Given his track record, it’s hard to believe a superhero film starring Ryan Reynolds reprising his role from the abhorrent X-Men Origins:
Wolverine would be anything but awful. But not only is Deadpool not awful, it’s a surprisingly funny middle finger to the genre as a whole.
Deadpool is the superhero film for those who have tired of Marvel Studios’ box office oversaturation. It doesn’t care if it’s marketable to
children, its hero is disgustingly crude and calling its sense of humor foul is an understatement.
The film also features some wonderful fourth-wall-breaking self-awareness. Deadpool (AKA Wade Wilson) frequently addresses the
audience, even making references to actor Hugh Jackman and the confusing X-Men timelines. When the renegade hero is captured by a
couple members of Professor Xavier’s famous team, he evens ask whether they are taking him to Stewart or McAvoy.
Deadpool doesn’t stop there. Not only is it aware of its place within a film universe, but it’s almost perversely self-deprecating, with
frequent jabs at Reynolds’ filmography (I wonder why he doesn’t want his costume to be green?) as well as the film itself.
The opening credits themselves are hilariously absurd, and there’s even a moment where ‘Mr. Pool’ (As his taxi driver friend calls him),
wonders if budgetary restrictions necessitated Xavier’s mansion being noticeably absent of all the franchise’s key figures.
While the plot itself is not especially notable, the film is so incredibly outlandish and funny that it barely matters.
There is some nice non-linear storytelling that reveals Wilson’s origins concurrent to the main plot, and some of the action sequences are
well-choreographed. The best of which being the highway chase sequence that opens the film.
Reynolds is outstanding as the title character, infusing him with an infectious swagger and, despite his abrasive nature, surprising likability.
There are also some nice supporting performances. Most notably Morena Baccarin as Wade’s girlfriend, and T.J. Miller as his best friend.
Deadpool is certainly Reynolds’ show, but director Tim Miller and writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick do an outstanding job not shying
away from making the ‘Merc with a Mouth’ worthy of his famous nickname.
What keeps Deadpool from being a great film is that, outside of its fantastic sense of humor, it follows the exact structure of the superhero
films it mocks to a T. And in doing so, Deadpool fails to differentiate itself from the bulk of the genre.
I also wasn’t a huge fan of the two X-Men pursuing Wade, but at least fans can be pleased that Colossus was given an authentic Russian
Despite its more stock elements, Deadpool is a hugely entertaining film, assuming you have the stomach for its hard-R nature. It’s great fun,
and a refreshing change of tone amid the overbearing tide of superhero/comic book films.
At a brisk 108 minutes, Deadpool is a thoroughly enjoyable kick in the face to expectations. And I was happy to receive it.
* * *
(Out of four)
P.S. Stick around for a post-credits scene that is actually well worth your time.
Directed by: Tim Miller
Written by: Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein,
T.J. Miller, Gina Carano, Leslie Uggams
Cinematography by: Ken Seng
Music by: Tom Holkenborg
Released: February 12, 2016; 108 Minutes