Deadpool: Van Wilder in Spandex

As I tend to do on occasion, please allow me to share my thoughts on Deadpool after going to see it as a Valentine's Day event with my wife.

In a nutshell, I enjoyed Deadpool and it kept my attention throughout the film. It's a roaring success if you're looking for a popcorn movie that meets all the storyline stereotypes you've come to expect from these comic book franchise films.

Disclaimer: I Don't Do Comic Books

I'm treading on dangerous ground even discussing the film here because I'm not a comic book guy. In fact, a lot of the X-Men and other Marvel movies that have been released in past years, I haven't even seen. I used to watch the X-Men cartoons as a lad but the live action films never drew much of my interest. Always seemed very far-fetched to me. 

I know a lot of you online have a pool of depth into the Deadpool character that's far deeper than mine, so please proceed knowing this critique comes from not a Comic-Con attendee but as a guy who likes movies.

The Setup [No Spoilers]

Ryan Reynolds (whom I understand to be quite attractive, thanks to my wife) plays the role of Wade Wilson. Wilson has a checkered background at best as a dishonorably discharged special forces veteran credited with 41 kills in the service. The circumstances of his discharge aren't clear in the film but you learn Wilson as a character who fights for the little essentially acting as a less than lethal hitman for hire. In other words, he intimidates people who need intimidating for cash.

Deadpool and Cab Driver Karan Soni from the filmIt didn't take more than a few minutes of the film for me to immediately draw comparisons between Wade Wilson and another snide, quick-witted character Ryan Reynolds played, Van Wilder. In fact, I think it would be quite reasonable to just say this movie is Van Wilder wearing Spandex. 

Heck, Deadpool even has a pseudo-prodigy in the film that drives a cab and also happens to be an Indian with women-trouble... just like Van Wilder. (I had to look, the Indian actor is not the same from Van Wilder. The intern in that film was played by Kal Penn. In Deadpool, the cabbie is Karan Soni).

Wade Wilson falls in love and appears to have his life on the "right track" but is diagnosed with late stage terminal cancer. The first act breaks with Wilson making the decision to explore a treatment program he knows little about. This treatment program would introduce him to Francis/Ajax, the villain in the film played by Ed Skrein.

Ryan Reynolds and love interest

What Works

I like Ryan Reynolds in these crass, smart-ass type roles. Of course, I'm a young-to-middle aged guy so many of his previous roles aren't exactly targeted for me. The Change-Up, Definitely, Maybe, and Just Friends were typical Hollywood Rom-Coms that my wife will watch endlessly on basic cable for years to come. I won't be joining her.

The humor and storyline fit well. Unlike many of these superhero movies that tend to overplay the internal struggle of the main character, Wade Wilson never takes himself too seriously which helps keep the audience engaged without making the Wilson character break from what you'd expect from a young male --- he puts up walls and keeps them up. 

What I Question

Deadpool and X-men's Collossus

1.) I had no idea Deadpool was related to the X-Men franchise in some way. I guess this sets up the character for a myriad of appearances across the franchises and will mean billions of dollars for Marvel but the interconnectedness of all these characters is getting a bit ridiculous. (Queue the Batman vs. Superman film due out later this year...)

The bits about how Deadpool got his "powers" is a bit foreign to me. As I stated above, I have a casual knowledge of the X-Men series and the idea of mutants with super powers. 

[Proceed with caution - about to explain how the mutation happens - not exactly a spoiler but don't want to ruin for you].

Wade Wilson rolling on a gurney to the operating area where his mutation occurs

2.) In the film, Wade Wilson gets his Deadpool regenerative powers by being exposed to extreme trauma and torture. According to the film, the trauma will cause his dormant mutant genes to "kick on" and no longer be dormant. Is this a break from the way the X-Men traditionally got their powers? It was my understanding that the X-Men were simply "born that way". 

Plus, Deadpool's powers aren't all that impressive. He is basically Wolverine without cool claws. Is that really worth an entire new character? (I guess this complaint is on Marvel more than the film). 

3.) I struggled to understand the timeline in this film after Wilson becomes Deadpool. There is a period of time before Wilson's character is reunited with the love of his life. In the film, it seems like it was just a few weeks or possibly a couple months but she makes mention at one point that it had been "years". 

If, it was to be years, that leaves me with a ton of questions about the life of Wade Wilson. One of the funnier points in these super hero movies is the real life alter-ego and how they adapt to live in our society. Clark Kent was a newspaper reporter. Bruce Wayne was a multi-million/billionaire. What does Wade Wilson do for money since he is essentially an outcast once the mutation occurs?


Deadpool movie poster that says "Sit On This"

I enjoyed the film and think it's definitely worth seeing. Based on the hype and early reviews on Twitter, I certainly wasn't alone. It is what it is - don't overthink it and don't be easily offended. Prepare for a lot of frat-house jokes and double entendres.