“Time to Make The Chimi-Fucking-Changas.”

About a month and a half ago, I wrapped up my 2015 Movie Superlatives with one last award: Most Anticipated Movie of 2016. It wasn’t an easy call–there are a lot of big movies coming out this year–but ultimately I picked Deadpool because it just looked the most fun.

Last week, I went to the theater, desperately hoping I wouldn’t be wrong.

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Spoilers: I wasn’t.

SUMMARY:

Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) is just your average, slightly crazy mercenary who wants to live happily ever after with his awesome girlfriend, Vanessa (Morena Baccarin). Unfortunately, he’s diagnosed with cancer, and while super unethical and horrifying experiments leave him virtually immortal, they also disfigure his entire body. Thus, Wade Wilson begins his own roaring rampage of revenge and becomes a superhero along the way!

Well, kinda.

NOTES:

1. Ryan Reynolds has deserved a win for a long fucking time. Deadpool is that win.

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He’s just kind of, well, perfect. I’ve read several times now that this is the role Ryan Reynolds was born to play, and while that phrase is often overused in movie criticism, it might actually be true in this case. Which isn’t to say that I’ve disliked Reynolds in other things: he was terrific in Buried, surprisingly great against type in Smokin’ Aces, and is easily the best thing about Blade: Trinity (which, okay, probably isn’t saying much). But I feel like the role of Deadpool requires a very specific type of zany homicidal charm that most actors would have struggled with. Reynolds’ comedic timing, though, is impeccable. He effortlessly bounces between snarky and wacky and dead serious, and somehow neither he nor the film itself ever feels disjointed. It’s kind of impressive, actually, and I’m looking forward to seeing more from the sequel.

2. I really like Morena Baccarin quite a bit, too.

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I find Baccarin interesting. Like most nerds, I first saw her in Firefly and enjoyed her quite a bit as Inara, but then I saw some scenes of her in SG-1, and . . . yeesh. Admittedly, she’s playing a trope I can’t stand, but the performance itself seemed kind of terrible. I thought she might just be seriously hit-or-miss for me, but I’ve found her to be pretty much all hit since then. She regularly rises above the material on Gotham (oh, Gotham, that crazy ass mess), and she’s just awesome as Vanessa in Deadpool.

Vanessa is technically a damsel is distress, but personally, I don’t always mind stories where women need to be rescued (though, admittedly, it does get old); I mind when the women are utterly useless and/or bland Nice Girls. And Vanessa is definitely not a bland Nice Girl. Baccarin and Reynolds have great chemistry, and I loved their who-has-the-saddest-backstory competition/flirting. The only thing I wasn’t quite sure on was her job. Is she supposed to be a stripper, a prostitute, or a stripper and a prostitute? Cause both are totally cool, but . . . they aren’t actually the same thing, and enough people already conflate the two jobs.

Love interests in superhero movies can often be very annoying, pointless, generic, or otherwise problematic, but I actively like Vanessa. And I think it’s worth mentioning that she and Wade probably have a healthier and happier relationship than most superheroes, which is kind of awesome since she’s a stripper/sex worker and he’s a half-crazy merc. What I’m saying here is I ship it, so there better not be any pointless drama between them in the sequel.

3. The primary criticism I’ve seen of Deadpool is that, while the irreverent tone is original and enjoyable, the story itself is not particularly creative. Which is a fair point: while Deadpool’s a totally different type of Marvel superhero, his origin story doesn’t stray much from the well-beaten path: experiments give him superpowers, his girl needs rescue, etc, etc.

But to be honest, I kind of thought that was a smart move, at least for the first movie in the series. For one thing, it gives audiences who maybe aren’t familiar with the character a better chance to get used to a rated-R Marvel movie with explicit sex and cheerful murder and regular breaking of the fourth wall. But also, Deadpool plays well as a broad superhero parody, so it makes sense to me that the basic plot tropes are played more or less straight, in order to more easily make fun of them. (The fantastic opening credits, for instance, are a great example of this.) Most of the actual trope subversions are character subversions: a hero who happily kills people, an old, blind woman who’s not exactly your typical mentor, etc.

I will say, though, that I’ll be expecting a lot more plot creativity from the inevitable sequel. Now that we’re fully introduced to Deadpool, I want his next story to go to strange, unexpected places. I want to be surprised by things, and I’d be pretty disappointed if that doesn’t end up being the case.

4. Blind Al (Leslie Uggams) is the blind not-mentor, and unfortunately, she’s probably my biggest problem with the movie.

blind al

She’s not a huge problem, really. I’ve heard that she’s a good representation of her character from the comics. (Here’s where I’ll admit that I’m not particularly familiar with Deadpool comics. Bad nerd, I know. I’ve read some stuff online, and I played . . . well, actually, I just watched my sister play the Deadpool game on our PS3. But that’s about it, unless you’re counting X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which we’re obviously not.) In fact, I kind of like Blind Al because she’s cranky and very pro-cocaine, and that already means she’s not exactly the type of character you normally see in a superhero film.

That being said, I’m disappointed that she doesn’t really have anything to do in this movie except say a few funny lines and drop stuff . . . cause, you know, she’s blind. When she first tripped over the Roomba, I was kind of like, “You know, maybe that makes sense. It’s not a terrible thing, showing challenges a blind character has that a sighted person takes for granted, and maybe there’s even a way to find the humor in it without being like, ‘Ha-ha, BLIND!’ ” But the more Blind Al tripped or missed the coffee table or the like, the less I was into it, and it may have bugged me even more because she doesn’t play any kind of active role in the story. You could easily take Blind Al out of the movie without taking almost anything away from the plot. It’s not a huge flaw, but it did bug me. I really wish she felt more consequential.

5. Oh, and the other line that kind of annoyed me: “You’re probably thinking ‘My boyfriend said this was a superhero movie, but that guy in the red suit just turned that other guy into a fucking kebab’.” (I think that’s how the line went? The exact wording escapes me, and Google seems to have about three or four different variations. Always a problem, especially with new movies.)

And again, the joke isn’t a deal breaker; in fact, I think it was a pretty funny line. It’s just that, you know, my boyfriend didn’t bring me to see this. He didn’t have to explain what Deadpool was to me. And sure, that’s partly because I don’t have a boyfriend, but it’s also because I don’t need a guy to explain to me how to be a nerd. And I’m not some exception, either; there were a lot of girls in that theater. Some of them probably went along with their boyfriends. All of them? Pah. (Emily Asher-Perrin made a similar point recently in her review on Tor.com, and while we clearly don’t agree on everything, her analysis is well worth a read if you haven’t already.)

On a happier and semi-related note, this Tumblr post that’s been making the rounds all week makes me smile. So, that’s cool.

6. Ajax (Ed Skrein) isn’t a hugely interesting villain, but I generally bought all of his sneery British line deliveries, so he works for me. He is certainly not the worst villain Marvel’s ever had, though again, I will expect considerably more from the sequel.

Gina Carano as Angel Dust also works well enough as Ajax’s right-hand-man.

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She mostly just growls and hits things, but hey, that’s what she’s there for. (And, honestly, I’m just happy to see a woman who’s not a size 0-2 in a superhero movie, like, obviously Gina Carano is a bazillion times more in shape than I’ll ever be, but it’s still kind of nice for us plus size geek girls to see actresses with more than one body shape. You know, actresses who aren’t playing mothers, or the protagonist’s “fat friend.”)

7. I definitely loved our sidekick mutants, though:

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Both Colossus (Stefan Kapicic-voicework) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) are a lot of fun. Colossus provides an amusing contrast to Deadpool, in that Colossus is very stoic and honorable and Deadpool is incredibly not. And I’m just a sucker for a moody goth teenager with a great superhero name, especially if she isn’t a whiner. I’m not at all familiar with Negasonic Teenage Warhead, but based on the fights in this movie, I’m thinking she should leave the X-Men and become Deadpool’s sidekick instead, cause she didn’t strike me as overly concerned with the whole not killing thing, either. (Does this actually happen? Tell me this happens.)

And, of course, just having the X-Men around, even the C-team, is pretty exciting. I genuinely like most Marvel movies I’ve seen, but I feel like maybe they used to push the envelope more? When it comes to TV, I definitely feel like Marvel’s been changing up the game, but when it comes to movies . . . I don’t know. Maybe that’s not fair. There have absolutely been fun, great movies in the last couple of years (Captain America: The Winter Soldier being an excellent example), but I feel like maybe they could explore more boundaries in terms of what kinds of superhero stories they can tell and what kind of superheroes they’ll allow to lead them. (And before you can bring up Guardians of the Galaxy–honestly, that’s never really struck me as a superhero story. I know they’re considered superheroes, and I have read a crossover comic between them and The Avengers, but still . . . I just don’t think superheroes when I watch that movie.)

Deadpool certainly isn’t the first irreverent superhero parody–io9 has an article about Super here, and of course there’s also Kick-Ass and probably others that I’m not thinking of right now–but this still feels really new and interesting to me, probably because I’m so intrigued by the idea of crossover characters from movies with wildly different tones. (And yes, from different studios too.) I kind of doubt that Wolverine is ever going to show up in a Deadpool movie or vice versa, but I find that I have ideas on how each would behave if they did, and that’s just exciting to me. Like, Deadpool would be happily homicidal in anyone’s story, obviously, or he wouldn’t be Deadpool. But I don’t think he’d so blatantly break the fourth wall if he found his way into an X-Men movie because that would break the rules, right, like, not in a good way? But any X-Man crossing over into a Deadpool movie totally could break the fourth the wall, and wouldn’t that be the best, seeing a member of the X-Men’s A-team in Deadpool’s section of their now-shared universe?

What I’m saying here is that I can visualize Deadpool 2 with a Patrick Stewart cameo, and I want it so badly it hurts.

8. Figured I should mention: I thought the costume looked really good. I know a lot of people were satisfied on that score after the trailers, but I still wanted to see how it looked in the movie proper, and I was happy with it. (I couldn’t really compare it to the green suit from Green Lantern, since I never got around to watching that. My interest wasn’t super high to begin with, and as I’ve yet to meet a person who enjoyed it, yeah, not in a huge rush.)

9. Finally, before my very brief Spoiler Section: a pretty good chunk of this movie is told in flashback, and while sometimes that structure can be dull and exhausting–looking at you, Arrow–the pacing here never felt slow to me. Which might have to do something with the movie’s run time: 1 hr, 47 min.

Honestly, it’s kind of refreshing to go see a movie that’s under two hours. Like, I planned to see Deadpool in theater no matter what, but I’m not going to lie: that shorter run time was a huge part of the appeal. And don’t get me wrong: I like plenty of movies that are over two hours, but I feel like the trend in many SF, fantasy, and action movies of late is two hours absolute minimum, and that’s just not always necessary.

If you’re interested, a list of superhero movies in the last ten years that run at least two hours: Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Iron Man 3, Captain America: The First Avenger, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, X-Men: First Class, X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ant-Man, Superman Returns, Man of Steel, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Green Lantern, Watchmen, Spiderman 3, The Amazing Spider Man, and The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

Some of these aren’t much over two hours, but some definitely are. Watchmen, for instance, easily wins Longest Ass Superhero Movie with a runtime of 3 hours and 35 minutes. (Jesus, seriously? No wonder I haven’t rewatched this for a second opinion . . . oh, that’s the Ultimate Cut. Okay, looks like the shortest version was 2 hours, 42 minutes. Still not exactly short.) The Dark Knight Rises gets silver with 2 hours, 45 minutes, and X-Men: Days of Future Past settles for bronze with 2 hours, 38 minutes.

I’m hardly the most obvious proponent for brevity, but sometimes, man, short is great.

SPOILERS

SPOILERS

SPOILERS

SPOILERS

SPOILERS

We’re going to keep this very brief today because I don’t actually have all that much to add, and also I have Secret Projects I need to be working on. So:

10. When I said Vanessa wasn’t useless, I meant that she full-on stabs a dude with a sword. I mean, ultimately it doesn’t work, but serious A for Effort, you know? That shit matters to me. Also, I like that she slaps Wade repeatedly when he comes back. Because, yeah, he deserves it.

11. Also, I kind of like that nobody dies, not even the friend who seems like he’s totally doomed once Ajax walks in. I really enjoyed the moment when everyone in the whole Crazy Ass Assassin Bar points their guns at the bad guys when they threaten Weasel. Honestly, I kind of just love the bar in general. What is it about assassins and their secret clubs/bars/hotels that I just find so fascinating?

12. Finally, the homage to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off after the credits? Awesome. Possibly my favorite after-the-credits scenes since shwarma. But I had to weep a little on the inside when I realized that there were almost certainly people in the movie theater who wouldn’t get it because they were too young to have seen that film. I mean, it’s not like I saw it when it came out, either; I was 1 in 1986. Less than 1, really. But it was still required high school viewing when I grew up, and I feel like it probably isn’t anymore. (What is, I wonder? Mean Girls? Something more recent? I should look into that–it’d be a good thing to know.)

QUOTES:

Evil Recruiter: “What if I told you we can cure you and give you abilities most men only dream of?”
Wade: “I’d say that you sound like an infomercial, but not a good one, like SlapChop, more Shake Weighty?”

Deadpool: “I don’t have time for your X-Men bullshit, Colossus! Besides, nobody’s getting hurt.”
(man falls off building)
Deadpool: “That guy was up there before I got here.”

Colossus: “You’re gonna talk to Professor X.”
Deadpool: “McAvoy or Stewart? These timelines are so confusing.”

Deadpool: “Let’s go out there and make a difference!”

Deadpool: “You’re about to be killed by a zamboni!”

Deadpool: “And you are . . .?”
Negasonic Teenage Warhead: “Negasonic Teenage Warhead.”
Deadpool: “Negasonic Teenage . . . what the shit? That’s the coolest name ever!”

Deadpool: “You’re still here? It’s over. Go home! Oh, you’re expecting a teaser for Deadpool 2. Well, we don’t have that kind of money. What are you expecting, Sam Jackson showing up with an eyepatch and a saucy little leather number? Go, go.”

Wade: “I had another Liam Neeson nightmare. I kidnapped his daughter and he just wasn’t having it. They made three of those movies. At some point you have to wonder if he’s just a bad parent.”

Deadpool: “A fourth wall break inside a fourth wall break? That’s like . . . sixteen walls!”

Weasel: “I’d go with you, but . . . I don’t want to.”

Deadpool: “Did you ever see 127 hours? Spoiler alert.”

Vanessa: “Wade, there’s something I’ve been meaning to ask you. Only because you haven’t gotten around to asking me. Will you, um, stick it up my–”
(Wade holds up a Ring Pop)
Wade: “Marry me?”
Vanessa: “Uhhh . . . jinx?”

Colossus: “House blowing up builds character.”

Deadpool: “Superhero landing! You know, that’s really hard on your knees. Totally impractical, they all do it.”

Wade: “Happy Lent.”

Wade: “You’re right. Cancer’s only in my liver, lungs, prostate, and brain. All things I can live without.”

Deadpool: “So, what’s it gonna be? Sullen silence or mean comment?”
Negasonic Teenage Warhead: “You’ve got me in a box here.”

Vanessa: “Ride a bitch’s back like Yoda on Luke.”

Weasel: “Guy came in here looking for you. Real Grim Reaper type. I don’t know. Might further the plot.”

Deadpool: “It’s a big house. It’s weird I only ever see two of you. Almost like the studio couldn’t afford another X-Man.”

Vanessa: “You live in a house?”

CONCLUSIONS:

Honestly, I just had a lot of fun watching it. I totally get where some people are coming from with the criticism, but overall, it worked pretty well for me.

MVP:

Ryan Reynolds

TENTATIVE GRADE:

B+

MORAL:

True love cares not about beauty. (It cares about sexual compatibility, and properly celebrating holidays.)

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One Response to “Time to Make The Chimi-Fucking-Changas.”

  1. Weasel: “Guy came in here looking for you. Real Grim Reaper type. I don’t know. Might further the plot.”

    Was wheezing. Had to pause the movie to collect myself.

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