HBO Spotlight: Deadpool

So given my penchant for the comic genre, especially Marvel and the X-Men franchise, it is honestly shocking that I hadn’t seen Deadpool yet. I am so happy that HBO still had this movie up, because it may be one of my favorite Marvel movies to date. I don’t think anything could top Guardians of the Galaxy, but honestly this one was close.

Ryan Reynolds brilliantly redeemed his Green Lantern travesty AND his weird prior Deadpool cameo in X-Men Origins: Wolverine by offering a pitch-perfect performance that provided plenty of self-deprecating and meta-humor on these past lesser performances. Reynolds’ fast-talking, snarky Wade Wilson allows for a sheer barrage of meta-humor on the X-Men comics, on the film industry, and on Ryan Reynolds as a real person. The amount of “wink-wink” references seem endless but are so funny and well-placed that it never feels like they are pandering to their audiences at all. Deadpool constantly breaks the fourth wall, sometimes breaking the fourth wall while breaking the fourth wall, as he puts it, like breaking sixteen walls. Deadpool is a hilarious commentary on it’s own genre and the other films that comprise Marvel’s other franchises.

Deadpool serves as the perfect anti-hero. His backstory establishes his motivations and explains his attitudes and so his natural character arc feels possible. He is an anti-hero who is literally against the attitudes of superheroes. He isn’t a villain, per say, but a foil to the great chivalry that heroes like Superman and the X-Men eventually came to represent, making him incredibly more human. Ryan Reynolds’ performance allows Wade Wilson to become the crude, sarcastic, rude jerk of a character that we simply can’t help but love.

I never knew how badly I wanted an R-rated comic movie, until I got one and saw how much better it can elevate some storylines. So many fight scenes shy away from gore or graphic violence in the stereotypical PG-13 comic movie and it makes these fights seem less authentic. This movie is incredibly violent, but in the best way. The fight scenes aren’t shaky and don’t rely on quick editing, because it’s rating lets it linger and really play up the gore-factor. It feels more visceral and realistic, and I loved it.

Deadpool wasn’t afraid of testing how far a comic book storyline can be pushed. The story is the perfect combination of silly, gritty, and smart. In a move that in itself went against the normative culture of comic summer blockbusters by slapping an R-rating on it and pushing the boundaries of what a comic book movie can be. This move alone established the counter-normative structure that this movie embraces, constantly poking fun at the similar movies within its genre. It is both a satirical boundary-pushing Marvel movie as well as a genre-establishing film that has the potential to recreate the way we think about films based on popular comic books. With this move, Marvel has the potential to explore some of it’s grittier story lines and after the financial and commercial success of this film, I truly hope they keep exploring.

Amy’s Recommendation: 10/10

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