The Hero We Need, The Merc We Deserve
Deadpool is one of those things that just won’t die, literally and metaphorically. After a botched debut at the hands of Gavin Hood’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine, fans were worried that the merc with a mouth would never see the silver screen again. When the film finally made it out of development hell, rumors began to circulate that it was another terrible Fox comic film waiting to happen. Then preview screening reviews started to circulate with most “respectable” critics giving it a mediocre rating. But that’s where Deadpool sets itself apart from other movies. The film wasn’t made to give Ebert’s ghost a boner, it was made for the fans. This is a 2 hour love letter to the people who fought tooth and nail to see the beloved character get a second chance, and those people will be very pleased. But if you are an outsider to nerd dimension, you’ll probably want to steer clear.
Our hero really isn’t a hero at all. Easily earning his R rating, Wade Wilson (A.K.A. our titular protagonist) is a self-proclaimed bad guy, just not the “worst” guy out there. He has a soft spot though, for his favorite stripper turned girlfriend Vanessa (Firefly’s Morena Baccarin) and does his best to be a better man. Unfortunately, that all goes tits up when Wade discovers he has developed cancer in basically every area of his (admittedly bodacious) body. From here we follow a typical hero origin story. Blah blah blah, illegal mutant weapon program. Blah blah blah revenge plot for illegal weapon program. You get the gist. The story is really where Deadpool falters in step. There are no major plot twists, complications, or attempts at making a memorable plot whatsoever. While there are plenty of supporting characters, they may as well not even be there as this is definitely a one man show. That’s actually for the best as Ryan Reynolds is perfectly cast as DP. From the moment the title card rolls, the one liners start coming and never stop. Keeping up a constant barrage of jokes is tough for any script, and a few do fall flat, but for the most part the film is rib cracking hilarious and ridiculously entertaining.
Balancing a beloved comic hero with the demand for a rated R character is no small feat, but Reynolds and company pull it off stupendously. Whereas most other comic films focus on the action scenes, Deadpool is all about the laughs. That’s not to say there aren’t action scenes though. Easily the best parts of the film, there are three main fantastically choreographed scenes that are imaginative and bloody wonderful. Our anti-hero isn’t the only one rolling with the punches though.
This time around we have a fully realized CGI Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead, a couple of X-men who get roped into helping Deadpool get his game on. This pair have small but welcome time on screen, mainly there to be foils to Deadpool’s antics. It leaves me wanting more X-men to interact with DP but with the movie timelines all screwy right now, it’s understandable that they kept the participation down to a minimum. Not only that, but in its ever self-aware wisdom Deadpool even cracks a few gags at the confusion itself. The villains are sadly worse for wear. The Transporter: Refueled Ed Skrein is Ajax, the mutant responsible for Wade Wilson’s misery. Though the acting is fine, there is no substance to the character. He’s simply evil for evils sake. That’s fine if you can stand apart, but Ajax falls into an ever growing box of failed Marvel villains. At least he does better than his comrade Angel Dust (former MMA fighter Gina Carano) who is there to punch and get punched and that’s about it. I get that the main attraction of the film is a hero people have been begging to see for decades, but that’s no excuse for giving other characters next to nothing interesting about them. In the end, it comes off as lazy script writing more than anything.
But that’s where the negatives end. Insane fun for (ABSOLUTELY NOT) the whole family, Deadpool will easily stack up to one of the best comic films ever made. A fun character and cast led by impressive first time director Tim Miller, it’s sure to please if you have a love for the comic-verse. If you are looking for something more serious and down to earth I recommend steering clear though. RDR gives Deadpool a 7.8 out of 10.