(MA15+) Starring Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, TJ Miller
One thing that is expected in the superhero film genre is the origin story. You know, the movie where we find out how this person get their powers and why do they fight for justice? When it comes to origin story that is Deadpool, the first question is answered, but the second question is given a fresh spin. Before becoming the immortal being in a red suit, Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) was a fast-talking, foul-mouthed former Special Forces operative who has found the love of his life in Vanessa (Morena Baccarin). In the process of getting his life right for her sake, he finds out he has advanced terminal cancer and decides to undergo an experimental process that leaves him with accelerated healing powers. Unlike many other origin stories, this does not provide Wilson with a sense of obligation to society, but an underlying feeling of revenge. Because even with the healing powers, the experiment leaves him grotesquely disfigured. Unable to go back to his life with Vanessa, he transforms into anti-hero Deadpool. Besides his macabre sense of humour and a hyper-active sense of revenge, Deadpool must determine what to do with his newfound abilities. Ultimately, his sole purpose becomes to enact revenge on those who took away his life, even though they gave him his new powers.
Deadpool conjures up juvenile emotions, such as those found in a teenage boy who dreams of being the person given super strength to defeat bullies. Also included with this super strength should come the enviable ability to say the right disparaging comment to any enemy on the school ground.
For fans of the super-anti-hero, Deadpool gives permission to no longer need to be good. Instead, they can celebrate vengeance on those who make life difficult. As played well by Reynolds, Deadpool is unforgivingly abusive, graphic in his vocabulary and pornographic in his aspirations. The red-suited revenge factory is the nightmare of parents — and the secret champion of teenage boys. Right or wrong, he is the epitome of what most young men desire (minus his grotesque features under the mask) to have the ability to do.
If you do not believe this reality, look at the games they play on Xbox, the graphic novels that they read, or the YouTube videos they choose to watch.
Now Showing: Deadpool from The Big Picture on Vimeo.
With unabashed accuracy, director Tim Miller conveys the nature of the Deadpool graphic novels (that his movie is based on). The over-the-top violence, the misogynistic manner of the man behind the mask, and the complete disregard for the trappings of typical super-heroes. Through bringing all of this to the big screen, Miller provides an embarrassingly, enjoyable experience. Plus, the cinematography and stunts rival any superhero film on the market.
Even though this film seems to have the teenaged boy in mind, it is really only suitable for a very mature audience. The violence will make some cheer with repulsive delight and cause many others to wretch from the vivid depiction of bloodshed. The language is over the top, Reynolds and his co-star T.J. Miller manage to find new ways to insult society while relegating their creativity to finding new ways to express f-bombs. Finally, the treatment of women by the central character and others is demeaning and leaves them being portrayed as sexual objects or disengaged individuals who are suffering from sexual identity issues.
But all that being said, the quality of filming and writing delivers an original perspective on a well-worn genre.
It would be a lie to not acknowledge that the film is fun — even though the majority of the antics of the central character make it hard to recommend.
What are some of the bigger questions to consider from this film?
Revenge, violence, justice, sex, language… The opportunities for consideration are plentiful in Deadpool. Trying not to “out” myself as a prude, the question that needs to be asked is, “What should we put in front of our eyes for the sake of entertainment?” This film rips open the wound that represents the desire to enjoy something that screams out for moral objection. Psalm 101:3 says, “I will refuse to look at anything vile and vulgar.” When film-makers add certain components of writing or imagery for realism — or for the sake of artistic license — there may be an excuse on their part, but where does the accountability come down to the viewer? Should I be putting graphic violence, nudity and crude language before my eyes and into my mind?
The answer seems pretty obvious, but how would you answer that question? Something to consider before seeing Deadpool.
- Is revenge ever justified? (Romans 12:19, Proverbs 24:29)
- Can we become better as humans?’ (Genesis 1:27, Mark 7:20-23)
- Can mankind’s hearts change from evil to good? (2 Corinthians 5:17, 2 Timothy 2:21)
Russell Matthews works for City Bible Forum Sydney and is a film blogger
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