Definitely a weird film and a complete juxtaposition to Deadpool. Where the merc with a mouth's flick had been perfectly encapsulated in the respective trailer, Walter Mitty's marketing team were obviously not reading from the same language, let alone textbook, as the rest of the creative crew surrounding its production. Possibly the studio felt that a feel-good film focusing on the drudgery of modern-day life and a single, dull and middle-aged man's "slice of life" journey were not particularly marketable, especially to Ben Stiller's normal audience, but they really did this wonderful film a major disservice in the outlining of the trailer and posters. I was expecting a Bedtime Stories-esque series of self-contained sequences and homages, taking place in the mind of the titular character, with a loosely interweaving subplot taking place in "reality" with some ambiguous or played-out moral at the end. What I got was a Wes Anderson film without any of the decade or so of baggage that Anderson has to bring to every film to appease his rabid fans.
There were clear moments of "what the fuck did I just watch" and I still have the feeling that if all of the daydream sequences were cut out the film wouldn't really lose anything, but ultimately this was a heartwarming story with some brilliant and distinctive cinematography throughout. The Benjamin Button parody should have been cut out of the reel and dropped into one of the Icelandic volcanoes the crew visited, but jarring pop-culture references aside I thoroughly enjoyed this film. It was quirky and off-beat but the characters were wonderfully portrayed and had real heart; Ben Stiller was wonderful, with a clear transition from misfit loner through to adventurous and confident leader that never really felt out of character and the surrounding cast slotted in exceedingly well. Particularly moments with Sean Penn's character were heavily reminiscent of films like The Life Aquatic, but also somehow more relatable. I would definitely recommend giving this film a watch, I imagine I'll come back to it several times over the years.