Full disclosure: I’m from Vancouver. They shot the movie here. I went in wanting to love this movie.
So, Deadpool came out on Friday. I went and caught the early show, figuring it would get packed closer to the evening. The theatre was about half-full.
Long story short:
- First third: awesome.
- Second third: kinda slow
- Last third: satisfactory conclusion
The opening scene to the movie is most likely the best part. From the credits through the use of soundtrack (Juice Newton’s gonna be surprised!), the movie hits every point a comic book movie needs in order to keep the audience through to the rest of the film.
Just let this play while reading.
What I found unique is that, because they assume about half the people are already read up on deadpool before going, they put the origin story (for the most part) in the middle. So you start with action, then get the exposition and character development, and then get a conclusio to the whole story. If they had pieced this together chronologically, it might have sucked, but shifting the tradition a bit helped make this movie work.
I think the thing that sticks out to me is how the movie was shot. For those who don’t know, Ryan Reynolds is a homer – he loves Vancouver, and it loves him right back. From the time he shot Van Wilder out at one of my alma maters – UBC – Vancouver will forgive him his missteps because it knows he does far more good than bad. Plus, he brings jobs and exposure to the local industry. Kind of like Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg; they’ve made a couple of duds, but then they shot “The Interview” here and all was forgiven & forgotten.
Everyone knows the story about how Deadpool had a tight budget, and shot as much as they could up in Vancouver and then CGI’d other shots into the sequences. You get a lot of bang for your buck when each dollar you spend gets an extra 40 cents added on. For example, the big freeway fight scene was mostly shot in downtown Vancouver, but because we lack the overpasses, they FX’d in the additional lanes. No muss; no fuss.
They closed a major bridge into downtown for 10 days, like it was no big deal. FYI: BC Lions play in the left stadium; Ice Liouns play in the right.
If you’re from here, you recognize the locations and architecture. Most people, if they look hard enough, can spot this as a Vancouver-shot movie. It’s not as bad as “Rumble In the Bronx”, where Jackie Chan fights bad guys in the shadow of NYC’s mountains, but you can tell if you’re looking. For the most part, it works, so why bother? Hell, in one of the key plot scenes, they turned our most famous strip club – the No.5 Orange – into an actual location in the movie; they even kept the name. They sure did clean up the alley, though.
[Fun fact: one of my former students is the No.5’s DJ, and thanks to his SAG card is in the movie!]
Even the X-Men location tie-in came relatively cheap, since the “Xavier School” is actually a provincial landmark called Hatley Castle, a 90 minute ferry ride away in Victoria. And (spoiler) while he’s not in the movie, they sure do have some fun at Hugh Jackman’s expense.
This movie isn’t just a sausage-fest. The female roles have great weight. When it comes to the action, both Gina Carano (Angel) and Brianna Hildebrand (Negasonic) play their roles straight-up, and Morena Baccarin is fantastic & fantastic looking in the movie. If he wasn’t already married to Blake Lively, she and Ryan Reynolds would make very beautiful babies.
The “R” rating helps. The swearing seems mostly natural to the settings, but not like they took Tarantino dialogue and threw it into a superhero movie. In other movies of the genre, it usually seems more awkward when a character in an X-Men fight scene doesn’t swear. Plus, the rating allows them to be more graphic & direct with the double-entendres. You see actual breasts in the strip club! Reynolds butt, for the ladies! Not having to write around a PG-13 rating let more creative control go into the action. The violence is actually violent. You see brains, and flesh, and bodily fluids, in their proper context.
Most people know if they are going to want to see this movie. As a guy who owns even the Jessica Alba “Fantastic Four” movies on DVD, I was in the can for this movie from the start. Plus, I’m a homer for supporting the local kid, because films like this help keep people I know employed. I accept there’s a confirmation bias in my watching this movie, but I think I can be objective.
Viewability scale: (Theatre-full price / Theatre-half-price / Stream / Wait for TV / Nope / Eye Cancer)
If you’ve seen most of the Marvel Universe (to this point) on the big screen, you owe it to yourself to see this there as well. It will show very nicely on Netflix, but seeing it large makes a difference. That’s what tips me over to that one side. If you wait to see it on TV, there’s about 20 minutes that are going to have to be cut, and lots of dubbing for language.
Next review: I dunno; whenever I feel like going next. Since I’m not a paid shill and #UpForWhatever, I can pick & choose, or just not go if nothing catches my interest. That might be more damning.