The beauty of “Deadpool” is in the irony of its existence..and even further in its notion of success which it rightfully earned. It should have not happened like this…but it did. “Deadpool” is not a great movie but it hit it just right. It works because it loves what it is. It is both snarky and unbelievably honest. The script has faults and the third act is fairly weak but Ryan Reynolds is a force of will where this character is concerned because he knows the thoughts of Wade Wilson in and out. It is about making fun of your own shortcomings. And that shows why Ryan is ultimately awesome and unbelievable deserving of this. Like “Guardians Of The Galaxy” which paved the way for this film, it is that bursting heart and its paradox that drives it. The opening title sequence perfectly encapsulates this the longer you think about it. “Angel Of The Morning” by Juice Newton is the most unexpected choice but so perfect with these images of death in still life. Deadpool is the harbinger of death but yet the song talks about leaving against your better will. That is what Wade has to do. If you think about it, the same can be true in other Marvel properties. It permeates with Tony Stark & Pepper Potts. When Tony’s place is destroyed in “Iron Man 3”, what resonates is Pepper screaming for him against her better sense. But here the love story despite the action package is utterly front and center in the story. Deadpool as a force of nature plays against it breaking the 4th wall. But, in a sense of reality, it is all that matters. And that is perhaps what Hollywood doesn’t understand about the success. The reason “Deadpool” bashed records this past weekend is simple. The love story. It crossed genders and age brackets. As dysfunctional as it is, love drives everything here. Wade Wilson is an asshole before for sure. But so was Han Solo. So is Starlord. That is why we like them as guys and the girls fall for them. Because there is always redemption. And that is an attractive story to tell.
The meta thing is simply a device to show how human Wade wants to be. He loves Wham and Voltron and he falls for a prostitute who is a hell of a woman. The story itself, if you look at it, is such a bunch of tropes that it seems to be making fun of itself yet beyond Deadpool himself, the story mechanics are not really that clever. Again the irony of it lies in its reality. Granted this was done for half or less of what these films usually cost. Oddly enough, in more ways than one, “Deadpool” to a lesser extent, reminds me of early 90s superhero movies before they became big. Dolph Lungren as The Punisher for example. The films of Cannon. There is a purity in them despite obvious production shortcomings.
Beyond these points, you have to examine the underdog nature of what the film is as well. Having met Ryan Reynolds over the years for various movies, including “Green Lantern”…even that movie (which didn’t connect with audiences), he was so earnest in trying to make it whatever it could be. But what people need to always remember is that this was the guy who made “Van Wilder” and “Waiting” (with Chris Pratt’s better half Anna Faris who herself is a force of nature if she ever got the right breakout role). Ryan made it happen. I remember also doing interviews for “Wolverine: Origins” where Deadpool was introduced. The fact that he could come back and make that character new again is 1000 to 1 shot if not more. At the time, I though Taylor Kitsch was the one going to break out as Gambit because there was a bad-ass movie in there. Channing Tatum doesn’t have that same danger that Kitsch had then. Reynolds, apparent in the movie right before this [“Mississippi Burning”], found that right groove. Whoever leaked that test footage, whoever planned it, nailed it right and thereby created Hollywood lore. Wonderful to see. Don’t explain why it happened. Just be glad it did. Love, being yourself and going for broke conquers all. Especially with Morena Baccarin. Period. Deadpool is laughing for all of us.
By Tim Wassberg