Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, TJ Miller, Ed Skrein, Stefan Kapicic, Gina Carano, Brianna Hildebrand | Written by Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick | Directed by Tim Miller
The merc with the mouth has finally gotten his movie. After years of false starts, internet rumors, and ‘leaked’ video clips the movie many thought would never actually get made has finally hit theaters. Fans will find Deadpool is well worth the wait as the character they love is fully represented in all his fourth wall breaking glory.
Even in a cinematic world flooded with superheroes Deadpool has found a new niche not yet tapped. Full of raw language, brutal violence, and sheer insanity it is not at all interested in appealing to the broad Avengers or Batman audience. In fact it as if it was purposely manufactured by diehard fans to create the purest comic book page to screen representation possible. A goal that was undoubtedly achieved.
That triumph also has its drawbacks. Like it is title character the film is relentless in every sense of the word. Those that have grown tired of the Deadpool sense of humor may be heading for the door before the opening credits conclude. If you are the type of person who despises witty quipping, pop culture referencing, and over the top antics you would be better off focusing your attention elsewhere.
Story wise it as straight forward as can be. Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick’s script takes the typical superhero origin story and trims it down even further than usual. Ryan Reynolds plays Wade Wilson an ex-Special Forces solider now low level mercenary. After being diagnosed with cancer that will shortly claim his life he reaches out to some shady characters for a possible cure. While they are able to cure his cancer through horrendous medical torture, the aftereffects leave him a heavily scared and deformed. Angered over what he has become Wade Wilson, now taking the name Deadpool, seeks revenge of the doctor who wronged him.
Comic book movies today tend to be overly convoluted so there is a welcome change of pace seeing one that does not get lost in its own story. In a way it is not much more than an extended chase scene with a super origin sandwiched in-between. It very much comes off as a first issue of a comic book solely designed to introduce a new character to the world—where the story is shrunk to bite size portions in order to give us the sample taste of what this new character is all about.
As many comic book movies do it suffers from a lack of a compelling villain. Ed Skrein gives a good enough performance as the malice mad doctor who goes by the obvious pseudonym Ajax. His self-professed Britishness and callous demeanor are the ideal personality traits for the foil of Deadpool. Ultimately he is a character that is quickly forgettable. He is less of an arch villain and more of a person sized punchline for Deadpool to hurl hilarious insults at.
One of the most surprising aspects of Deadpool is that it has one of the most successful relationships in any comic book movie, and no I’m not talking about the relationships between Deadpool and Weasel. Morena Baccarin, who plays Vanessa, has some strong onscreen chemistry with Reynolds. They have an interesting twist on the meet-cute scenario as they bond over who really has the most messed up life. To the films credit it is able to find a way use its sense of humor to make this relationship matter. Instead of trying to force a PG love story in an R rated film they show love can be formed in the strangest of ways.
Ultimately Deadpool finds its success in its unyielding focus on being as entertaining as possible. There is a shameless quality about the way it never tries to make Deadpool something that he is not. It celebrates his juvenile sense of humor and violent tendencies. Ryan Reynolds is so perfect for this role it is easy to overlook how great he is because you have to remind yourself he is not actually the title character. He is playing a role. The role he was born to play. Here is hoping he gets to play that role again and again.