Deadpool 2: A Film So Meta It is Its Own Review

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Deadpool 2: A Film So Meta It is Its Own Review

Illustration: Sushant Ahire

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ometime last year, an executive at Fox was probably stealing ideas from an intern when he came up with a brilliant one all by himself – “What if, instead of getting people to review our movies through boring articles and rotten tomatoes, we review them through full-length features?” It was this epiphany that presumably prompted the scripting of Deadpool 2 – a movie so self-referential, so self-aware, and so full of snark, it’s basically reviewing itself, and all the millions of superhero movies that preceded it.

The sequel to 2016’s Deadpool continues with the “meta” delivery template set by the previous film. It is a brilliant tool because it can make you laugh at Hollywood’s general decade-long obsession with superhero movies, while you sit through, yet another superhero movie. Even if you are the kind of person who despises watching comic-book characters brought to life on the big screen, you’ll find it hard to criticise the movie for anything Deadpool doesn’t criticise himself. No commentator is going to accuse the film of lazy writing (and it isn’t), because in one scene Ryan Reynolds – who co-wrote the movie – calls it that himself. It’s the best aversion tactic since Patanjali started making condoms.

Deadpool 2 is like that large kid from school, who was constantly bullied for his size, until he started laughing along and ended up getting a loveable nickname like “Bada Bhai”. Before you can groan about an upcoming CGI fight sequence, Ryan Reynolds has already told you how lame it’s going to be. Comic-book fans don’t have to look extra hard for loopholes; Deadpool will look into the camera and tell you what they are, quite unapologetically.

In an hour and a half, Deadpool manages to make fun of several Marvel superheroes, the entire DC Universe, the people who make all these movies, and the viewers. He calls Hawkeye a useless guy with a bow and arrow, he jokes about how the production house always gives him the worst X-Men to star in his movie. He doesn’t even spare the artist who drew the original Deadpool cartoon, calling him the “guy who can’t draw feet”.

Deadpool 2 is like that large kid from school, who was constantly bullied for his size, until he started laughing along and ended up getting a loveable nickname like “Bada Bhai”.

In one scene, Ryan Reynolds asks Cable – the “old fuck with Winter Soldier arm” – if he’s actually from the DC Universe because Cable has just stabbed him in the neck. In another, he calls him Thanos, since Josh Brolin plays both the roles.

The film is not without its share of socio-political commentary. And in yet another sequence, he references the #MeToo moment, when he says, “So many old white men in this room, I forgot to carry my rape whistle.” Deadpool is tasked with taking care of a teenage mutant New Zealander, who indicates that he’s too fat to be a superhero. Toward the end, he hilariously calls the X-Men, X-People, a much more “politically correct” term.

Before you can groan about an upcoming CGI fight sequence, Ryan Reynolds has already told you how lame it’s going to be.

Image Credits: Marvel entertainment

The last movie set in the Marvel Universe was the Shakespearean tragedy known as Avengers: Infinity War. The movie had the same plot as Dan Brown’s Inferno, but was through the story of a large man with a glove covered in gems. How literary, the executives must have thought, let’s make sure it’s two hours too long, and way too dramatic, we’re sure kids will love this. Then once the movie was over, and everyone had died, people suddenly remembered that Marvel could just time travel its way out of any predicament and began feeling a little shortchanged.

It’s hard to pinpoint when exactly superhero movies went from being fun movies that children could enjoy, to intense spectacles that cost millions of dollars to produce, but over the last two years the obsession has peaked. Every time a new trailer comes out, the internet goes wild dissecting it in the quest for the elusive Easter egg. Avengers: Infinity War set a record for most trailer views in a single day (200 million in 24 hours), and sparked hours of discussion over whether random fans on the internet thought they had caught a glimpse of their favourite superhero. The favourite superhero will no doubt be a character with an unremarkable name who made a guest appearance in two of the 6,000 issues of the comic series, but will be argued about for days on end, until all opinions on the true origin story have been put forth. I love superhero movies as much as the next person, but even I have to admit that it’s a little ridiculous to put in that much effort, when you’re talking about a movie about some people in spandex.

As Oscar-winning Alejandro Iñárritu says, “I sometimes enjoy them because they are basic and simple and go well with popcorn. The problem is that sometimes they purport to be profound, based on some Greek mythological kind of thing.”

Deadpool 2 acts as a reminder of how absurd this obsession with comic book superheroes is. On the face of it, it might be a hilarious action flick with some attractive people, but it’s actually a movie so meta, it is its own movie review.

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