Welcome to our new Feature entitled ‘What’s so great about…’ which gives Roobla Creators a chance to vent controversial pop culture opinions and vent our frustrations about something that we feel gets far more love than it deserves. First to have the honours: Deadpool.
Upon release in 2016, Deadpool was met with praise from both critics and movie fans before going on to be one of the year’s biggest box office successes. Which is shocking when you consider that it is one of the worst blockbusters released in the last decade.
The paper-thin story is the same paint by numbers affair that Marvel seems to dish out at least five times a year:
Hero gets superpowers → Hero has fun with superpowers and uses them to fight crime → Hero has run-in with villain who either leaves the hero beaten or kills a loved one → Hero doubts themselves and thinks all is lost until someone close to them is killed/kidnapped, inspiring the hero to fight → Hero defeats baddie, saves day, everyone cheers.
That’s not to say that a film is bad just because a film is formulaic or unoriginal, but it doesn’t help that even if you can get past the copy and paste setup, it’s always difficult to suspend disbelief and invest in a story that suffers from Superman Syndrome – A seemingly invincible god-like hero fighting a human whose abilities are so inconsequential compared to the hero that they never feel like a threat; in this case, a villain whose most intimidating feature is an English accent.
The characters featured in the movie do little to combat these issues. While Ryan Reynolds plays the titular role with charm, the villain Ajax (Ed Skrein) is a non-factor, as previously mentioned, the love interest Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) is essentially just another generic damsel in distress and the best friend Weasel (T.J. Miller) is the same unlikeable, smug d-bag that Miller portrays in many of his roles. So what we’re presented with is a story seen countless times before where the only person that’s remotely interesting or likeable is an untouchable superhuman whose inevitable victory is never even slightly called into question.
You may argue that the story isn’t important because it’s a comedy so being funny is all that matters, and while that may apply to other movies, it holds no water here because Deadpool’s comedy is so shallow and tedious that it compounds the boring story, making it a long, exhausting trudge to the get to the end credits.
The movie has a few solid jokes, but that’s about one out of every fifteen. The other fourteen can fit neatly into one of two categories: Obvious and cringeworthy. This is especially frustrating because Deadpool is a comedy movie that’s rated 18, so surely the target audience is adults who are familiar enough with comedy to expect obvious jokes and so should be presented with well-written humour that subverts expectations.
Yet much of the comedy feels like it was taken straight from a schoolyard. One-dimensional gags, lines seemingly thrown in for shock value alone, without being clever or funny, and an overabundance of Monty Python references, such as The Black Knight routine in the fight with Colossus and the repeated ‘You think you have it bad, I [insert exaggerated story of hardship]’ exchanges between Deadpool and Vanessa.
In fact, what makes the disappointing comedy so much more of a struggle to sit through is its repetitiveness, some of the other more noticeable examples of which are Deadpool and Weasel exchanging “You look like [first thing] had sex with a [second thing]” jokes in a seemingly never-ending loop and the ‘breaking the fourth wall’ gimmick which was novel at first, got old by the fifth time and by the twelfth resembled the long-lost ancestor of comedy.
On a technical level, everything was well executed – the production, cinematography and soundtrack were all as well done as you’d expect when so much money is thrown into it, but all this means is that Deadpool was another case of style over substance.
Deadpool was always going to be a success because it’s a good looking movie about a superhero with a gimmick that was churned out of Marvel’s superhero blockbuster machine, so the weak story, poor characters and repetitive, pedestrian comedy are all too easily overlooked. Once you get past the gimmick and presentation, all that’s left beneath is a bad movie that doesn’t deserve its acclaim.