Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to one of the few surprise movie releases of February. I was most certainly apprehensive about Deadpool, as the trailers seemed to be hit and miss with the humor. But, as it turns out, Deadpool is actually quite fun – and funny – which is really at the core of this particular character. And central to that, is Ryan Reynolds, who I think has been looking for the perfect fit for his talents, and has finally found it.
Ex-Special Forces turned mercenary Wade Wilson has, as of late, been working as an independent “problem solver” for hire. He meets a lovely lady named Vanessa and they fall hard for each other in between sexual romps. Then one day their blissful life changes when Wilson is diagnosed with advanced cancer. He accepts the help of a mysterious orgnaization that says they can cure him, as well as make him some kind of superhero. Instead, he is subjected to experiments that release his mutant genes that give him remarkable physical healing and regeneration abilities, and unfortunately disfigure him as well. Fearing Vanessa’s reaction to his disfigurement, he instead goes on a hunt for the man that caused all this pain.
Not being a regular reader of the Deadpool comics/character, I did a little research first just to put him in context. I mean, the first time we saw this character on film was in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and I think everyone was disappointed by that depiction, me included. I knew he was oft referred to as The Merc with a Mouth. So I was looking for that aspect. In a way, the Deadpool character seemed right up Ryan Reynolds alley, but maybe a little too much so. Not everybody like Reynolds, but I never had a problem with him. I always felt like he was an actor just waiting for the right gig.
This Deadpool is surely it. He is sharp, has the right tone, and keeps the energy high. And so does first time director Tim Miller. He’s done mostly animation stuff, video games, and the title sequence from The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, and that Scott Pilgrim movie. He keeps Deadpool moving right along with great energy. The opening credit sequence is great – a complex series of shots following the camera in and around a flipping SUV and the titles describing the primary people like, “Directed by: Some Asshat”.
Deadpool is a good mixture of conventional superhero movie origin story, and spurning many elements of this genre. The screenplay by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (Zombieland) is actually pretty solid. In addition to a lot of humor, this is a pretty violent film. None of this PG-13 crap, no sir. Deadpool is an R rated film for sure. Do NOT take your kids to this one. Kids under 14 will likely see things that willl require you to spend the rest of your weekend explaining. Unless your kids live in a crack house next to a softcore movie theater. Then you’re fine.
There may be a little to much of that voice-over narration going on here, and the one or two moments of suspension of disbelief, but Hell, this is a comic book movie, so just let go and enjoy the madness. The cast is great, and with the appearance of X-Men Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead in action, there is stil plenty of action to satisfy. Reynolds really is great as Deadpool and there is plenty of Breaking the 4th Wall here, full of very self-aware references to other X-Men films, Marvel stuff and pop culture. Some of this might go over the casual viewers head, while the comic book fans will have a blast.
All in all, Deadpool was lots of fun and I recommend it. Very much a pleasant surprise. I’m in for just about four kittenhands. This was a good time at the movies.
~ Neil T Weakley, your average movie-goer, reminding you to stick around after the credits for the obligatory stinger.