The best way to sum up the experience of watching Deadpool is to quote a line from The Dark Knight. (Which I know is mixing Marvel and DC, but isn’t that exactly the kind of anarchistic movie that Deadpool would like?) This is the Deadpool movie fans deserve, but not necessarily the Deadpool movie the rest of us need. It’s as wacky, violent, and over-the-top as any fan could want from a Deadpool movie. It’s also gratuitous, and unfortunately, quite salacious as well. Now, I’ve heard the argument that’s also what one would expect from a “properly” made Deadpool film, and while the point is taken, that doesn’t make it necessary, or even proper, for that matter. Truthfully, I did enjoy Deadpool for the most part (it’s funny and has some epic action sequences), even though ultimately I felt wrong for doing so.
Now, Ryan Reynolds hasn’t exactly had the best run when it comes to superhero movies. His turn as Green Lantern was forgettable at best, and his first time playing Deadpool in X-men Origins was a travesty; which is being kind. Look, I’m no Deadpool aficionado, but even I knew that version of Deadpool was pretty much the worst version of the character ever made. It was such a shame because it seemed Reynolds was so perfect to be Hal Jordan, and especially Wade Wilson. Fortunately, this Deadpool movie proves that to be true. Reynolds is perfect for the character. He brings the voice of the Merc with a Mouth to life in such a pitch perfect way that it’s easy to convince yourself this is exactly how the character always sounded in your head when reading the comics. Reynolds also does a fine job with the few but impactful serious moments of the film, showing just how damaged this character is despite his wise-cracking ways. There’s a haunted desperation lingering in some of his looks, which lends needed grounded humanity to a character that is otherwise so gratuitously over the top.
Yeah, about that gratuitousness. So, Deadpool is often called “the Merc with a Mouth”; which may sound like he’s a wisecracker, which he is. In fact, this movie is very often quite hilarious. It easily has one of the funniest opening credits sequences I’ve seen for a film in quite some time, and it perfectly sets the tone for what follows. However, that mouth is more than just about cracking wise. For all of his talents, Deadpool doesn’t exactly have the most expansive vocabulary for expressing himself. In fact, it’s often limited to words of the short, four-lettered variety, generally all strung together. Most of the people around him aren’t much better. For all their loquaciousness (look it up, it’s reinforcing my point), they don’t really have the vocabulary to support it.
Also, Deadpool isn’t exactly heroic (a point he goes out of his way to vocalize repeatedly in the film), so he doesn’t have any qualms about taking down the bad guys in the most extreme and violent ways possible. Again, you’d sort of expect that from a guy who packs a couple of swords and a couple of pistols, right? Those two elements alone really push the limits, but toss in the extremely gratuitous and graphic sexual displays, and it’s easy to see why this movie was initially NC-17. Truth be told, and again I’m not extremely familiar with the character, that’s the element I found so surprising. Oh, I know Deadpool has plenty of naughty innuendo in the comics, but it’s just that; innuendo. Unfettered by any publishing restrictions, this film forgoes the innuendo and dives right into full on displays of…stuff; I’ll just leave it at that. Again, I’ve heard people argue that it’s appropriate to the character—all of the raw R-ness of this film is just what a Deadpool movie should be. Maybe, but it still leaves me with the question of whether it’s really appropriate in any true sense.
The fact is, Deadpool is kind of a sad and pathetic character. Others may have left the movie laughing and smiling and wowed by the great actions scenes, but the more I reflected on the film, the more it made me sad. Deadpool is a movie about a bunch of messed up people with really messed up lives and the best they can do is try to find a way to make light of it and try to make right whatever it is they can make right. Wade feels that life is basically a tragic program occasionally interrupted by brief commercials of happiness that just can’t last. It’s just sad. More so because I’m willing to be that resonates with so many people. It’s also sad because it doesn’t have to be that way. Granted, life can’t always be happy, but it can be filled with joy; everlasting joy. That’s why Jesus came. He came so that broken, hurt, damaged people might find hope, healing, and yes, joy. Life doesn’t have to be a trudge through endless misery interrupted by only brief interludes of happiness; it can be so much more. It was meant to be so much more. Deadpool is a depressing character to me because he represents just how hopeless and miserable a life without Jesus can really be. Life can be damaging, but through Jesus, life can be repaired and it can be healed.
However, that’s not a message that will found in Deadpool. Instead, you’ll find messages like “find pleasure when and where you can”, “the ends justify the means”, “right and wrong are relative, and often meaningless”, and etc. Oh, it’s a funny movie. It has some hilarious digs at the rest of the Marvel Cinematic universe. It’s also an action packed movie with some amazing set-pieces. But, it’s also a rather foul movie (“as a Deadpool movie should be”, fans would say. I know, I know) with an endless stream of profanity and some rather graphic sexual interludes. But what I found to be the most disappointing was the bleak outlook on life and the world in general. A life without hope, well, that’s just not a life I would wish on anyone, and regardless of how one tries to cover it up, be it with a quick wit, a quest for sex, or violent vengeance (and Deadpool tries them all), it’s ultimately an empty life to lead. I guess that’s what makes Jesus the True Hero; he provided the answer and the way to save us from the one problem none of us, super or otherwise, can escape on our own.