So on Valentine's Day I heartlessly wrangled my other half out of bed before noon on his one day off and dragged him to the theater for a first showing of the day for Deadpool.
Short version: this was a fantastic idea and enjoyed by all.
I'm about to start talking about the movie, and while I'm attempting to avoid detailed spoilers, if you want to avoid them completely, stop reading here. There are detail spoilers below.
The price of admission was worth it by the opening credits. This bode well for the rest of the experience.
There was also some squeeing on my part since pineapple and black olive pizza has been my favorite literally as far back as I can remember. Usually people look at me like "You want WHAT on your pizza?" when I bring it up (except Ann, she's awesome and my pizza buddy). But no, Wade orders my favorite pizza of all time.
The movie is hilarious, crass, violent, and irreverent. Deadpool not only breaks the fourth wall, acknowledges that he's breaking the fourth wall, but makes references explicitly to the X-Men films ("Stewart of McAvoy?"). The characterization was fantastic, with the blend of a monstrous self-assured ego and absolute self-loathing.
There's a definite challenge is staying true to Deadpool's origin story, among other things there are so many variations out there one can't stay true to them all. The basics tend to stick to a few facts:
- Some mix of special forces and mercenary background
- Sick humor pre-Deadpool
- Dead parents (or soon to be dead by his hand, without any memory or knowledge of it)
- He almost never shuts up
- Sex worker love interest who he leaves as he knows he's dying
- Terminal cancer
- Weapon X/shadowy agency doing human experimentation
- Violent and deadly exit from Weapon X, presumed dead (because who could survive that)
- He takes his name from the next death betting pool, the "deadpool"
- He has an associate/punching bag/minion named Weasel, a prisoner/roommate named Blind Al, and never the twain shall meet.
- He knows he's a fictional character
Though of interesting contrast, Tank Girl has to limit the number of times they said "fuck" to I think 3 in order to keep an R rating instead of being pushed to NC-17.
But anyways, I went in with a pretty solid familiarity with the various Deadpool comics and story arcs, and I wasn't disappointed.
It's a bit of irony to me that Morena Baccarin plays the love-interest, especially as she's most often recognized from her role in Firefly, where she played a Companion who was secretly dying of a terminal illness. But damn am I happy to see her in a feature film, and she nails it. Well, nails him too. Happy Women's Day. In all seriousness, the sex representation in this movie is pretty awesome. Wade and Vanessa pretty gloriously and hilariously celebrate their enjoyment of each other.
The bar itself is a bit of a blend from the story. Weasel is certainly in a more respected position than he ever ends up in the comics, and while there is a mercenary bar that Deadpool frequents, Weasel is certainly not the bartender, nor is that the source of the "deadpool." It was a reasonable blend of setting elements, and to be honest, Weasel in the comics is a bit unrealistic as a normal human (how many times are his knee caps shot out?). Weasel works here as an anchor character for story elements and has a bit more depth.
Blind Al was pretty much perfect. My quibble is that she's very much portrayed as a voluntary housemate ("I wish I never heard of Craig's List"), and there's an openness about Deadpool's home and willingness for the people in his life to interact that doesn't exist in the comics. The relationship between Deadpool and Blind Al was pretty amazing, a blend of harassment, resentment, and affection. The IKEA furniture detail adding a bit of hysterical absurdity.
The absence of Dr. Killebrew confused me, and the general shying away from the experiments being part of Weapon X. It could still be part of Weapon X, and Dr. Killebrew could be in the background, but the doctor in particular was markedly missing.
The references in the movie knock it out of the park. The opening credits are genius and set the tone for the entire movie. The references to other aspects of Reynold's career, including Green Lantern and X-Men Origins: Wolverine are slipped in smoothly, and don't fall flat if you simply miss it. I caught the X-Men Origins: Wolverine Deadpool action figure, my other half didn't to no change in his enjoyment of the film. The clear breaking of the fourth wall to the confusion of everyone around fits, and the references to the different X-Men timelines and castings are cleverly done.
For me the oddest thing is the ending was almost too happy. We've gotten a slightly happier more sane Deadpool than some of his iterations. He doesn't seem to have multiple voices in his head, and there's not so much an issue of murderous rage towards either Weasel or Blind Al in certain circumstances. No one's throwing up when they see his face, which means he's a bit less horrific than the comics, and the end of the movie is just over a year since he signed his life away so perhaps the psych trauma is still building.
I will probably see this again in the theater, and I will definitely be picking up a copy once it's out on disc.
If you're looking for a place to start with reading Deadpool I highly recommend starting with Daniel Way's run writing.