Deadpool vs. Risen: It's All In the Execution

better-sized-risen-poster1 deadpool poster

There’s not much that Deadpool and Risen have in common aside from the fact that they came out this month and I saw the movies a day after they premiered in theaters. You might be surprised to find out, though, that while I initially liked the movie about the smart-aleck assassin more than the movie about “the resurrection as told by a nonbeliever,” the latter movie actually left me wanting more.

Spoilers ensue. You have been warned.

I do agree with those who say that the parts of Deadpool involving Wade Wilson’s backstory is pretty standard and that the sex montage was completely gratuitous, as was the strip club scene (although the Stan Lee cameo was awesome). I also agree that this is one superhero movie that you should not bring the kiddies to! But I had a lot of fun watching this movie. What made this particular film different from the typical superhero summer blockbuster is the humor and the small ways that it goes against expectations. I liked that the girlfriend was not a damsel in distress and all the times that Deadpool broke the 4th wall. I’ll also admit that I have a soft spot for dark comedy. I’ll wait until it comes out on DVD to watch it again and I recommend my fellow Catholics to do the same if you haven’t seen it yet. Or at least close your eyes and ears during said gratuitous sex montage and strip club scene.

In contrast, I went into Risen with pretty low expectations. From the way that the movie was marketed, I expected something along the lines of Ben-Hur, in which Clavius would spend the whole movie searching for the disciples and for Christ, but always missing them or letting them slip through his fingers, and losing his power as he questions everything he believed in. The first third of the movie was good, but my suspension of disbelief went straight out the window as soon as Clavius found the Risen Christ. I’ll tell you right now that it takes a lot for me to suspend my disbelief, but I often find that it’s always little things. I can more easily believe all of the events that go on in Deadpool than all the things that happen after Clavius finds the Risen Christ among the disciples.

I don’t know what it is about Bible adaptations, but I always find that they overdramatize things unnecessarily. I always wish that they could let the drama of the Bible speak for itself without anything added to it.

It was just really hard for me to believe that Clavius would’ve changed so easily and that the apostles so quickly accepted him as one of their own. And it’s really hard for me to invest in Clavius because I know that he wasn’t actually part of the narrative.  Not to mention that there’s nothing new about this particular story. Most of the story is told in flashback, which I honestly consider kind of a cliche, and then the movie ends with Clavius just wandering off into the desert. We don’t get to see Pentecost or him getting martyred. There are no real consequences for Clavius’s actions. We never get to see what happens when Caesar comes into town. When the credits started rolling, I felt confused and lost and not in the same way that Inception made me feel.

I was initially disappointed in Risen, but after looking at other reviews and discussing it with my dad, who saw the movie with me, I realized that I was contemplating this movie a lot more than Deadpool. I actually would recommend this movie to my fellow Catholics, if only for the sake of discussion. And I’m actually contemplating a second watch if only to test my suspension of disbelief again.

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