Deadpool | Tim Miller | February 12, 2016
Deadpool may not have been the superhero that Hollywood wanted, but he’s certainly the one they deserve.
After years of speculation as to whether or not everyone’s favorite anti-superhero would actually get made into a standalone picture, Tim Miller’s Deadpool has arrived. Don’t let the February release date fool you, this is very much the film that both fans of the character and Ryan Reynolds have been waiting for. Full of comedic snark and constant fourth wall breaks (and Inception style fourth wall breaks within those), it delivers every bit upon its promise, a truly entertaining ride from start to finish.
Minutes into opening credits, you’re gracefully dropped into the self-aware world of the film, with notable credits such as “directed by an overpaid tool,” and “produced by asshats.” If that doesn’t sell you on what kind of comedy Deadpool brings to the table, then you can always catch a screening of Zoolander 2 next door.
When it comes down to it, Deadpool is one part revenge flick, one part romantic tale. Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) is a mercenary who falls deeply in love with escort Vanessa Carlysle (Morena Baccarin), only to have their honeymoon period interrupted by the discovery that he has terminal cancer. When a secretive agent (Jed Rees) comes to Wade offering him a chance to beat the cancer through some shady experiments, he jumps at the chance, hoping to one day return to Vanessa alive and well. Only the experiments aren’t a charitable exercise to rid him of his cancer. They’re really a scheme so the organization’s crazed leader Ajax (Ed Skrein) can turn desperate patients such as Wilson into mutants, so he can then sell them off as secret weapon super-soldiers, such as his second in command, Angel Dust (Gina Carano). Ajax doesn’t appreciate Wilson’s big mouth, and pushes the experiment to the fullest extent, leaving Wilson horribly disfigured. Wilson’s transformation to Deadpool is complete, and is remaining days are spent seeking revenge on Ajax.
This is the role that Ryan Reynolds was born to play. It’s been a passion project for the actor for many years, and it shows. He’s to the Deadpool franchise (the sequel was already greenlit ahead of its release) what Robert Downey Jr. is to Iron Man. You can’t imagine anyone else possibly playing the role.
Deleted from memory is the X-Men Origins: Wolverine version that Reynolds played in 2009. Thankfully everyone involved with this version has righted the ship. The tie-in to the world of X-Men is somewhat limited aside from the inclusion of Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) who try to convert Deadpool to the world of good guys. The lack of other X-Men is a set-up for one of the best meta gags of all, and there are many of them.
Reynolds has strong believable chemistry with Baccarin, creating a love story that you actually become invested in. Part of the reason the film works as well as it does is that you truly feel for what Wilson goes through as a character, credit to the writing team of Rhett Rheese and Paul Wernick crafted (based off the work of comic writers Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza). Finding a balance between this and all the hard-R comedic elements is not an easy feat, but it’s one they were fully up to task for. It’s well balanced with all the comedy that comes whizzing by at 100 mph. Reynolds throws so many witty one-liners directly at us that a return trip to the big screen is needed to catch them all.
While the film is certainly a joyful ride through the world of the shit-talking anti-hero, it’s not a flawless ride. Considering it goes to such great lengths to go against the typical conventions and trajectory of fellow comic book films, it’s disappointing that it suffers from some of their similar pitfalls. Ajax comes off as a rather bland villain, leaving him cast aside among so many of the previous forgettable Marvel villains that are starting to blend together. Similarly, the ending battle plays out exactly as you expect in every superhero film, somewhat stalling the genuine rush that the rest of the films refreshing approach provided. It also wouldn’t have hurt to see a bit more of T.J. Miller as Deadpool’s best friend Weasel and Leslie Uggams as Pool’s roommate Blind Al, who both are great in their limited screen time.
Small gripes and all, Miller has done the unthinkable: created a film that will please both the die-hard fans, and new audiences alike. It earns every bit of its hard R rating, possibly going on to change the landscape of comic book films in the future based on its expected impressive performance at the box office. It’s the sort of adventure you will return to for countless viewings to try and catch all the gags and jokes you missed the first time because the audience’s laughter left the follow-up dialogue inaudible.
At the end of the day, Deadpool‘s re-watchability factor is sky high, possibly the most important success of them all.