“Crime’s the disease, meet the cure. Okay, not the cure, but more like a topical ointment to reduce the swelling and itch.” This line aptly describes what the first ever live action, R-rated Deadpool movie is in comparison to the majority of mundane action blockbusters polluting cinema today. The film insists that it is a “different kind of superhero movie”, and let’s be honest here; can you name me a comic book movie that is profane, violent, 4th-wall-breaking and generously humorous, and manages to do all of that really well?
Deadpool tells the story of Special Forces veteran Wade Wilson, who signs up for a top-secret program in hopes of curing his cancer, but emerges “totally indestructible and completely unfuckable”, bent on finding the villainous Ajax. While the premise of a vengeful and battered fighter is one all too familiar, there is still a lot of material in Deadpool’s script that compensates for that. The film is told in a non-linear way reminiscent of Memento, with flashbacks explaining the origins of Deadpool and the subsequent events spliced between Deadpool’s showdown with Ajax and his henchmen. Though said showdown is one of the weaker scenes in the film, overall, the story and pacing of Deadpool was well-executed.
Without question, the biggest strength of Deadpool is Ryan Reynolds’ brilliant performance as the eponymous katana wielding, foulmouthed anti-hero. It’s clear that he’s having the time of his life delivering an incarnation of Deadpool that fans will enjoy throughout the ages. Both Reynolds and the creative team seem to be joyously atoning for (and scoffing at) the failures of X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Green Lantern. They have taken great care in referencing Deadpool’s traits faithfully from the comics, including his schizophrenic personality, invincibility in battle and nonchalant usage of violence.
While Reynolds utters many of the profane and hilarious one-liners in the movie, his posse, comprised of his wife Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), friend Weasel (T.J. Miller) and roommate Blind Al (Leslie Uggams), aren’t afraid to join him in such expletive-filled conversations, and the result is great on-screen chemistry. Also on Deadpool’s side are Colossus, a well-known member of the X-Men, and Negasonic Teenage Warhead, who are lovably irritating in their attempt to convince Deadpool to be more of a hero. The trio fight against Ajax (Game of Thrones graduate Ed Skrein) and his super-strong henchwoman Angel Dust (MMA star Gina Carano): a duo that while reminiscent of Goldfinger and Oddjob, lack the charisma that made the original pair so iconic.
As mentioned above, director Tim Miller displays notable respect towards the comics and characters, and is visibly confident in mockingly recreating and dissing the various clichés of superhero flicks. I should also mention that, considering how difficult it is to portray Deadpool without making him annoying, Miller and his creative team did a great job in that regard. Although Miller has yet to find his directorial style in his future films, his technical expertise he brings from his work in visual effects (Star Wars: The Old Republic) and opening titles (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo) is in full bloom. In addition to Junkie XL’s blazing score, Deadpool’s soundtrack contains quite an eclectic mix of songs, from hip-hop (Shoop, by Salt-n-Pepa) to R&B/soul (Hit The Road Jack, by Ray Charles), as well as two very famous old school pop classics: Angel of the Morning, by Juice Newton, and Careless Whisper, by Wham!.
While Deadpool is not the best comic book movie ever made, nor is it Citizen Kane, it is nonetheless one of the best, and has kicked off 2016 to a great start. It delivered everything the trailers promised, was an unapologetically fun watch, and was both a great origins story for Deadpool as well as a great tie-in into the X-Men/Marvel universe. Say goodbye to X-Men Origins: Wolverine, because the chimichangas are nice and spicy this time.