by Cooper Maestas
So. DEADPOOL. At last.
It’s been a long time in coming. We thought it would never happen after the let-down that was “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”. There were cries from the fans—why would you take this wise-cracking character and restrain him by sewing up his mouth? Why would you not let him don the instantly recognizable mask and red tights?
And yet, here we are, almost seven years later, FINALLY granted a movie that not only delivers on what we were all crying out for, but a that brings some much-needed lifeblood to the genre itself.
This quote from the movie says it best: “Get ready to blow out your collective sphincters.”
DEADPOOL is based on the character of the same name by Marvel Comics, created by Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza. The film is directed by Tim Miller (his directorial debut; that’ll look good on the resume) and stars Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool/Wade Wilson), Morena Baccarin of Firefly fame (Vanessa), Ed Skrein (Ajax), and TJ Miller (Weasel).
The film IS Rated-R for strong violence, foul language throughout, sexual content, and graphic nudity, and is in NO WAY meant to be targeted for children. This superhero flick is for the adults, so hire a babysitter!
We start with Wade Wilson (Reynolds), a man with a big mouth and a twisted sense of humor, who considers himself an antihero. He spends his life beating up people who deserve it. He then meets Vanessa (Baccarin); each with a flawed past, they fall completely and, dare I say it, adorably in love.
Just as finally Wade feels that his life is going in the right direction, he finds out he has cancer and is only given a short time to live. He meets a mysterious man, who offers him a cure for his cancer, as well as powers normal men could only dream of. He accepts the offer and meets the film’s antagonist, Ajax (Skrein). Ajax makes Wade his test subject; through torture captivity, and various experiments, Wade is disfigured into what looks like a topographical map of Utah.
However, he also receives the powers he was promised—for instance, the power to heal rapidly, making him virtually invincible. After the torture, the knowledge that he wouldn’t be accepted into society, and the fear that he’s lost the love of his life, Wade constructs a disguise, teams up with mutants Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead, and seeks revenge on Ajax under the new name Deadpool.
The writing for this movie is an outstanding achievement; the humor is absurd and absurdly memorable. If this were any other movie, it might not work—but you can tell that the cast and crew came to work smiling and ready to play. Their passion and excitement for the project are recognizable in every moment of the film. This is especially true whenever Ryan Reynolds comes onscreen—to him, the set is a playground, and the script is a book of tricks!
Mix in some over-the-top comic book violence, a killer soundtrack, sexual content, a love story, an origin story, glitter, crayons, and unicorns, and BOOM! That’s this movie.
The story isn’t complicated, which will be a relief to fans. A lot of movies in this genre try to be the next Dark Knight; they become overly dark and brooding and add subplots that don’t mesh well with the main story. This movie is self-aware (literally—but more on the fourth wall breaking later); it knows that it’s a comic-book film whose point is to be entertaining and all-out FUN. Honestly, with this source material, that’s all it needs to be! It doesn’t need a hidden message or a lesson to be learned. DEADPOOL’s goal is to make you bust a gut laughing and to entertain you and your buddies; and on that goal, it delivers GENEROUSLY.
Breaking Down the Greatness
DEADPOOL was made for the fans, with all kinds of hidden gags and Easter eggs to keep you on your toes. Even those who have never heard of the character will end up having a great time. In the comics, Deadpool is notorious for breaking the fourth wall, and fans of that gag will not be disappointed! Many were concerned about how that would translate into film—it can be very hit-and-miss in movies—but in this one, it works great. He teases at real-life actors and TV shows and even at his own movie, with jokes about studio budget and special effects.
The characters, the scenes, the lines—they are all so memorable! The actors ROCK their parts, even those with secret cameos (shhhhh). Ryan Reynolds is to Deadpool as Robert Downey Jr. is to Tony Stark/Iron Man, or as Hugh Jackman is to Wolverine. TJ Miller definitely makes his mark as the “Comic-Relief” character. One other stand-out performance is Stefan Kapicic, who voices Colossus. His character is played with the comics in mind—he’s very likable, and they have some pretty great gags involving him (by the way, the CGI is well done; Colossus is all CGI, and he blends well with the universe).
Concerning the villain, Ajax—it’s worth mentioning that he’s not necessarily the next Tom Hiddleston as Loki, or the next Heath Ledger Joker. But he never needed to be. Ed Skrein is intimidating enough, and while he’s not as fleshed out as other villains, he’s as scary as he needs to be. He’s a genuinely bad guy (with an accent, of course) who craves the feeling of superiority over someone and tortures for fun. He’s strong enough to make you angry, so it works just fine!
The love story between Wade and Vanessa is just plain fun to watch. It’s very believable; the characters have similar personalities (which means some snappy dialogue, you guys, watch out), and the chemistry between Reynolds and Baccarin is enjoyable. You might say that romance has no place in a Deadpool movive, but it’s not so in-your-face as it was with, say, Mary Jane and Peter Parker in the Spider-Man movies. It doesn’t take any focus away from the constant wit and fast-paced dialogue the movie throws at you.
To Wrap It Up (And a Final PARENT WARNING)
To wrap it up, DEADPOOL didn’t end up just being just good. It was one of the most thoroughly entertaining movies I have seen in a long time. It knows EXACTLY what kind of movie it wants to be without asking questions. This film delivers on laughs, over-the-top violence, and everything a Deadpool fan would want it to be. The pacing is fast and steady without creating a dull moment where you could fall asleep in the theater.
Again, this film isn’t for everyone. As I mentioned, it is Rated-R, and for good reason. There are foul and crude jokes, strong language, and sexual content. It all blends in with the tone they set from the very beginning, but some people may be turned off by it. If that doesn’t bother you, you’ll love how it takes pride in it’s R-Rating and flaunts it well. DEADPOOL is a fresh, new take on the Superhero genre that will have you quoting it for days with your pals and even have you leaving the theatre humming “Shoop” by Salt-N-Pepa.
And don’t forget to stay after the credits. There may be a surprise there as well…