Deadpool Director: Tim Miller
Screenwriter: Paul Wernick, Rhett Reese
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, T.J. Miller, Gina Carano, Brianna Hildebrand, Stefan Kapicic, Karan Soni
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Rated R | 108 Minutes
Release Date: February 12, 2016
“Time to make the chimi-fucking-changas!”
In Deadpool, Ryan Reynolds (X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Green Lantern) stars as Wade Wilson, a cancer patient subjected to an experiment that leaves him with mutant abilities, an unstable mind, and a twisted sense of humor.
Written by Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese (Zombieland) and directed by Tim Miller, Deadpool feels like National Lampoon’s RoboCop, an ultra-violent cartoon that is as immature as it is obscene. It’s Looney Tunes meets Kick-Ass, and it’s an absolute blast for fans of Marvel’s “Merc with a Mouth.”
A disfigured Wilson takes up the name Deadpool and, using his Special Forces training and newly acquired super powers, hunts down those responsible for making him look like “a testicle with teeth.” Armed with katanas, semi-automatic weapons, and a big bag of dick jokes, Deadpool takes on Ajax (Ed Skrein), a mutant who cannot feel pain or emotion, and his henchwoman Angel Dust (Gina Carano), a statuesque bad-ass with super strength.
With the help of his pal Weasel (T.J. Miller) and the X-Men’s Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand), Deadpool must slice and dice his way through Weapon X goons to save the love of his life, Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), from torture and experimentation.
After playing an ill-conceived faux-Deadpool in 2008’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Ryan Reynolds spent years petitioning 20th Century Fox to give the beloved character the raunchy, obnoxious, and totally bonkers big-screen treatment he deserves. He succeeded. Miller’s film is everything a Deadpool movie should be: a screwball send-up filled with self-deprecating jokes, fourth-wall breaks, and moments of pure insanity.
Reynolds has found his defining role, building on those charmingly snarky performances in films like Van Wilder and Waiting…, and his recent, edgier work in The Voices, to deliver a pitch-perfect role that rivals Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine or Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man. Deadpool is aware that he’s a comic book anti-hero, which gives the filmmakers freedom to tell the story in an unorthodox way. Deadpool’s also aware of who Ryan Reynolds is, and his own disastrous debut in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which leads to some pretty fantastic gags throughout.
From the moment the film’s opening credits begin to roll, Deadpool occupies a space that no other comic book movie has. Colossus is mocked as “a CGI character” while Morena Baccarin is the “hot chick,” and Hildebrand’s Negasonic Teenage Warhead is just another “moody teen.” And they’re all starring in “some douchebag’s film.” It’s a brilliant way of poking fun at established character tropes, playing on the audience’s knowledge of blockbuster cinema and subverting it in an inventive way.
What holds Deadpool back from being as entertaining as Guardians of the Galaxy or even X-Men: Days of Future Past isn’t the language or the violence – it’s the generic villains. In any other movie, Ajax and Angel Dust would be common thugs – there isn’t anything that unique or compelling about them. If this were X-Men: The Last Stand (shudder), these two would be nameless mutants killed by Wolverine during the final battle.
And while it’s a refreshing detour from the standard “end of the world” scenario, the film’s third act feels perfunctory at best. It’s your standard final battle set piece, with Deadpool beating up the bad guys, saving the girl, and paying off a few recurring gags. You have to wonder if the inevitable sequel will connect to the larger X-Men universe and bring in more established villains, or will Deadpool be stuck with Elektra-level wrongdoers again?
Despite the underwhelming baddies, Deadpool is a swift kick to the spandex-clad crotch of the superhero genre. It’s fresh, funny, and doesn’t play by the established rules. It’s weird to describe a movie as depraved as Deadpool a delight, but it truly is; a profanity spewing, blood-splattered delight. See it with the whole family!*
*Just kidding. This movie isn’t for kids, but good luck telling my nephews that!