“Gyro Log in a Mask”: From the Desk of a Deadpool Fan (Part One: The Movie)

| April 13, 2016 | 2 Comments

Bullseye: You can’t possibly be this stupid.

Deadpool: Don’t underestimate me.

– Daniel Way’s Deadpool #10.

WARNING: The following post contains references to sex, violence, strong language, and most importantly, SPOILERS. Seriously. Spoilers for Deadpool (2016) follow. Reader discretion is advised.

This is Part One of a two-part post; I discuss the film here, but in the follow-up, I explore the character and why he’s important.

Wade Wilson: The Merc with a Mouth, the Regenerating Degenerate, the Master of Glib, Deliverer of One-Liners, and the Shogun of Sarcasm. Some people call him Deadpool. Others call him Maurice, because he speaks the pompatus of love. Marketed as Marvel’s most unconventional superhero (yes, more so than that talking tree), Maurice finally hit theaters this February in his very own film. And what a film it was.

They're bringing in the real guy now. photo credit: Loot Crate Dead via photopin (license)

They’re bringing in the real guy now.
photo credit: Loot Crate Dead via photopin (license)

It would be extremely difficult for me to write an objective review of Deadpool. From a personal standpoint, it was a dream come true that had spent years chained up in Development Hell. But at the same time, my longtime obsession with the character enabled me to look at Hollywood’s interpretation under a more critical light. I was anxious going into the theater. While the film’s marketing had been stellar and the trailers and infographics had very nicely captured Deadpool’s trademark sense of humor, I was concerned by his status as an internet meme god. Would the narrative be oversaturated with chimichanga jokes to appeal to the masses and sacrifice the deeper elements of his character? Would he be portrayed as just a funny madman with a two swords on his back and a rocket launcher in his ass or as a flawed human being with tireless resilience in the face of his tragedy?

Deadpool: Uh, where have you been? My whole existence has been torturous. This mask doesn’t just cover my face. It covers my feelings, dammit.

– Brian Posehn and Gerry Dugan’s Deadpool: Dead Presidents

The film answered my questions several times over and won brownie points (almost) every time. Don’t get me wrong: Deadpool is formulaic with a finalized storyline so skeletal that Wolverine would have trouble growing skin back over it. But Deadpool is no Wolverine. He plays with his skin far better.

(That came out wrong.)

Starring God's Perfect Idiot. photo credit: Ryan Reynolds via photopin (license)

Starring God’s Perfect Idiot.
photo credit: Ryan Reynolds via photopin (license)

Deadpool is a masterclass in balance and execution, doing time and time again what few comic book movies or even movies are able to. It caters to the existing fans as much as it does to newcomers and welcomes the latter with open arms. For example, Deadpool in the comics makes so many jabs at pop culture and at the Marvel Universe he himself occupies that you’re bound to miss a few on your first read. The film captures the same effect perfectly. Ryan Reynolds excels at portraying this fast-talking hero, layering one joke on another and then sticking a third one through the gap between those two jokes. Whether you’re new to Deadpool or old, the execution and performance ensure you’ll get a large chunk of his character in this film. And that’s what really matters with an origin story. When you close in and start reflecting on the comics, it becomes transcendently beautiful. This is where my objectivism starts to wane a bit (yes, the above paragraph was me trying to be objective!) because, as mentioned, I have been holding out hope for this movie for a long time. And by some miracle, it managed to overcome my concerns and deliver.

Deadpool: I know, right? You’re probably thinking “Whose balls did I have to fondle to get my very own movie”? I can’t tell you his name, but it rhymes with ‘pullverine.’

– Tim Miller, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick’s Deadpool (2016).

Massive spoilers incoming! Let’s count ‘em down. Cue the music.

(1) The opening title sequence is as glorious as it is refreshing. It’s very Deadpool-esque and self-aware, with casting credits like “God’s Perfect Idiot,” “A CGI Character,” and “A British Villain,” followed by “Produced by Asshats.” Overpaid Tool Tim Miller deserves to be overpaid even more for his style, and kudos to FOX for being cool with it!

(2)  I have to praise Reynolds’ performance again. His passion for the project has been incredible, and he proved to us all that he gets the character. Wade was never an internet meme; he was a person, and that raw, relatable, and tragic undertone beneath his snark would have been difficult to get out for a lesser actor. And when the camera called for him to actually tear it up as a psychopath? He did it.

(3) Deadpool‘s ensemble is worth a shout too. Morena Baccarin’s depiction of his love interest Vanessa was a different take on the character from the comics and in many ways more likable. Silicon Valley‘s TJ Miller was hilarious as Deadpool’s friend Weasel and stole the scene practically any time he was on-screen. Wade’s (sort of) maternal figure, Blind Al, showed up too, but I would like to see more of her in Dead2l (that’s what I’m calling the sequel and you can’t stop me, but FOX can because it’s actually not as clever a name as I like to think it is, and I hope to God they don’t name it that). Finally, Deadpool’s frenemy Bob, Agent of HYDRA, got a little nod. With all of HYDRA under Marvel Studio’s control, the writers cleverly integrated him into Ajax’s army instead.

(4) The post-credits scene was also the perfect way to close the film. Playing of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Deadpool urges the audience to go home because the movie is over, before adding the bombshell that his friend Cable will be coming to Dead2l. I teared up and cried at this point because Cable and Deadpool was my gateway into the character, and their friendship is as hilarious as it is touching.

(5) Aside from the above, there was a non-stop slew of references to everything from Shar Peis and Rob L., from Taken and Fawlty Towers, to licensing issues, studio budgets, and Five Time Academy Award Viewer Ryan Reynolds’ acting career. The fourth wall breaks felt true to the character, and all of it together formed a cohesive whole that does a fantastic, if simplistic, job of bringing Deadpool to the larger world.

My rating? Excelsior.

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Category: Art and Literature, featured, Poetry, Prose and Comedy, TV and Movies

Aaraf Afzal

About the Author ()

Aaraf Afzal is many things, but he's not particularly good at being any of them. He continues to work towards this goal, among others, studying Film & TV and Economics at Boston University. An avid subscriber to the belief that all forms of media have their own sense of artistic beauty, he is particularly invested in writing fiction and recently released his first novel "Re: Revolution" in Bangladesh. Alongside his pursuits at Culture Shock, he's currently at work writing an online series called "The Chosen Zeroes." Fandoms and inspirations include Neil Gaiman, Kingdom Hearts, Ratchet and Clank, Marvel Comics, and Culture Shock. Giggity.

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