Deadpool is an entertaining, irreverent superhero movie with lots of heart and humor.
Deadpool stars Ryan Reynolds as Wade Wilson/Deadpool, an ex-Special Forces soldier who uses his superior fighting and tactical skills to make a living as a mercenary. One day, Wade meets escort Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), who takes a liking to Wade and the two begin a sweet (but also depraved) romance.
Wade’s luck takes a turn for the worst when he finds out that he has cancer in his liver, lungs, prostate, and brain. Motivated to keep Vanessa from watching him wither away, Wade enlists into an experimental/risky procedure, which is said to cure his cancer and unlock his dormant mutant abilities. Little does he know that the heads of this operation—Ajax (Ed Skrein) and Angel Dust (Gina Carano)—plan to brings loads of pain to his body for the mutant transformation to take place and, soon after, will sell him as a super slave—wherein he can never return to his home life or to Vanessa.
The experiment successfully cures Wade’s cancer, but leaves him disfigured. With a scarred face and remarkable healing abilities, Wade embarks on a mission to find Ajax, so he can fix his disfigured body—or at the least, die a slow painful death at the hands of Wade.
Deadpool serves as the culmination of actor Ryan Reynolds’s 11-year attempt to bring the eponymous character to the big screen. Reynolds has portrayed the character Deadpool before in X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), wherein the filmmakers drastically changed the beloved aspects of Deadpool’s character, resulting in die-hard fans vehemently hating and criticizing its iteration. Following this negative backlash of the character, Reynolds sought to do the character justice by continuing trying to get a Deadpool solo movie made. Success came when leaked test footage dropped online back in 2014, which led to Fox Studios backing the project. The result is an irreverent, funny superhero movie, springboarded by Reynold’s great performance, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick’s well-written screenplay, and Tim Miller’s well-helmed direction.
Ryan Reynolds, who put in a lot of work to get Deadpool made, delivers one of his best performances in years. The actor has had a bunch of hits and misses over the years, with The Green Lantern and RIPD being misses, while Safe House being a modest hit for the actor. Despite the negatively-criticized roles on his resume, Reynolds proves that with his quick wit and charm that he was born to play Deadpool. Through comic timing and several funny improvisations, Reynolds delivers many funny moments in the film. As Deadpool, watching Reynolds spew out meta humor and fourth-wall breaking humor is fun to watch and should excite comic book and die-hard Deadpool fans alike—thanks to Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick’s script.
Screenwriters Reese and Wernick infuse Deadpool with hysterical dirty jokes, an authentic love story, and meta-commentary on superhero movies. Deadpool spews dirty jokes and crude humor all throughout the film, but supporting characters such as Deadpool’s fiancé Vanessa and Deadpool’s friend Weasel steal the spotlight and offer up a lot of funny humor and witty banter. The talented performers Morena Baccarin (Vanessa) and T.J. Miller (Weasel) play well off Reynolds and share excellent screen chemistry with him. As Vanessa, Baccarin is a great female counterpart to Wade, exchanging sarcastic witticism with Reynold’s Wade. With Wilson and Vanessa developing an authentic relationship, their love story is a great narrative thread in the film. This romantic plot thread is arguably better than romantic subplots in other superhero movies (like Thor). In terms of the meta commentary in Deadpool, Wernick and Reese hold up a magnifying glass to the superhero genre and poke fun at genre expectations and the current state of superhero franchises. Watching Deadpool make fun of himself and the X-Men characters (Colossus and Negasonic) is engaging to watch, especially when he makes references to X-Men actors (read: Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Patrick Stewart). This meta humor should enthrall comic book fans and die-hard fans of superhero movies in general.
It is disappointing to say that Deadpool’s meta humor is a drawback. Deadpool offers a lot of fan service and will appeal more to die-hard fans of the source material and the superhero genre, but will turn off non-superhero fans who don’t understand the meta-humor interjections. Whereas a film like Guardians of the Galaxy provides humor for every viewer—comic book fan, superhero nerd, casual filmgoer—and includes everyone on the joke, Deadpool unintentionally excludes casual filmgoers with its references to a point where some may be confused by what characters are referring to. Nevertheless, casual viewers can enjoy a lot from Deadpool, as the character throws in dirty remarks in between the action set-pieces.
Deadpool serves as an impressive feat for Tim Miller’s directorial debut. Miller served as creative director and second unit director for films The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Thor: The Dark World as well as visual effects supervisor for video games Mass Effect 2 and Star Wars: The Old Republic. From his experience, Miller has clearly gained technical prowess to helm Deadpool and it shows with every frame. Deadpool’s action sequences are shot in a kinetic fashion, giving the film a brisk pace. Furthermore, Miller and the visual effects team successfully implement CGI with practical environments. To that end, the organic steel Colossus seamlessly blends with the environment, making his action sequences with the film’s characters entertaining to watch.
On the supporting front, actors Morena Baccarin and TJ Miller successfully embody Vanessa and Weasel, respectively. As indicated, Baccarin delivers a solid performance as Vanessa. As the character, Baccarin makes Vanessa not only just a pretty face, but also a funny, charismatic person. Vanessa’s funny interplay with Wade shows that Baccarin has the acting talent to back up her stunning looks. TJ Miller, as Weasel, has limited screen time, but impresses in the time he’s given.
X-Men character actors Stefan Kapicic and Brianna Hildebrand do a solid job of playing Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead, respectively. Kapicic provides the voice for Colossus and in doing so helps make Colossus into an honorable hero. Colossus’s interplay with Deadpool shows how the two are foils of each other, which in a way creates an interesting character dynamic between them. Hildebrand manages to impress as Negasonic, especially in the film’s third act.
On the villain side, Ed Skrein plays a solid antagonist in the film. As Ajax, Skrein embodies the villain role with his mischievous smiles and convincingly threatening monologues. As a result, Ajax is a great adversary for Deadpool, galvanizing our hero into deeper self-evaluation. Gina Carano is fitting good as the tough Angel Dust. The role called for Carano to be tough, which isn’t much of a stretch for the MMA fighter-turned-actress—though admittedly, Carano does make the role her own.
Deadpool is an entertaining, irreverent superhero movie with lots of heart and humor. The movie provides a lot of funny scenes with gut-busting humor and dirty gags. That said, Deadpool isn’t for everyone and will turn off sensitive viewers. In addition, some of the jokes and superhero references in the film will come across as hit-or-miss for casual viewers. Nevertheless, Deadpool offers a lot of broad humor to make up for its esoteric subject matter.
Rating: 4 out of 5
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