Deadpool is the Donald Trump of Superhero Movies

DeadpoolI saw the movie Deadpool yesterday and I hated it.

Throughout the film I felt alternately annoyed, bored and sad. I think I might have cracked a smile two or three times at some of the dialogue, but otherwise it was just relentlessly depressing. I disliked every single character. I didn’t care what happened to them. I didn’t think the jokes were funny.

I’d say “spoiler alert” here, but I don’t think you can spoil a movie like Deadpool. I could see the ending coming from about the first minute. Nothing that was supposed to be suspenseful felt suspenseful because I knew where it was going. It was so utterly predictable and formulaic that I can’t recall a single thing that happened in the movie I couldn’t anticipate. Maybe some of the nonlinear storytelling stuff was kind of clever. The folks who put the film together have seen Pulp Fiction. I liked Pulp Fiction.

The film starts out with a parody of an opening credits scene in which the producers and other execs behind the film are identified with names like “A. Douchebag” or “Some Asshat.” Or stuff to that effect.

I guess maybe I was supposed to believe some cool edgy counter-culture dudes got to create a mega-budget superhero movie and used the opportunity to make a statement about the folks who run the studios. But I don’t have enough suspension of disbelief to do that. Obviously the movie was made by the same asshats and douchebags that make every big budget Hollywood movie these days. Obviously they approved of being identified that way in the opening credits. It’s not as if anything actually subversive was going on.

Rather it seems that the folks in power in Hollywood — the ones who drive BMWs through red lights in my neighborhood, who live in protected communities up in the hills, who gobble up far more of the limited resources of this city and our world than they actually need, who try their darndest to never allow anything truly creative to get wide public exposure — those people have now decided it’s cool to be perceived as downtrodden outsiders because they see that as the new way to make even more money.

So right from the outset I despised the movie and the people who made it. And it didn’t get any better from there.

A lot of people got killed in the movie. I guess I was supposed to feel all like wooo-hooo!!! every time some “bad guy” got his head sliced off or got disemboweled or got shot a million times. But I didn’t. I felt sad. Sad and kind of grossed out.

I’m not squeamish about movie violence. But I’m not a huge fan either. I’m not one of those who believes that violent entertainment necessarily creates real societal violence. I think that can happen. But I also think you can use violence in art to make a wider statement. That’s not what Deadpool does. It’s just, “The kids like gore! Gore sells! Let’s put in some more gore! Go order us some more fake guts from the fake guts factory!”

The special effects were terrific. Which was also depressing. I used to be a huge fan of special effects. That’s why I spent over a decade working for a company whose stock in trade was special effects. But what I liked about special effects was always the inventiveness and creativity involved much more than whether or not the effect was convincing.

I didn’t care that I could tell King Kong was a model or that Godzilla was a guy in a bulky rubber costume. That was what made them cool. The fact that sometimes the effects failed or looked kind of hokey made it even better. I loved it when you could see the wires or the little blue outlines around people when they were composited into a miniature set. I got off every time I saw the opening of the old Land of the Lost TV show and you could totally tell that the rapids the Marshall family were supposedly rafting down were actually a two-foot wide fake river made of painted Styrofoam.

You never see stuff like that in a movie like Deadpool. Everything is tweeked and fixed and gimmicked up by a special effects staff numbering in the hundreds. They’ve got the world’s most expensive computers and the world’s most expensive programmers to make certain that not a single special effect has even so much as a frame in which it doesn’t look absolutely perfect. And it’s boooooring. There’s no life to it. There’s no rawness. There’s no fun.

Still, I might have been able to just accept that if the attitude of the makers of the movie hadn’t been so smarmy and contemptuous.

I guess viewers of Deadpool are supposed to feel cool and rebellious for liking such a revolutionary movie that turns all the Hollywood clichés on their ears, or something like that. But this is not a movie made by outsiders who wanted to shake up the system. It’s a movie made by the System itself, trying to subvert the rebelliousness lots of people feel toward that System into a way to make more money for the System. It’s exactly like when “conservative” politicians get poor people to gleefully vote to have their services taken away so that rich people get even more money.

There’s so much more I hated about Deadpool. I really intensely dislike pretty much the entire American superhero genre and I always have. I can’t sit there thinking, “Gee, I wish I could dismember my enemies just like (Fill-in-the-blank)man does!” Instead I just feel bad for the poor guys that get dismembered. I wonder what led them to a life of crime. I’d rather dismember the people who make big-budget Hollywood superhero movies especially garbage like Deadpool.

(While looking for photos to accompany this piece I found this article by a guy who liked Deadpool for reasons I never even thought of.)

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39 Responses

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  1. sri_barence
    sri_barence February 19, 2016 at 11:04 am |

    Clearly you are not a Deadpool fan. That’s OK; I wasn’t either, until I saw this movie. There are a few things that made it a “good” movie for me. (Not great, but good.)

    1. The studio actually made a Deadpool movie, not a “Marvel Superhero movie.” This is why the opening titles are so sarcastic. They weren’t written to make the movie look cool; they were “written by Deadpool himself,” to show the contempt he has for the formula crap that studios often put out. In the comics, Deadpool is aware that he is a fictional comic book character, and he often makes snide comments about the writing and art, and so forth.

    2. The movie is R-rated, so we can see Deadpool behaving the way he is supposed to behave. Wade Wilson (Deadpool) is not a nice guy. He is a sociopath. He doesn’t like the “X-Men bullshit” that Colossus spouts in his various attempts to convince Deadpool to be a hero. Deadpool doesn’t want to be a hero. He wants to be the “Merc with a mouth” that he already is.

    3. Negasonic Teenage Warhead. Even though the character is nothing like the one from the comics, she still has one of the best names. I like her.

    4. The movie was made for Deadpool fans. There are dozens of little bits that make it fun for fans, like Wade’s request about the super-suit: “Don’t make my super-suit green, or animated.” (Ryan Reynolds played Green Lantern in the awful movie with the green, animated super-suit.)

    5. Of course, Deadpool probably agrees with you about the movie. Deadpool is an asshole, and he knows it. He’s probably waiting for to point out everything wrong with his movie. He’ll probably send them a list of suggestions.

  2. Alan Sailer
    Alan Sailer February 19, 2016 at 11:53 am |

    I have a “mostly from the outside” perspective on the superhero dominance of the movie industry. I watched some of the opening salvos (Batman I/Spiderman I) and found them entertaining but not compelling enough to keep my interest once I left the theater.

    Part of that is because of the special effects. For me, knowing that you can create anything you want by bouncing pixels around makes it kind of pointless. In addition I don’t care how many computers and talented programmers you throw at a scene, reality will always throw something into a live image that you can’t predict. In my opinion the best use of CGI is in the background mode, when it add visual texture to a scene rather than serving as the centerpiece.

    A good example of real vs CGI was the latest Mad Max movie. I had zero interest in seeing the movie when it came out but I kept seeing articles and videos about it on the web. They said that most of the action scenes were based on real cars and not computer generated. This was intriguing to me so I watched the movie and ended up enjoying it quite a bit. I think it looked more real than a typical pure CGI attempt.

    (It also seemed to have a bit more plot than average for an action movie.)

    My more global disquiet about the whole superhero genre is that it seems to feed the core American belief that overwhelming violence is the best way to solve a problem. Drug problems? Kill a few narcos. ISIS? Carpet bomb Syria and Libya.

    When I watch a violent revenge type movie it’s interesting to observe how much it winds me up. I find myself eager for the ugly death of character who I knew nothing about fifteen minutes ago.

    It’s unsettling and my inclination is to avoid it.


  3. Frogger
    Frogger February 19, 2016 at 12:16 pm |

    Well I really enjoyed it and I think everyone who made it did too. But then again I took it for what it was, only a film.

  4. Jinzang
    Jinzang February 19, 2016 at 1:08 pm |

    I saw the trailer and it didn’t look like the kind of film I’m interested in. From the way the trailer looked, it’s aimed at a young male audience. You should have seen the Coen brothers’ new film, Hail Ceasar! I think you would have liked it better.

    1. Khru 2.0
      Khru 2.0 February 23, 2016 at 6:48 pm |

      Their new movie seems to have a similar premis as their great, “The Big Lebowski,” which is one of the greatest 90’s movies in many peoples’ opinion. Especially for the Pop-Zennists. “The Dude abides…”

  5. tysondav
    tysondav February 19, 2016 at 1:44 pm |

    Brad, like Deadpool, you probably hate puppies and rainbows too. This movie was fantastic. It really captured the essence of the comic. Most comic book movies you can nitpick over certain things. There isn’t really much to nitpick in Deadpool.

    You are in the extreme minority in your opinion. Most people loved it.

  6. Dogen
    Dogen February 19, 2016 at 1:59 pm |

    I liked it. Thought it was a refreshing departure for a Marvel character to not be sooo serious.

    Rather it seems that the folks in power in Hollywood — the ones who drive BMWs through red lights in my neighborhood, who live in protected communities up in the hills, who gobble up far more of the limited resources of this city and our world than they actually need, who try their darndest to never allow anything truly creative to get wide public exposure…


    They’re trying their darnedest to make money obviously. There is less risk in following a formula. They are not trying to inhibit creativity.

  7. The Grand Canyon
    The Grand Canyon February 19, 2016 at 2:13 pm |

    I liked the original movie and I probably won’t see this remake because it looks like they made a lot of unnecessary and ridiculous changes. Dirty Harry would never wear spandex.

  8. Ealasaid
    Ealasaid February 19, 2016 at 3:23 pm |

    Brad – I’m really curious why you went to see it.

    No, seriously. I moonlight as a movie reviewer, and one of my goals when I’m writing is to prevent experiences like you describe above.

    I’m not going to get all aggro at you or anybody else who doesn’t like Deadpool. I don’t think less of y’all for having different taste than I do. 🙂 I just want to understand so my reviews can be better.

  9. ericlinuskaplan
    ericlinuskaplan February 19, 2016 at 3:43 pm |

    Why don’t you write down the license plate of whoever is driving through the red light in your neighborhood and report him/her? Also, how do you know they work in the movie industry? That’s awful.

  10. shade
    shade February 19, 2016 at 4:45 pm |

    Apparently high production values and a sharp wit still cover a multitude of artistic sins (or what passes for sharp wit. Sharp wit according to the standards of obnoxious thirteen year old boys).

    “A revolutionary movie that turns all the Hollywood clichés on their ears” is itself a cliche and has been – I was gonna say for at least twenty-five years, but maybe it’s more like seventy-five. Whatever. The point is, that trick can’t sustain a half-baked Saturday Night Live sketch, let alone a full length feature film. But my God, it doesn’t stop anyone from trying, does it?

    That in and of itself is merely tiresome. What’s truly offensive is the degree of lazy cynicism and moral bankruptcy that pervades this kind of shit. And this kind of shit is wildly popular, right? Add violent spectacle to the pot and you’ve got the absolute bottom of the barrel of what contemporary pop culture has to offer. And so much of what contemporary pop culture has to offer comes straight from the bottom of the barrel! It’s depressing as hell. (Just to be clear, I’m not opposed to the depiction of violence in art and cinema. As it happens some of my favorite books, movies, tv shows ect. are terribly violent and often include a heavy dose of gallows humor. My big fat problem is when violence is treated as nothing more than a source of cheap thrills).

    And no, I didn’t actually see this movie. I only caught the preview, which made me nauseous. My deepest apologies if it happens the preview poorly represented the film advertised and Deadpool is not, in fact, the polished turd I assume it to be.

    Otherwise… I really, really hate this kind of shit.

    1. Andy
      Andy February 20, 2016 at 7:10 am |

      What about gratuitous moral posturing?

      I find I get a little reflux when I indulge.

  11. rileyamorgan
    rileyamorgan February 19, 2016 at 6:38 pm |

    It’s funny, I actually agree with your main points, even though I enjoyed the movie.
    I say I liked it, but I would never defend it.
    It’s kind of like how I can appreciate the melodies in a Katy Perry song even though I know the whole thing is a carefully orchestrated product of like 100 suits in a board room.

    1. Mark Foote
      Mark Foote February 19, 2016 at 9:15 pm |
  12. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote February 19, 2016 at 9:33 pm |

    Katy Perry, + Swedish pop mafia.

    I used to request it, ’cause I could dance to it. By myself, yes.

  13. IuseComputers
    IuseComputers February 20, 2016 at 1:44 am |

    Saw the second half of the movie and felt like it was just the right length. The formula for the Marvel comic book movies is getting so boring to me. Even if this movie was more self aware and a bit of a departure it still felt very much the same as the other Marvel films that are being cranked out. Brad’s points make sense to me, I might be turning into a grumpy old man though!

    1. Ealasaid
      Ealasaid February 20, 2016 at 10:00 pm |

      It’s not connected to the Marvel Studios films. Fox owns the film rights to most of The X-Men and related characters. Deadpool is connected to Days of Future Past, not the Avengers. It’s a totally different studio with a very different vision from Feige and Co at Marvel.

      1. IuseComputers
        IuseComputers February 20, 2016 at 10:15 pm |

        Good to know. There were still a few things that reminded me of the string of Marvel movies, which I guess Disney owns now. It is good to have other studios in the mix for sure.

  14. Wedged
    Wedged February 20, 2016 at 5:06 pm |

    weird, man. i loved it. i was very surprised to read this because it confirms this weird movement happening. what normally irritates me is the okness to have extreme violence in tv or movies, just don’t show a female nipple (male nipples are ok). I was just emailing a friend of mine about this earlier this week on this very subject. i work with an uber christian who took his elder kid and wife. i was literally shocked. and i had the same link to Trump. in my email i said that Deadpool being a MASSIVE hit is similar to why trump is huge, Trump tapping into similar vibe. if uber “christians” are telling me they are so sick of PC BS and totally cool with an extremely violent movie…i don’t know, end of times is near. i’m Canadian, so this isn’t limited to America. although, for the love of every human in the world..keep Trump out. holy scary times. he’s inching more and more to the front line. every insane thing he says pushes him closer. Just get Clinton in.

    If i’m the opposite of a red neck, bible thumping, non censorship loving, liberal, Buddhist…why do i also like Deadpool?

  15. f-clops
    f-clops February 20, 2016 at 5:40 pm |

    Yeah right, Deadpool was awesome.

  16. Harlan
    Harlan February 20, 2016 at 10:00 pm |

    Just get Clinton in? Now there is a good idea. The first person I heard of that thought having a new BMW was indispensable was Zen Master Richard Baker back when movie big shots were still driving Cadillacs. This was way before Richard married Her Grand Ducal Highness Princess Marie Louise Elisabeth Mathilde Theodora Cecilie Sarah Charlotte of Baden, daughter of Maximilian, Margrave of Baden and wife Archduchess Valerie of Austria. I guess Baker is the Donald Trump of Zen Masters.

    1. The Grand Canyon
      The Grand Canyon February 21, 2016 at 7:45 am |

      Is Brad the Martin O’Malley of Zen Masters?

    2. Dogen
      Dogen February 22, 2016 at 1:17 pm |

      Too bad Angle City Z didn’t get off the ground. Brad would be cruising like a gangsta by now.

  17. Khru 2.0
    Khru 2.0 February 22, 2016 at 3:38 pm |

    I’ve never read a more bitchy bitchfest on a comment thread before. Some of you need to go eat an extra-large bagful of prunes so you’ll feel better. And this is why this thread is the worst of all time.

    1. Shinchan Ohara
      Shinchan Ohara February 22, 2016 at 5:41 pm |
    2. Khru 2.0
      Khru 2.0 February 23, 2016 at 1:35 pm |

      Shut your yap, Khru. YOU are the biggest whiner around here so enough of your silly bullcrap. Even I’m getting tired of you.

  18. Michel
    Michel February 23, 2016 at 4:19 am |

    Wedge: it tells a lot of American society that murder should be alright but not sex…

  19. shade
    shade February 23, 2016 at 2:01 pm |

    Far as I can tell there’s no lack of sex in American movies and television these days. True, female nipples are out on network television, I think (also smoking, apparently; though mutilation, torture and cannibalism are all kosher… so yeah, something weird going on in the standards and practices department). But they more than make up for it on cable. Plenty of nipples of all varieties to be found there. Or any other part you might be interested in, for that matter.

  20. Kickfist
    Kickfist March 3, 2016 at 12:02 pm |

    What a great movie! After reading Brad’s review I knew it must be good. And it was.

  21. YourGayFather
    YourGayFather April 5, 2016 at 1:28 pm |

    I was a deadpool fan before I saw the movie, and I hated the movie.

    Swears weren’t casual. Every swear word spoken sounded like it was said by a 12 year old boy who swears just because he wants his friends to think he’s cool.

    Every joke was predictable. I was kind of hoping that Deadpool and his girlfriend didn’t get back together, in the comic book she was a teenager and he was a grown man. So I thought in the movie he was going to leave her because dating a teenager is fuckin gross id you’re a grown up.

    Also, I always pictured him acting how the way he is because he is schizophrenic in the comics. Not because he’s an obnoxious, rude-ass sociopath.

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