Movie Review: ‘Deadpool’ (Second Opinion)


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Plot:  Ex mercenary Wade Wilson’s (Ryan Reynolds’) life is empty.  He spends his time shutting down stalkers and performing other semi-criminal jobs to get by and pay the rent.  Wilson’s sole refuge of solace stems only from dispensing acerbic sarcastic barbs and hanging out at a local bar with his friend Weasel (T.J. Miller). However, one day Wade’s life takes a turn for the better when he meets and falls for Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) the proverbial hooker with a heart of gold.  That is until Wilson is diagnosed with terminal cancer.  In an effort to save his life Wilson agrees to a secret program that will cure his cancer and unlock latent mutant abilities.  The experiment works and leaves Wilson with the ability to regenerate and heal any injury or disease, however it also leaves him horribly disfigured.  When one of the project leaders Ajax (Ed Skrein) betrays Wade, wishing to make him into a slave, Wilson vows vengeance.  But in order to do so he must become the anti-hero the world will know as Deadpool.

Review:  Deadpool breaks all the rules of a conventional comicbook film.  It’s self-aware, its bloody, it has an excessive amount of cursing, it breaks the fourth wall constantly, and its “hero” is less than heroic.

And it’s entertaining as Hell.

A movie that took creators Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza, and actor Ryan Reynolds years to realize, Deadpool succeeds beyond the fans’ wildest expectations. Moreover, this is a film that appeals to a broader audience as well.  As somebody who knew virtually nothing about the character Deadpool going in, I was a little surprised at  how much I thoroughly enjoyed this film.

What makes Deadpool so fun is, as I mentioned, the lack of convention.  The film doesn’t even wait until the first scene to point this out.  Rather than do traditional lead in credits, Deadpool touts the film as being produced by “Asshats” and being directed by “A Total Tool.”  Classic.

Now even the most ardent supporters of superhero films have to admit that to some degree or another, comicbook films are formulaic.  There’s the origin story, the Big Bad, the inevitable team-up with other superheroes, etc, etc.  Yes there’s all that here but Deadpool is also very aware of that fact.  Director Tim Miller tells the story through flashbacks in the first half.  From a plot standpoint, this is not often successful but in Deadpool it fits perfectly.  And Wade Wilson/Deadpool, in atypical fashion, isn’t heroic.  Granted he’s hilarious but heroic?  Not so much.  Hell he’s not even that likeable. I mean how heroic is it to incite a bar fight hoping to cause a death to win a running contest?

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It isn’t until Wade meets Vanessa that we see Wilson’s softer side.  As some of you may be aware, the marketers behind Deadpool jokingly pushed the film as a love story.  Ironically writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick’s love story actually works. The chemistry between Reynolds and Baccarin is excellent.  At one point they describe themselves as two weird jigsaw puzzles that don’t quite fit.  But they fit for each other.  Even if their relationship is…unconventional.  Plenty of people can relate to this.

The driving force behind Deadpool though is Ryan Reynolds.  I’ve always thought the best casting job for a superhero was Robert Downey Jr. as Ironman.  He still is, but Reynolds might be 1B.  This is a perfect marriage between actor and character. Like the character he plays, Reynolds is always on and the jokes come fast and furious, even if only about 80% stick the landing.  Reynolds and the film are so self-aware and in tune with pop culture it’s amazing.  Whether it’s a Jared Fogel Subway joke, making fun of both Green Lantern and X-Men Origins: Wolverine (the Deadpool action figure is great), or pointing out that the budget for the film only allowed for too minor X-Men, the laughs are non-stop. What’s awesome is that Deadpool KNOWS it’s a movie.  Even more it references other movies in the Marvel Universe.  (“We’ll take you to see Professor X now.”  “Which one Stewart or McAvoy?  I can’t keep these timelines straight.”)  And I’d be remiss in not mentioning some of the more emotional moments for Reynolds, especially with Baccarin and when he gets tortured by Ajax.  They come off as sincere and authentic as any of Deadpool’s sarcastic barbs.

As for the other X-Men in the film, they were decent but not great. Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) was a stereotypical angsty teenager while Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) was such a goody-goody, that it became almost annoying. Although to be fair I thought that was maybe to contrast with Deadpool’s personality. I also thought the choice to make Colossus completely CGI was a bad one.  Colossus did have a couple good action sequences though, especially in the film’s climax.

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Speaking of underwhelming characters, Ed Skrein’s Ajax (don’t call him Francis) was pretty vanilla as far as villains go.  You can fault the writers for that one though, because Skrein does his best with what he has and his few interactions with Deadpool were solid.  As for Angel Dust (Gina Carano) well…at least they made the smart decision to give her very few lines.

On a positive note T.J. Miller was his typical humorous self as Weasel, Deadpool’s partner in crime.  Their initial meeting after Wilson’s transformation is even funnier than the trailers made it out to be.  Leslie Uggams also had a great bit part as Deadpool’s blind roommate Blind Al.  She’s one of the few people who matches Deadpool’s sarcastic wit but was severely underused.  Let’s hope we get more of her in the sequel.  (Speaking of, make sure you stay tuned for the after credits scene as there’s a BIG reveal about a long anticipated character showing up in the sequel. And also a funny suggestion about who should play the character.)

Deadpool by no means is the best Marvel movie ever released.  However it’s certainly one of the most atypical, and like it’s title character a complete maverick of a film.  If box office numbers indicate anything (Deadpool made$135 million opening weekend, more than twice what was projected) Deadpool‘s returns show that moviegoers are looking for something different in their superhero films. Deadpool delivers that and more.  Here’s to many more helpings of chimichangas down the line.

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My rating:  8/10

You can follow me on Twitter at @DarthGandalf1

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