Deadpool

The trailers preceding this film were for Batman vs Superman, the new X-Men, Suicide Squad and the new Avengers. To many this is a smorgasbord of cinematic treats. For me this represents another summer of cinematic austerity. I’ve tried with superhero movies, I really have. X-men Days of Future Past is the best one yet I was told. Avengers Age of Ultron is a must see, folks on Twitter told me. Thor isn’t quite as bad as people say, others implored. Yet they all leave me cold. Two elements combine for this apathy towards all things Marvel and DC: they have no sense of their own ridiculousness – they take themselves seriously, and expect us to do the same; there is no tension is watching two undefeatable CGI creatures slug it out for 10 minutes denting as many metal structures as they can.

Deadpool is therefore a superhero movie for me. The opening sequence superbly sets the tone, mocking every element of the comic book formula. It is followed by ultra-violence, the sort we used to refer to as comic book before comic books were actually put on screen. Our superhero swears, urinates, fornicates, masturbates and generally undermines every aspect of the po-faced Marvey universe. It’s spit your fizzy drink funny, and has more in-gags than Spiderman has remakes. In the torture scenes to create the superhero there are also dark shades of Martyrs.

It doesn’t quite overcome my second reservation, there is still the climactic slugfest. It tries to have it both ways here: knowing winks about the cliche and yet, like comedy-horror, we have to be engaged in the primary format sufficiently. It just about gets away with this. There is considerable bravery in Marvel mocking their own cash-cow and in the adult, ribald humour for what is often a young adult audience. Pulling this off is to be applauded. I’m not sure it’d last to a Deadpool 2 though.

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2 Responses to Deadpool

  1. Jim Groom says:

    Martin,

    I went to see Deadpool when I was back in the states. I had to wait because I knew there was no way I could do the Italian dubbing. That might be the only downside to Italy, they dubb everything, it drives me mad. Anyway, I saw it with Tim in the theaters in March and we loved it. We laughed hysterically at several points, and I thought the constant digs on the X-man was awesome, not to mention the strange, b-movie addition of Nuclear Warhead and Colossus.

    Also, I have to agree with you about the Marvel superhero films, they pretty much have sucked. I enjoyed Age of Ultron to some degree, but only because it was less dreadful than the rest. The one stand-out exception for me has been Guardians of the Galaxy. I loved that one, and the kids and I just re-watched it last night, and it totally stands up. The music is great and its funny, etc., but it has some awesome action scenes: the battle for the orb when the four protagonists first meet, the prison break scene, and then the attack on Nova. The second time around I was impressed with its pacing, there was little to no fat, and it was just good fun. So, I would add that as the only other Marvel stand-out, at least for me.

    The other superhero film this post makes me think of is Ang Lee’s Hulk. it was made right before the first Spiderman (which I did love) broke the genre big and we have yet to emerge from thee aftermath. People accused Lee of taking Hulk to seriously and the film being boring, but it might be my favorite of the entire genre, and I don’t even like Eric Bana. The whole idea of digging into the science, and open source, and basic math, got me excited. I thought it was a great contemplation on the ways in which the science that fueled the Marvel universe has turned into a cottage industry for corporations. A constant theme in the comic books that the recent wave of movies completely ignores. Here’s the moment that sealed it for me: https://vimeo.com/56139833

    Comic booky, but good. Also, I love the way Ang Lee thought about the aesthetic of comic books with his 70s approach to split screen, that is an effect completely ignored in favor of the CGI nonsense in the recent waves (old man rant #4life).

    But, and I promise this comment is almost over, the best pound-for-pound comic book film ever made was the only “big budget” film ever made by Mario Bava: Danger: Diabolik. It is a clinic on how to make a compelling comic book movie, so good. And guess what, I even blogged about it!

    http://bavatuesdays.com/danger-diabolik-or-bava-does-good-fumetti/

    Let bavatuesdays promotion in your comments to keep it real 🙂

    • admin says:

      Apologies, Jim I’ve only just seen these comments. Thanks for commenting over here, it’s like being a new blogger all again 🙂
      Guardians was the only superhero movie we’ve liked too. I’ll try Hulk again. They _all_ take themselves too seriously. I criticised Avengers in a cinema Facebook group I’m on – man, those marvel fans are touchy!

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