I 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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