Deadpool (known by some as the Merc with the Mouth) is the first major R-rated movie I’ve seen in a long, long time. Since I missed issues of the Deadpool comics as a kid, the fact that this was an R-rated comic book movie got my attention more than anything else. Despite his missteps joining other comic book franchises (Blade 3, Green Lantern, X-Men Origins: Wolverine) the idea of Ryan Reynolds playing Deadpool still feels right.
Anyone who saw the promos for the movie and other promotional material is probably kind of psyched for this one. But the question, as always, is this:
Did it suck?
Nope. Not even close. Deadpool is worth seeing. The humor is a little juvenile at times, but it’s 2016 juvenile. I mostly grew up in the eighties, so that doesn’t count as a real problem in my book. Even my wife liked it and she’s a girl and stuff. So yeah. That’s pretty good. She didn’t even complain about the parts where people get killed (What? No CGI robots??) or shoved out of a moving car. Did I mention that Deadpool is a little violent? Again, it’s 2016 violent, but still, keep that in mind. Oh, and there are boobies. So the R-rating didn’t go to waste, kids!
For those who haven’t figured it out yet, this is not a dramatic movie. There is a tragic love story, but somehow, it’s hard to take Deadpool’s problems all that seriously. You aren’t going to see Deadpool for the romance … unless your life is as dysfunctional as mine, maybe … so that’s probably fine. Some familiar characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe are here too, like Colossus, but we also get a few from the Deadpool comics. Like Ajax.
Jokes and action are the center of this film. I could tell you the whole plot without ruining the movie for you. But I won’t. I liked this one so I’ll just suggest you go see it. Apart from a little commentary about Colossus and political correctness below, that is. Note that there are end credit scenes you might want to stick around for.
When R-Rated was King (Some Spoilers Ahead)
I still remember the good old days when R-rated action movies were the norm. Just as Zeus wanted it to be. That was before fundamentalist soccer moms and the PC-police started running the entertainment world. We used to roll our eyes at people like that before popping a copy of Robocop into our VCRs and having a good time. Did you know that violent movies like Robocop were once marketed directly at kids? Ah, the good old days.
Deadpool is known for breaking the fourth wall. But he isn’t the only thing that’s self aware in this story. The movie is very much aware of the politically correct world it was born into. Oddly enough, this awareness – and the movie’s reaction to that political correctness – is expressed through the character of Colossus.
Colossus, the gigantic Russian X-Men made of organic steel, isn’t there to kick ass, though he does do some of that. Instead, Colossus seems to represent attempts to tame Deadpool and turn it into another mediocre PG-13 action film. He spends at least half his time urging Deadpool (the character and the movie) to be a hero and to do the right thing. The right thing, it seems, is to keep everything PG-13. He warns Deadpool about f-bombs and gives him a speech about not killing the bad guy near the end. [MINOR SPOILER in 3, 2, 1…] Bored just as I was by this, Deadpool pulls the trigger anyway. It’s almost as if the character defiantly refuses to be PC in his own movie.
During his big fight against Angel (played by the ever-awesome Gina Carano), Colossus blocks our view of her naked breasts by strategically holding up his hands at exactly the right angle. Angel’s boobs were exposed during her life and death struggle with the walking mountain of Russian steel, it seems. The notion that either of them would care about this in a real life battle is pretty absurd, but in a movie … well, you know how it works.
“Um … you are beautiful woman,” Colossus says. Then Angel fixes her wardrobe malfunction and punches him in the dick. Real, real hard. Note that, earlier in the film, we see plenty of naked breasts in a strip club. So it’s not like they were afraid to show us boobs. No, I think there was another point to this scene. Colossus’ attempts to make Deadpool an X-Men and to get him to act more like a hero seem to represent the pressures put on the production (and many other movies) by the politically correct world around it. Moments like these are, for me, the movie’s response to people who wanted it to be PG-13. And they are glorious.People who wanted Deadpool to be a PG-13 movie just didn’t get it. Yes, it’s a comic book movie. But it’s for grown ups. (Note that comic books are generally read by grownups these days and not just by kids. But I digress.) That’s why many of the jokes refer to things people my age would know about. It’s also why Negasonic Teenage Warhead (a real character from the comics) spends half her time disinterested in what’s going on in the movie, even pausing during a fight to text her friends about the battle.
She’s a kid, you see. And this movie isn’t for kids. Sorry. Not everything in this world needs to be kid or family friendly. It’s absurd to insist that it should. And, to me, that’s one of the themes of this movie.
PG-13 is one of the big reasons why so many action, horror, and even comedy movies just plain suck. They’re boring, especially when compared to the pre-PC movies of yesteryear. That’s not the only reason it’s so hard to find a good movie these days, but these are not genres that lend themselves to PG-13 restrictions.
Sure, families should have access to kid appropriate entertainment. But if you’re a grownup, you mostly have to look to HBO and Showtime for something more. The pendulum, it seems, has swung way too far the other way. As it always does.
The movie is already a big success and we’re told that Fox has already approved a sequel. It seems lots of people want grownup movies (Gasp!) which is weird to say considering that this is Deadpool we’re talking about. So maybe, just maybe, this one will help push the pendulum back a little closer to where it belongs. I’m looking forward to this one coming out on DVD/Blu-ray. Especially since they’re supposed to go even further beyond the PG-13 norm. As well they should. I say, good for them.
NOTE: For a list of the scenes that had been planned for the movie but were later cut for budgetary reasons, check out Everything That Was Too Expensive to Include in Deadpool.