Our resident proud comic nerd Kate McCabe was proper excited about Deadpool the movie. Did it kick ass?
In the late 80s, Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza created him for Marvel’s The New Mutants (an X-Men spin-off title). Liefeld, kind of famous within the industry for lacking originality in his designs, drew up what was, more or less, a carbon copy of competing comic book publisher DC’s mercenary antihero character Deathstroke.
Writer Nicieza recognised the swipe immediately and jokingly suggested they may as well make the character’s civilian name Wade Wilson (Deathstroke’s is Slade Wilson). And darn it, if that’s not just what they went and did! Deadpool even started out, like Deathstroke, as more of a grim and serious sort. Mercifully, it wasn’t long before he was rewritten as a parody character.
In fact, more than just parody. As ‘The Merc with the Mouth’, Deadpool is the Bugs Bunny of the Marvel universe. He’s a comic book character who knows he’s in a comic; he’s able to shatter fourth walls with a single blow, and he provides a machine-gun fire of snark everywhere he goes. What’s not to like? He’s fun to be around.
Is it reinventing the wheel? No, in a way that mirrors his origin, it’s not. Unless people are willing to forget about the existence of Kick-Ass, The Mask, and Scott Pilgrim Vs the World, we can safely say someone else got to the idea of ‘outrageously satirical comic movie’ first. Still, it’s worth noting that this is Marvel’s first R-rated film since Blade II, so it does stretch the boundaries more than any of its self-aware predecessors. It’s also the only Marvel movie where Stan Lee’s compulsory cameo takes place in a strip joint.
I wondered if this film was ONLY going to appeal to comic nerds. After all, Deadpool is hardly a household name. So, I took my friend Vicki to see it with me. Vicki had a vague interest in the film thanks to the production’s absolutely exhausting media campaign (I mean, really, kudos guys). As we were travelling up the escalator to the screening, I asked Vicki if she had any idea who Deadpool was. She said that she THOUGHT he might be in the same realm as Wolverine. *ding ding ding*
However, the reason she knew this was because an ex-boyfriend had a Lego set that included Wolverine, Deadpool and a helicopter. She made the connections. Her knowledge wasn’t deep on the subject.
I asked Vicki, my ‘regular gal’ test subject, what she liked about the film and what she didn’t. Her chief complaints:
• ANOTHER SUPERHERO ORIGIN STORY?
• It’s a bit gross and stabby
• She didn’t care about the extra superhero cameos because she had no idea who they were
• Maybe too many dick jokes?
• Didn’t like it as much as Guardians of the Galaxy.
Her chief compliments:
• It was funny
• The opening credits are brilliant
• The women in the film are not helpless
• Ryan Reynolds
• Liked it more than Ant-Man.
She would give the film 6.5 out of 10, but said she had a nice time. (I gave her my number and told her to “call me”. I’ll let you guys know if I get a second date.)
To add balance to Vicki’s viewpoint, I asked my enthusiastic comic-loving friend Darryl what he thought. He loved everything: 9/10.
I’m also happy to report that even if it doesn’t feel like quite the goosing of the genre it might have been had it arrived 10 years ago, the gags come thick and fast. Reynolds is perfect in the role. The whole production takes the meta feel of the comic and does it real justice. I even thought about writing this review in a ‘self-aware/breaking the fourth wall’ Deadpool fashion:
I am a review. I wonder how many words I am at this point. Is my slant showing? Hey, are you reading this while you’re at work? Cool. Crap, your boss is here. Minimise! Minimise the screen!
I should probably leave it to the cartoon characters…4422 Views
Kate McCabe is an American comic living in Manchester. When not gigging as a standup, she improvises with ComedySportz Manchester, and contributes to local TV and radio including The Gay Agenda on Fab Radio.