In the months leading up to the release of Deadpool, the folks behind the film's marketing made a lot of hay out of convincing hardcore comic fans to sell their significant other on seeing the film for Valentine's weekend. For a while, this was the running gag pertaining to the film's seemingly comedic release date, but as luck would have it releasing Deadpool this past weekend was the best move possible. The real reason for this is because, believe it or not, it's one hell of a romantic comedy – masquerading as a mere orgy of action, adventure, and sex jokes.
Now don't take this as a signal that Deadpool has gone soft in its newborn status as a box-office bonanza. There's still plenty of awesome action set pieces that involve amazing amounts of violence, and Ryan Reynolds' performance as the legendary "Merc with a Mouth" lived up to every inch of promise that leaked test footage showed when it dropped. But the love story between Reynolds' Wade and Morena Baccarin's Vanessa held a lot more weight to it than those original trailers let on. Part of the reason this movie works so well as a romcom is because of the fact that the relationship depicted between Wade and Vanessa is one of the most healthy we've seen in a while.
Wade and Vanessa are, for lack of a better term, a pair of fucked up people. With equally dark senses of humor, as well as an extremely healthy sex drive, we see the two bond over everything from sex to Skeeball. All the while, neither participant in the relationship seems desperate, clingy, or stalker-ish to maintain their relationship. They really do fit together like a pair of jigsaw pieces, if jigsaw pieces made jokes about molestation and child abuse. Eventually, as any good romcom fan would tell you, one side in the relationship has to become the weak side – thus providing the necessary conflict. But even in that regard, Deadpool keeps things interesting by making Wade Wilson the romantic who not only proposes marriage when his girlfriend is about to propose some sexually adventurous errand, but also makes the heartbreaking decision to leave when his illness threatens their happiness.
Even during the entire portion of Deadpool where Wade is undergoing the torturous treatments to activate his mutation, his main focus is to beat his illness and go home. The look on his face when Ed Skrein's Ajax tells him he'll never see Vanessa again is heartbreaking, and his battle with whether or not to pursue her after his transformation is just as tragic. Neither of those moments would have worked without the time the film took to show the hilariously beautiful relationship between our romantic leads. Yet at the same time, the movie goes for whole passages of time not mentioning Wade's amorous motivations, passing the time with the jokes and thrills until the film's finale.
In a weaker film, the resurgence of the romantic subplot would be an attempt at paying fan service to the romcom fans in the audience. However, the romantic groundwork laid in-between Deadpool's opening fight scene pays off in spades with love and lust meeting once more to cap off the film in a truly fitting fashion. If you look at it the right way, Deadpool is a Nicholas Sparks film, except it mixes in gun fights, car chases, and extreme sex with its storyline of romantic longing and terminal illness. As much as Tim Miller's film likes to tear into and rebuild the comic book genre, it makes equally easy work of the romantic comedy, delivering a final product that is not only surprisingly balanced, but extremely fun.
Deadpool is in theaters now, ready to be watched with someone you love.