THE “MERC WITH A MOUTH” IS BACK
(AND BETTER THAN EVER)
Deadpool. The man, the myth, the snarky attitude, and violent superhero. Created back in 1991 by writer Fabian Nicizea and artist / writer Rob Liefeld, Deadpool (Wade Wilson) a Marvel comics character that’s disfigured and mentally unstable mercenary with the superhuman ability of an accelerated healing factor and physical prowess. Personally, I’ve heard of the character of Deadpool before, but, until recently, I haven’t picked up a comic of his. After his previous “mad scientist creation” stint in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, I kept hearing that actor Ryan Reynolds (who played Wade Wilson in that movie) wanted to return to the character to create a feature that was similar to how the comics presented him as. Time passed and comic book movies came and went as divisions between studio claimed the rights to more comic superheroes (made for the big and small screen). Yet, not one touched Deadpool, deeming the character “too violent” to appeal to the masses as most comic books films are in the realm of PG-13 (pushing a R-rating, but never crossing over). Now, after years of waiting, and from a peculiar move from 20th Century Fox, the studio behind the X-Men movies, the iconic comic book character returns to the silver screen with his own origin story film Deadpool. With a lot of “pomp” and “anticipation” put into this movie, is this Deadpool movie really worth the hype or is it a just another failed attempt at a “edgy” superhero flick?
Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) is a mercenary with military background and makes a living doing odd jobs for people in need, reporting back to his only friend Weasel (T.J. Miller), a bar employee at Sister Margaret. Taken aback by the beautiful Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), Wade finds a romance connection in his lonely world, making marital plans for their future together. However, tragedy strikes Wade in the form of late-stage cancer, cutting their party short and putting him in a difficult position. Fearing for Vanessa’s heartbreak, Wade secretively enlists with a shadowy group dedicated to human experimentation (under the pretenses of finding a cure for his cancer), with Ajax (Ed Skrein) and Angel Dust (Gina Carano) in charge of their new recruit’s tests of mutant evolution. When Wade is betrayed and extremely experimented (disfiguring his body) by Ajax, he begins to plan his ultimate revenge on the man. Dawning a red costume and with a new name “Deadpool”, Wade tests out his new self-healing as he works his way up through Ajax’s known associates, while X-Men members Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) watch Deadpool actions closely, hoping that this new crime-fighter would consider of life of heroism and join their ranks.
THE GOOD / THE BAD
Bringing this iconic comic book character to life (again) is director Tim Miller, who previously directed several short films as well as being a visual effects designer for video games (i.e. Mass Effect 2, Hellgate: London, and Star Wars: The Old Republic); making Deadpool is first directional debut for full-length feature film. After his failed appearance in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, many comic books fans were intentionally leer of having the beloved Wade Wilson / Deadpool character back on the big screen for a second round, fearing that they would alter his twisted persona from the comics. Miller and his team of filmmakers (as well as actor Ryan Reynolds) wanted the same; to produce a tried and true movie that kept to the spirit of Deadpool snarky humor and violence ways. Sure enough, they pulled off in Deadpool.
Miller begins the superhero feature in hilarious fashion with a spectacular opening credits. Instantly died laughing when they began to continue to do so during the entire sequence. Just like the title credits sequences in Guardians of the Galaxy, it immediately sets the tone of the movie (even before the Deadpool himself even appears). Sure, did put a smile on my face. And just like Guardians of the Galaxy, Deadpool’s music selection is spot on, which added to the lighthearted and playful tone of the feature. Hearing past hit songs from Salt N’ Pepa to Juice Newton to DMX to Wham!, you’ll find the music selection for Deadpool quite enjoyable (and toe tapping). Even the movie’s score is pretty good, thanks to Junkie XL for composing it.
The movie’s comedy hits its intended mark wonderfully, with lines after lines of crude and crass humor that the character of Deadpool is quite knowing for in the comics. Reynolds aids in that endeavor, producing some of the best one-liners and put-downs in the movie and utilizes Deadpool’s twisted persona to handle such adult-oriented jokes and gags. To me, the best comedy parts in the movie is when Deadpool breaks “the fourth-wall”, providing some amusing commentary for us (the viewers) on what’s going on. Deadpool even jokes about 20th Century Fox, taking jabs at previous X-Men installments or at his own movie, which is hilarious. Like a lot of comedy movies, some jokes don’t land properly, but, as a whole, Deadpool’s hit ratio is great. I personally haven’t laughed so hard (or frequently) during a movie for quite some time. Coinciding with that, is the movie’s R-rated action, which is gleefully bloody and violent. Again, it works well in comics and sure does translate well for its usage in Deadpool. Its stylish and well-crafted choreograph action scenes throughout the movie, with Deadpool switching effortlessly between his katana swords and pistols, killing (sometimes in gory ways) with comical grace.
With that said, this isn’t a superhero movie made for kids. As a warning to parents (because I know them), this movie is choke full of crude jokes, crass gags, offensive remarks, and plenty of gory action violence. While I know superhero movies are extremely popular right now with kids, tweens, and young teenagers, Deadpool is not for them. Again, this isn’t a kids’ superhero movie and neither are the comics.
While the movie’s comedy works, one of the greatest reasons why the movie Deadpool succeeds is due to Ryan Reynolds performance as Wade Wilson. Reynolds, who’s proving that he can act in a comedy, action, or drama, perfect as Deadpool, showcasing being exuberant, char mastic, funny, and (particularly in this role) large-than-life. And that’s saying something as Reynolds, for most of the movie, is masked and in his full Deadpool costume, which looks almost identical to how it looks in the comics, including facial expressions. It even subtle helps that Reynolds has played the character of Wade Wilson before in X-Men Origins: Wolverine (even sort of jokes about to the camera). Whatever your stance on him as an actor is, there’s no denying it that Ryan Reynolds is Deadpool. No matter what.
While Reynolds does steal the movie’s spotlight (and justly so), he’s surrounded by a supporting cast that helps him in either comedy or drama to drive the jokes and story forward. Homeland and Firefly alum, Morena Baccarin plays Wade Wilson girlfriend / fiancé Vanessa. She definitely holds her own with Reynolds as the pair goes “tit for tat” with their witty banter, but sort of becomes the de facto “damsel-in-distress” by the third act. All in all, Baccarin does a good job. Perhaps the weakest “member” of the supporting cast is Ed Skrein as the film’s villain Ajax. Like his role in Transporter: Refueled, Skrein handles action oriented scenes well and looks part for his role, but his character fails to impress at being memorable or a titular threat to Deadpool; a combination deriving from both Skrein’s performance as well as film’s screenplay writers.
Anyway, aiding Ajax is Gina Carano as the tough-as-nails superhero / mutant Angel Dust, who definitely looks the part and does have a show-stopping battle against Colossus that’s funny and cool. Comedy actor, T.J Miller character Weasel offers plenty of funny moments, especially since most of his scenes are with Reynolds. Similarly, even though his part is small, I have to mention that actor Karan Soni character Dopinder, hapless taxi driver, is also funny in the movie, with his interactions with Deadpool of personal problems.
Adding to the superhero element of Deadpool, the movie casts a wider net, expanding into X-Men universe with two X-Men mutants in supporting roles. Fans of the comics will be pleased with Colossus, played by Stefan Kapicic, who, of course, looks very much so CGI in this movie rather than how he looked in previous X-Men movies (who was played by Daniel Cudmore). However, Deadpool’s Colossus is probably the closest representation (in look and personality) to what the character is in the comics as well as playing the classic “straight man” to Deadpool twisted bravado. Alongside Colossus, is X-Men newcomer Negasonic Teenage Warhead, played by Brianna Hildebrand, who has some cool powers and as that classic surly teenage attitude that plays perfect against Deadpool comedy banter. It’s interesting to see a character like Deadpool interact these two and makes really want to see how Reynold’s Deadpool would fit in future X-Men movies (i.e. in a grander story with a more serious ensemble cast). You never know….it could happen.
There were a couple of problems in Deadpool that hold it back from reaching exalted superhero greatness. First, the movie lacks scope. Whether Marvel, DC, or something else, most comic books movie have a grandness to them in either scope and / or scale. Unfortunately, Deadpool doesn’t, feeling small and compact compared to other comic features. Even Ant-Man felt bigger scope (and that was one of my criticism for the movie). Deadpool tries to even to expand its cinematic universe, with the inclusion within the X-Men’s universe (or rather 20th Centuries X-Men universe), but again still feels small in comparison to Marvel’s already established cinematic universe (i.e. Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Hulk, etc.) as well as DC’s upcoming cinematic universe. Adding to that scale aspect, Deadpool’s finale seems a little bit weak. Sure they’re plenty of “big, bang, boom” in its action and visuals as well as snarky banter, but it just seems a slightly lackluster (and disappointing) for such an iconic comic book character.
Lastly, even Deadpool can’t escape the comic book movie staple of having an after-credits scene (two in fact). Stay seated for them; there actually pretty funny.
Wade Wilson is back on the big screen and the masked superhero is funny as-you-know-what in his truest form yet. Miller’s Deadpool is a hilarious superhero movie that retains all the amusing crass one-liners as well as the stylish R-rated violence that fans of the comic books know and love of the beloved character. Though the movie does stumble in its scale and with a weak bad guy, I personally still found the movie to be enormously funa and entertaining with its off-beat humor, action violence, and absolute great performance from Ryan Reynolds. It’s definitely different and slightly refreshing in a cinematic age of comic book movie blockbusters. I highly recommended this movie to anyone who likes superhero movies and / or R-rated action / comedies. As I said above, this is a superhero movie that’s more geared towards older teens and adults, so leave the kids at home and bring them to a more appropriate superhero flick later on (i.e. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice or Captain America: Civil War). Wade Wilson / Deadpool was one-of-a kind in the world of Marvel comics and the movie Deadpool fits his twisted snarky mantra beautifully. Can’t wait for Deadpool 2.
4.3 Out of 5 (Highly Recommended)
Reviewed on February 12th, 2016
Deadpool is rated R for strong language and violence throughout, sexual content and graphic nudity