I want to shout it from mountaintops and treetops and the roofs of buildings, "Deadpool is @#$% awesome!" I want to grab everyone I see walking down the street and shout into their faces, "Why are you walking down the street? Why aren't you watching Deadpool? It's #$% awesome!" I want to run into coffee shops and restaurants and bars and shout from table tops, "Why are you wasting your life here? Why aren't you watching Deadpool? It's #$% awesome!" And when the cops come and take me away for trespassing and for assaulting people on sidewalks and for standing in someone's gnocchi, I will shout at the cops, "Haven't you heard? Deadpool is #$% awesome and why aren't you watching it? Are you going to go see it after you tase me?" And when I'm convulsing on the ground, muscles contracting, staining my pants, I will still have a smile on my face because I got to see Deadpool and I got to tell other people to see Deadpool and maybe, just maybe, one of them will take the advice of the insane bald man that screamed in their face and they will go see Deadpool. And then we will have one more person running the streets screaming at people to go see Deadpool.
I'm not exaggerating here, Deadpool is @#$% awesome. It is almost as much fun as a dozen Golden Lab puppies, it is definitely more fun than anything you're doing right now. Unless you're reading this while surrounded by a dozen Golden Lab puppies. In which case, carry on. But pretty anything else you're doing while reading this is less fun than watching Deadpool. Look, you're probably reading this at work, ignoring some spreadsheets and stuff and checking out a review of Deadpool. And there is no way that those spreadsheets and stuff are going to be more fun than Deadpool. They'll wait. A little cough-cough, "sorry, boss" and boom, you're on your way to the local theatre and grabbing a large drink and some popcorn bathed in buttery goodness and sitting your butt down for a couple hours of Deadpool goodness. I didn't see if you if you didn't see me.
How can I convey how much damn fun Deadpool is without giving anything away? This, this is going to be tough.
The movie is a two hour love letter to Shane Black. And who is Shane Black? Glad you asked. He wrote Lethal Weapon and The Last Boy Scout and The Long Kiss Goodnight and he wrote and directed Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Iron Man 3. And the film we're most concerned with here is Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Starring Robert Downey, Jr. and Val Kilmer, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang has a fourth wall breaking narrator, Christmas, pop culture references out the whazoo and so, so, so much humour mixed with some dark pathos. The creative team behind Deadpool seemed to have used Kiss Kiss Bang Bang as a template, and their love of the film just oozes out of every frame. I mean, I know the self-referential humour and the fourth wall breaking is a cornerstone of the comic and has been for over twenty years. But how do you translate that into film? You take a look at a film that achieved it in a way no-one had before. And with its references to Christmas, and referring to breaking the fourth wall while breaking the fourth wall, and pop culture references and "Less Angry Rosie O'Donnell", Deadpool is the valentine's gift that Kiss Kiss Bang Bang has always deserved but until now, none of its admirers were able to create.
And let us just deal with this right now: Deadpool is one of the funniest films I've ever seen. Before the opening credits were over I was afraid I was going to black out from a lack of oxygen. Because I was laughing so hard. Never, ever in all these years of watching film and television and whatnot have I ever seen anything like those opening credits before. And it just kept coming. Now, I'll admit that most of the humour is aimed at people of a… certain age. Plenty of 80s references. But also humour about the characters and the cast playing the characters and past portrayals of characters and characters that aren't in the film and if I keep on going I'll start spoiling stuff so I'll stop here. But, yeah. Deadpool is one of the funniest films I've ever seen.
The movie isn't a two-hour laugh factory, though. It does take the occasional moment to breathe and there are moments that are sublime, some that are surprisingly heartbreaking. I mean, this is a movie about a guy who has very aggressive, very late-stage cancer and becomes super powered in a last ditch attempt to survive. So, yeah, it's not all laughs all the time. But those heartfelt moments are made more precious by how subtle they are, how tender and respectful they are. To attempt to find a balance between the darkness and humour, the balance between the pathos and the dick jokes is where most films fail, very few films find that balance and are able to walk that tightrope. And even fewer achieve it without the audience being aware of the balancing act going on. The director and the screenwriters and the cast, everyone involved in the making of Deadpool, somehow managed to pull this off while making a movie about a guy who dresses up in red spandex and talks to the camera.
This is director Tim Miller's first film, a fact that had me triple and quadruple checking the internets. He has a great confidence, a deep understanding of film language. The audience is never confused during the action scenes, his sense of space and geography is conveyed in a way that reminded me of the Bourne series - there may be a thousand cuts and bullets are flying and things are going boom real good, but you never get confused as to where things are, where people are. His first film and he's already light years ahead of whomever it was that directed Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and the joker that directed Fantastic Four. Heck, the action in Deadpool is shot with a greater sense of danger and immediacy than anything in Jurassic World. He has such an amazing command of shooting an action film, I can't wait to see Tim Miller's future work.
And this is where we talk about our boy from Vancouver, Ryan Reynolds. Deadpool is the character this guy was born to play. Or maybe Deadpool was created for Ryan Reynolds to play. Look, you start to go one way but then you find out that in 2004 Deadpool described himself as looking like "Ryan Reynolds crossed with a Shar-Pei" and then you start thinking that maybe Deadpool was born so Ryan Reynolds could play him. I've had a bit of a man-crush on Ryan Reynolds since the days of Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place. I've always admired his ability to play not maybe an everyman, but a guy that everyone could understand. He's too darned handsome to be an everyman, but his smarts, his wit, his incredible timing and his pretty amazing improvisation skills have set him aside from most of the handsome guys. In so much of what he's played, in film and in television, it seems that Ryan Reynolds has been playing Wade Wilson for almost twenty years now. And over the years, whenever I encountered a Deadpool panel or comic or whatever, the character's voice in my head was Ryan Reynolds' voice. The bringing together of this particular character with this particular actor is such a no-brainer that it amazes me that this project took eleven years to get to where I can sit here and tell you to go see Deadpool because it's @#%$ awesome.
And we've come to a point where if I keep on typing I'm probably going to end up spoiling something, so I'm going to have to wrap this up soon.
Look, Deadpool is awesome sauce, it's amaze balls, it's @#$% awesome and if you're at all interested in having fun while sitting in the dark with strangers you're doing yourself a disservice by not dropping some monies and seeing this film right @#$% now. A heads up: there is no universe where Deadpool is appropriate for children. Between the nudity, the non-stop swearing, and the violence there is not much here for kids. If your kids convinced you to let them play Grand Theft Auto and then you walked into the room when they were beating up a prostitute or running down pedestrians or maybe just learning some cuss words and you were horrified, Deadpool isn't for them. So, please, do the rest of us a favour and leave them at home. I'm sure they'll be fine.