After countless attempts to bring fan favourite character Deadpool to the big screen, including a supposed appearance in the laughably atrocious X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), 2016 finally gave us the much anticipated Deadpool. Boasting ‘Deadpoolian’ advertising, and a Valentine’s day release, the public was foaming at the mouth for the fourth wall breaking, foul mouthed antics of Wade Wilson. And what did we get? A fairly basic, bare bones story, with sexual humour ripped from bad late 90s comedies, and fourth wall breaks so blatant and in your face, that I’m surprised the television screen doesn’t crack.
With fan out cry, and test footage ‘accidentally’ leaked to the internet, the final product fell to the hands of Tim Miller as director, making his feature length debut, and starring Ryan Reynolds (Green Lantern (2011)), as the loud mouth, womanising, hit man for hire Wade Wilson, turned anti-hero vigilante, Deadpool, Morena Baccarin (Homeland (2011-2013)), Wade’s stripper girlfriend, Vanessa, and T.J. Miller (Big Hero 6 (2014)), Wade’s closest friend, and barkeep, Weasel. Deadpool, based on the Marvel Comics character, follows Wade Wilson, after meeting Vanessa, and starting a long, very sexually charged relationship, Wade discovers he has inoperable cancer, and in an effort to cure himself, becomes willingly part of a mad man’s experiments in order to save himself. Now armed with an unlimited healing factor, but a face heavily scared and nowhere near the good looks he prides himself upon, Wade sets out on a quest to make himself ‘Hot Again’, and win back the heart of Vanessa, who already thinks he is dead. Wade’s quest, while entirely vain and self-centred, is presented as his only on going purpose, putting into question exactly what it is he intends to do post film, happily lending itself open to the inevitable array of sequels Fox will inevitably produce just to milk its new cash cow. Most likely presenting the same, soon to be tired, sexual innuendos and fourth wall breaks, that will become the soon to be franchises entire identity.
While I’m not saying sexual humour and fourth wall breaks are a bad thing, far from it, when used correctly and in the right situation, they can be downright hilarious, even after multiple viewings. Take, for example, American Pie (1999), a film I still can’t bring myself to like even 11 years after my initial viewing, the films constant use of sexual humour works, because that is what the film is about. It works, because the situations and characters are obsessed with sex, and the goal of the film is them losing their virginities, they help to further the story. The horrible, downright atrocious story. However, with the likes of Deadpool, I find myself groaning more than laughing, wishing he would just shut up already about how much he wants to sleep with his girlfriend. I get that Wade is a shallow guy, but please just shut the hell up and give me some actual god damn humour. Granted, the film does have its genuinely funny moments and one liners, I can’t count the number of times I’ve used the line “All the Dinosaurs feared the mighty T-Rex!”, but on a second viewing, they significantly lose their impact, making the film more of a bore to sit through then genuinely entertaining. The use of fourth wall breaks, while a staple of Deadpool as a character, becomes easily annoying by the films end, and while they can be effective, downright hilarious if used at the right time, see Spaceballs (1987) or Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975). Here, it comes off as someone beating you in the head repeating the phrase, “Hey! I’m in a movie! I know you’re watching me. Isn’t that funny!?”, by the end, I feel like Alex DeLarge, being strapped into a chair and repeatedly beaten over the head with the remains of several 4th walls.
Tiring by the end of initial viewing, and downright boring on multiple viewings, Deadpool is surely a divisive film. If crude humour and excessive in film jokes are your thing, then go ahead and enjoy it. If not, you’re honestly not missing much.