Volume 97 Issue 7 A&E

‘Deadpool’ features bawdy humor; breaks fourth wall

by Caleb Hartung

I doubt that anyone reading this is questioning whether or not “Deadpool” is good, but I’ll say it again because this movie cannot be understated. True to its fourth-wall-breaking roots, “Deadpool” is a hilarious comedy with enough satisfying action to redeem Ryan Reynolds’ first attempt with the character.

The first thing that probably turned you towards this movie are the trailers, which are fantastic in and of themselves. This movie’s trailers are actually some of the best I have seen because they accurately portray the feel and style of the movie (especially the red-band). The bloody overpass scene teased in the red-band trailer gave just enough to let its future audience know what would be gracing their eyes come Valentine’s Day. I was also pleased to see that the most prominent jokes in the trailers were not even close to the best the movie had to offer (which is, unfortunately, a trend seen far too often with comedies).

There aren’t too many reasons why I would steer someone away from “Deadpool,” but its extreme crudeness could be a problem for some. If you’re unsure whether or not that applies to you, look up the red-band trailer. If you’re uncomfortable with hearing about certain fleshy fruits engaging in questionable acts, you might want to take a pass on this one. Also, if you are one to turn down listening to DMX because of the parental advisory sticker, that would be another good indication to steer clear.

So yes, the movie is crude to the max. That is what makes it awesome. I was expecting some level of obscenity since it seems to be a staple of modern comedy movies, but nothing near what this movie takes it to. Some comedies feature off-color remarks that are thrown in for shock value. In “Deadpool,” the bawdiness is pervasive and, more importantly, never gets old.

The jokes can fall into a few categories, mostly sex, violence and references to pop culture. On paper, this does not sound like much. I was fully expecting for them to feel one-note and fall flat about an hour into the run time. This is not the case. The writers should be given some kind of medal for the way they seem to keep things fresh from start to finish. There were very few moments where I and the people around me were not bursting out in laughter. In fact, somewhere around three-quarters in, there was a stretch of about ten minutes where I absolutely could not stop snickering.

Another aspect of the comedy is the fact that it treats the fourth wall as if it was completely transparent. I realize the term “fourth wall” might not be familiar to some, and it is essential to understand it in order to get some of the best quips in the film. I’ll break it down for you. Imagine a room. This room is being filmed. How many walls are in a room? Yep, four. Why can you only see three? That’s right. One of them is the camera. Good job, reader.

This is one of the things that makes the character of Deadpool so unique. I am no expert on the comics, but a little bit of background might help to grasp all that is going on in the film. Originally, Wade Wilson was created as a Marvel parody/knockoff of DC’s Slade Wilson—a scarred mercenary by the name of Deathstroke. Marvel took the character to new heights when they made Deadpool aware that he was in a comic book, addressing comic tropes, the reader and himself. Just like the comic character, Wade has full comprehension that he is in a movie and capitalizes on it brilliantly. The movie makes this perfectly clear within seconds, as it provides the most self-aware and hilarious opening credits sequence I have ever seen.

As a cinema-lover, this particular film has a special appeal to me because of its absurd number of movie references. It mocks Liam Neeson in “Taken,” does a TLDR version of “127 Hours,” and pays homage to one of the first (and best) after-credits sequences ever made. This should go without saying since this is a superhero movie, but staying after the credits is an absolute must for this film.

Also, if you’re familiar with “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” you’ll know that this actually isn’t the first movie where Ryan Reynolds portrays the Merc with a Mouth. In this imagining of Deadpool, he is actually a piecemeal knockoff of several X-Men. He can’t even live up to his nickname because his mouth was sewn shut. Seriously, who thought that was a good idea? Since his character is fully self-aware, Reynolds makes numerous jabs at the absolute flop, even showcasing an action figure of himself at one point.

As a fitting apology to the horrendous debut of the character, “Deadpool” is the exact opposite of a flop. Critics predicted that it would absolutely fail during opening weekend, since all of the previous best superhero movies like “The Avengers” and “The Dark Knight” are rated PG-13. There have been other R-rated superhero movies (“Blade,” “Watchmen”), but none have even come close to being the most successful of the genre. True to its form, “Deadpool” decided those rules did not apply and absolutely smashed its critic’s predictions. It ended up grossing over $132 million on its opening weekend—the biggest R-rated opening weekend ever. Maybe this will allow the studio to put in more X-Men in the sequel.

To sum it up, “Deadpool” is a bloody funny movie. Wait, did the editors forget to put a comma there? Great, now it looks like I’m some pretentious tool pretending to be British. It provides enough solid action sequences to call itself a proper superhero flick while providing gut-wrenching laughter to stand among some of the best comedies to date.

Categories: Volume 97 Issue 7 A&E

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