Wednesday, February 17, 2016


I went to see Deadpool with no background knowledge of the comic books on which it was based. The trailers and billboards playing around Paris suggested that it would break the 4th wall.

They were accurate.

Spoilers below the break.

The wall-breaking was done with a lot of panache and flair. And one instance of recursion, although it felt more cutesy than clever.

The rest of the film felt extremely standard issue: one unit of Franchised Superhero Movie, coming up! It had the tie-ins to related franchises (with 4th-wall-breaking about such tie-ins' existence, quality, and irrelevance to the plot), it had the zany hyperviolent scenes. It had people with guns and superpowers engaging, for some reason, in hand-to-hand combat.

Disappointingly, it had Morena Baccarin as the kidnapped-love-interest-princess-who-needs-rescuing. It did not break the fourth wall about this. Her character was also completely inconsistent: for the rest of the film, she's a kickass, independent, take-no-shit woman who unashamedly gets what she wants, goes where she wants, does what she wants. She even gets to express her sexuality as she wants! Then suddenly she gets kidnapped and all she can do is be zip-tied to a metal strut and make giant, helpless sad eyes at the villain and get rescued. What?! Why?

This is also one of those movies where the entire plot could be circumvented if the characters just talked to each other. At all. The entire plot! There needn't be any conflict. In fact, I would have been happier to watch a movie-length montage simply of Deadpool/Ryan Reynolds making sarcastic quips back and forth with Morena Baccarin. Much happier.

Other things that made no sense? The movie was rated R, probably for the extreme violence and some hyper-sexual content, but it made the strange choice to hide all nipples, of both genders, often in stupidly coy ways. Also, genitals were not shown, but heavily implied (as characters were occasionally naked, though the camera never showed anything more than a bathing suit would reveal). I guess the R rating was mostly for language and violence, though both were very hyperbolically, playfully comic-book style and not deeply psychologically disturbing. Sure, people get stabbed and shot, but most of them get right back up again and their hair and makeup is not even disturbed, so the actual stakes are extremely low.

It's a superhero movie. Deadpool, nominally the hero, has the superpower of healing. But he definitely feels pain. [Forgettable nameless guy], nominally the villain, has the superpower of feeling no pain, and very fast reflexes, and maybe also super-intelligence. But when they fight, they both feel no pain, and they both don't seem particularly hurt by things that would incapacitate (with pain or injury) a normal person --- losing gallons of blood, being skewered on swords, etc. So the "superpowers" slide around in whatever way is most convenient to the narrative. Lots of other elements also didn't make sense, but my instinct is to dismiss all these nuggets of weirdness as fan service.

The sarcasm was good, the action sequences were cool, but the plot was completely intolerable. There were obviously writers involved --- the jokes were good --- but somehow they weren't allowed to use their considerable skill on the plot.

It was a fine movie, good for a low-key evening at home. Totally unnecessary to see in the theater.

This post's theme word is princox or princock, "a conceited person." Did you hear that Deadpool guy? What a princox.

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