Man, oh man, was Deadpool a helluva good time. Action-packed, irreverent, wildly inappropriate in places, and hilarious. (I actually almost choked on my soda after a particularly poorly-timed sip.) It was also impressively intelligent about some things (1).
Deadpool drew carefully upon comics canon to construct an origin story for the beloved Merc with a Mouth, employing an attention to detail that resulted in what could be considered the single most faithful comic character adaptation ever committed to celluloid (2). It was pretty much exactly what I was expecting from a Deadpool movie.
For that reason, I wasn’t as concerned with some of the problematic elements as I might have been had they appeared in a different context. Yes, there were some references to rape and child abuse that could be triggering for some viewers. Yes, the question of Deadpool’s sexuality could have been handled more forcefully (3). And yes, Deadpool made several off-color comments about an assortment of minorities. But that’s what I expect from Deadpool, to be perfectly honest. Wade Wilson, after all, is not a nice person, and he spends much of his time with other people who are not very nice either. You don’t expect to find much social awareness in the circles this movie had its characters moving in. So even though there were a few groaners in the string of sick jokes that peppered the film’s dialogue, they didn’t really upset me in this context. I know some viewers may feel very differently.
The only element of the film that had me mildly side-eyeing it was the treatment of one of the film’s major race-bent characters, Blind Al. In bending the character from white to black, the filmmakers also seem to have bent her implied origin story from former intelligence operative to former drug addict, which smacks of unconscious racism. However, there was a subtle nod to the notion that Al may be more than what she seems, so I’m hopeful that the sequel will expand upon her backstory a bit and move the character away from the stereotypical mold she seems to have been cast from.
Otherwise, I have no real complaints. The film was a blast. Viva la chimichanga.
1) I particularly appreciated the nuanced and thoughtful consideration of what a terminal illness does to a person and their loved ones. In fact, there was a line of dialogue that made me tear up a little bit because it was so accurate.
2) So said my friend B. after our viewing, and he’s absolutely right.
3) The references to Deadpool’s varied sexual experiences and desires aside, the film nevertheless fit neatly into a heteronormative romantic framework. In fairness, however, this framework was true to the canonical relationship between Wade Wilson and Vanessa Carlysle (a.k.a. Copycat). But I can understand why lgbtq fans might feel a bit cheated after the major campaigning the filmmakers did on the notion of pansexuality.