Tuesday, February 16, 2016

This Is Your Generation’s Blazing Saddles, or Thoughts on Deadpool

I gotta be honest with you, even after Blade Trinity (2004) I still confused Ryan Williams with Seann William Scott.  They have similar features and personas and always end up playing the same role, the wisecracking handsome best friend wingman.  I’ve see most of the X-Men movies and really loved the cartoon in the 90’s but much like Sin City (2004) or 300 (2006), I learned about the comic Deadpool from the movie adaptation.  This meant I was able to see Deadpool (2016) without any character investment or preconceived judgements.  The producers didn’t need to worry about me being disappointed in Ryan Reynold’s portrayal because I really didn’t have any idea who this Deadpool character was. 
The tone and attitude of the movie is immediately set with the slow motion bullet time opening sequence over Juice Newton’s Angel in the Morning.  Carried along by the audience, I started laughing at the self-referential credits, Produced by ASSHATS and Directed by AN OVERPAID TOOL.  Deadpool was actually directed by Tim Miller, who did the opening sequence for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2011), which I remember being impressed with.
Ryan Reynolds, so much better in this movie than Green Lantern (2011), now owns this character in the same sense that Hugh Jackman will always be Wolverine, or Johnny Depp and Captain Jack Sparrow, Sean Connery and James Bond or Marlon Brando and the Godfather.  This is not necessarily a good thing for a working actor, I can mention William Shatner and you will immediately do a Captain Kirk impression.
Deadpool has been described as Bugs Bunny with guns but I found it actually more like a Marx Brothers movie.  Groucho, Chico and Harpo were pioneers in that self-referential, 4th wall, introduction of chaos humor and essentially created that uniquely American style of comedy and cinema.  No, this isn’t Bugs Bunny, this is Blazing Saddles (1974), another game changing movie that breathed life into a tired, oversaturated genre and appealed to an audience that was unaware that it was even disillusioned or looking for a hero like this one.  The overwhelming box office success of this movie guarantees that the superhero genre will now be pushed in this direction, for better or for worse.
The Matrix-style fighting and gymnastic wire work looked cool but ultimately has no real dramatic impact if a character is invulnerable and heals immediately.  We’ve come to expect a certain level of fighting competence in our movie heroes, and Deadpool doesn't disappoint, he just doesn't impress.  But then again, you’re not going to this movie expecting to see The Raid: Redemption (2011).   What sold movie for me was Ryan Reynolds’ narration and performance; he was able to involve the viewer in the movie in a far more intimate way than any found footage or shaky camera ever has.
It’s always a treat to see Morena Baccarin, who has had such a great career since Inara Serra with starring roles in Gotham and Homeland.  I also enjoyed her performance as the Visitor Queen in the V remake (2009) even though I technically hate remakes.  Make a note of Brianna Hildebrand, who steals every scene she's in as the sullen Negasonic Teenage Warhead, my new favorite X-Men, unless they ever bring back Jubilee and Karin Soni as Dopinder the cabdriver, who you may know from the Yahoo series Other Space (but i bet you don't).
And Gina Carano as Angel Dust, who I will now be forever confusing with Rhonda Rousey.


my first novel? thanks for asking:) I wrote a 4 book supernatural martial arts series concerning the ongoing feud between a group of kung-fu killer witches in san francsico’s chinatown.