Genre: Action/Dark Comedy (Hard R)
Screenplay by: Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick
Draft Date: April 12, 2010
Now, I’ve admittedly had this script for about 5 or 6 years, ever since it leaked in late 2011 when the films development was being on hold, indefinitely it seemed liked. But when the test footage leaked last year, it peaked my interests in the movie and so, I decided to finally read the script.
Now we all know the trouble that Deadpool has gone through trying to successfully make a movie, the fan favorite got the bad end of a raw deal in the 2009 classic X-Men Origins: Wolverine, the treatment he received outrage fanboys and fangirls alike. So much in fact that it halted Fox’s development on the big screen adaption of the character.
Finally, in mid-2014 leaked test footage of what would have been the aforementioned Deadpool movie, found its way onto the internet and all forms of social media. The footage received acclaimed from fans and with Fox and Ryan Reynolds both taken a keen interest in its popularity and reception, the decision was made to finally fast tracked the films production and just recently we received a full trailer giving us a glimpses at the movie that comic book lovers have always wanted to see.
Now even from the beginning of production back in 2009 the script for Deadpool was one of those rare pieces of studio IP scripts that received unanimous acclaim from nearly everyone that read it. Zombieland writers Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick who are admittedly, giant fans of the character, were praised at being extremely faithful to the source material and adapting the merc with a mouth.
And I gotta say, this script kicks all kinds of ass. That isn’t to say it’s perfect, because it isn’t (no script is…well there are few that are), but this scripts is really less of a comic book movie and more of an action/dark comedy. Like if The Bourne Identity and 21 Jump Street had a love child, that’s the best way I can describe it.
The script tells the story, in a much appreciated albeit at times confusing non-linear structure, of former government solider turned mercenary Wade Wilson, who is living a happy life with his girlfriend Vanessa. However, Wade’s world goes topsey turvey when he is diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. After failed attempts to treat the cancer (including a hilarious gag that involves a Mexican clinic), Wade is on the verge of giving up, when he is approach by a mysterious recruiter who tells Wade that he can fix his cancer and even turn Wade into a super hero.
But things aren’t all as they seem and Wade is betrayed and force to endure horrible torturers. After escaping, he begins to exact his revenge on the men that did him wrong and ruined his life.
Now there are a lot of things that the script does right, for starters it opens with a bang and then never really lets up, we stop a few times to catch up with plot, but for the most part it’s a nonstop action and hard laughs all the way through, for the entire first act and about half of the second.
That’s where the script lives and is very effective at what it’s going for, and in that window of time frame we get everything we’ve loved about Deadpool, the irreverent and crass humor, the fourth wall breaking, big action and really high body count. That and more is in this script. Also that’s where I suspect we’d get most of the big laughs.
The script does an incredible job of making an extremely controversial character like Deadpool (especially in the Marvel Universe) likable. I was genuinely surprised by how I found this guy who is really a douche bag, but I found him incredibly off beat and so unapologetic that, that’s what made him likable to me. Reese & Wernick, are now masters at writing characters who would be otherwise unlikable and downright annoying in the hands of lesser writers and make them extremely relatable and likable. They did it to great effect with Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg’s characters in their script Zombieland.
They also get Deadpool’s voice, whenever Deadpool does a voice over or deliver a joke it’s easy to understand the motivation behind it and how whatever he says fits his character. The writers also do a masterful job at building and constructing the world around Deadpool, this zany, off the wall, balls out bananas character.
Reese & Wernick also know how to write action, and make no mistake guys this movie is going to be A HARD R, I’m talking HARD r. Picture Michael Bay’s Bad Boys 2 but with Tarantino level violence. That’s how this script is. Tarantino himself would read this and go “That’s way too violent guys, tone it down”. Seriously.
Also there are some nice cameos and side characters that pop in and are a real treat, it’s no surprise that Colossus is in the movie, and I won’t spoil why he is there, but it’s not just a glorified cameo like I had feared it would be, there is a legit reason for his presence. The character of Blind Al, Deadpool’s roommate/hostage is almost a scene stealer, whenever she’s written into a scene some of the best jokes are in it. A lot of the humor is reminiscent to me of Family Guy, in that it’s really face pace, kind of mean spirited but poke fun jokes at pop culture and celebrities and things like that. This is easily going to be the funniest comic book movie we’ve gotten thus far.
Plot wise however, this thing is a mess, and so is it structure. The non-linear storytelling as I mentioned at the beginning, made it confusing and at times hard to follow. There were times when reading that I didn’t understand or know where I was in relation to the story, also a lot of the praises I’ve been giving it, are most prominent in the first half of the script, the second half, or more or so the third act really, is where it gets hollow.
Towards the last half, it loses its steam, most of the jokes that hit are okay but it’s not as funny as the first half, though still, it’s pretty damn funny. Now I heard that Reese & Wernick did some rewrites since the film started production again and I can see just from the trailers where they may have added some stuff.
But to get into specifics, some of the side characters like the character of Weasel who is Deadpool’s right hand, is kind of a throwaway character that doesn’t serve no real place in the story.
The group of villains that are after him which includes Deadpool’s famous arch nemesis, Ajax, are either written as mustache twirling cartoons or are just plain lifeless. Though admittedly some of them have really cool deaths scenes.
Vanessa, Wade’s former girlfriend is there only to serve as a plot device for Deadpool’s driving motivation, which really, the main, TRUE, reason why Wade/Deadpool is doing what he’s doing, while I can understand it, I didn’t really buy it.
It’s a pet peeve of mine when the love interest in these types of films, especially the action hero or superhero genre, are reduced to being a plot device for the main male characters and ultimately something they have to save in the midst of a big grand bravado climax. Though Vanessa does get some time to shine, she isn’t really that fully developed to care about her or care that Wade gets her in the end.
Also as great as the character of Wade is written, he doesn’t really go through a character arch in the script, he starts out as Deadpool and ends as Deadpool, no real moral lesson is learned and there is little character development on his part.
The Wrap Up:
Those flaws and a couple of more specifics that I can’t get into of fear of spoilers (and being torn about by you fans) are what prevented me from calling this script perfect, but while it doesn’t beam perfection it’s as great as you can get for a Deadpool movie and really highlights the greatness of the character and is a great starting point for what is sure to be a fantastic movie.
+ The Humor is great
+ Deadpool Himself is FANTASTIC
+ The Action/Hard R violence
-The Villains are one dimensional
-Vanessa isn’t all that interesting