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Up to this point, I knew almost nothing about the Deadpool character, other than fans were not happy with his portrayal in the 2009 X-Men Origins: Wolverine. So, I went into this flick without too many expectations, other than it wasn’t going to be your typical Marvel superhero movie, based on the trailers and ad campaign. I was right…but I also had more fun than I expected.
Flick tells the story of Wade Wilson, a former special forces soldier turned black ops operative turned mercenary and assassin. Wade has a fairly low level clientele and a beautiful stripper girlfriend, Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) who loves him for who he is. Wade’s life is turned upside down when he is told he has terminal cancer and is then contacted by a mysterious organization called Weapon X, that claim that not only can they cure him, but they can turn him into a superhero. To save his relationship with Vanessa, he takes the offer and is transformed into a virtually indestructible, yet horribly disfigured man. Now hot for revenge for turning him into a monster, Wade becomes Deadpool, a wise-cracking superhero-like assassin, leaving a blood-soaked trail in pursuit of Ajax (Ed Skrein), the man who performed the procedure and his powerful sidekick/bodyguard, Angel Dust (Gina Carano)…all the while being pursued by the X-Men to give up his bloody ways and join the team.
This is certainly one of the most brazen and self-aware of the recent spate of superhero films, with Deadpool not only stopping the action to talk with the audience, but also his constant verbal jabs at the rest of the Marvel universe. It is also one of the rudest, crudest and bloodiest flicks to wear the Marvel tag and there is sufficient wit to go along with that, which makes it work. Some of the dialog is very funny and Reynolds has the perfect delivery for Wilson’s sarcastic frat-boy sense of humor as he’s slaughtering bad guys. The film is well directed by Tim Miller, with a clever script by Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese and it mixes the graphic violence with the twisted humor very well. The action is on a smaller scale than the usual Marvel flicks, especially those recently, but includes more gore and body parts than possibly even the Blade films. The FX are rendered very well and there is a solid emotional core to all the blood and toilet humor when dealing with Wade’s turning into something he’s horrified with…something he feels Vanessa would never love. Surprisingly, the combination of violence, crude humor and Frankentein-ish story does pretty much work for most of the time thanks to Miller’s knowing when and how much and Reynold’s spot on performance. If the film has flaws, it’s that not all of the humor is successfully funny, the film does slow down a bit when delving into flashbacks as to Deadpool’s origin and Skrein isn’t all that strong a bad guy and is upstaged by Carano’s Angel Dust. Back on the plus side, there is a hip, fun soundtrack and it was refreshing to see a superhero film with a anti-hero who is far from being a boy scout…ex. Deadpool’s lethal and illegal advice to an Indian cab driver over how to solve his love problems.
Obviously, this is Ryan Reynolds show and he really brings it. Not only is Deadpool a very likable and sarcastically funny anti-hero, but Reynolds really gives him a heart and we feel for him when he is first deformed. He delivers his lines perfectly, whether it is to lament his transformation and loss of Vanessa, or shamelessly taunting his blind roommate (Leslie Uggams). He was born to play the part. Morena Baccarin is smoking hot as a movie geeks dream girl, a stripper with extensive nerd knowledge and a pop culture reference vocabulary to rival the boys. While she doesn’t get to do all that much, she and Reynolds do have a nice chemistry and she is fiery in what she does get to do. As stated, Ed Skrein is a serviceable villain, though not a very memorable one. Carano makes more of an impression as his bodyguard with superhuman strength. She doesn’t say much, but is a physical presence especially when batting the metal skinned X-Man, Colossus (voiced by Stefan Kapičić). T.J. Miller is fun as Wade’s buddy Weasle, Brianna Hildebrand is an explosive teen member of the X-Men and Jed Rees is appropriately creepy as the recruiter for Weapon X…and a certain Marvel icon has one of his funniest cameos yet!
Overall, Deadpool was a fun flick. It deftly mixes masturbation jokes, bloody violence and some surprisingly effective drama to make it one of the more unique superhero flicks to come out in this era of cookie-cutter comic book movies. Not all the jokes work and the film does slow down a bit here and there to tell it’s origin story, but overall the mash-up formula connects more often than not. Ryan Reynolds is a hoot as Deadpool and he is given some very funny, rude and pop culture reference filled dialog to spout, when not splattering the bad guys all over the place. Not great, but a fun flick that will occasionally make you giggle like a teenager, whether you are one or not, and sometimes laugh out loud. As with these flicks, stay through the credits!
3 unicorns…don’t ask…