With year after year of superhero overload, it was only a matter of time before somebody tried to flip the formula on its side and bust up a very by-the-numbers genre. Enter – Deadpool. He’s rude, crude and socially unacceptable, yet somehow this merc with a mouth finds fans pulling for him to save the day. He’s an anti-hero, and Deadpool tries its best to be the anti-superhero movie and in some ways, succeeds. It’s definitely a refreshing change of pace with a more targeted adult audience. Deadpool has enough f-bombs to match its ultra-heavy body count.
Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) is the nihilistic, wisecracking gun for hire who spends most of his time busting balls in an underground bar ran by his equally sarcastic buddy Weasel (T.J. Miller). Then, out of nowhere, Wilson becomes smitten with an edgy new love interest Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) and it’s time to show just how R-rated this superhero flick really is. A comedic montage of gratuitous sexual escapades between the two follows “furthering the plot” and showing us how the two’s courtship bloomed radioactively. Wilson’s newfound happiness is abruptly halted when he finds out he has late stage terminal cancer. Cue the mystery man that comes to the bar to recruit Wilson, offering him a cure that would in turn make him into a super soldier. Out of options, the desperate mercenary agrees to the treatment unknowingly ran with ulterior motives by the evil Ajax (Ed Skrein). When the experimental treatment goes awry and exposes Wilson’s body to over mutation, Wilson is permanently disfigured and left for dead in a lab fire. He then emerges to dawn the red and black mask, but somehow still retains the smart ass sensibilities as he hunts down the man who made him into a disfigured monster. He even gets a helping hand from some other marvel mutants in Colossus (Andre Tricoteux) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) “The only two X-Men the studio could afford,” quips Deadpool.
Deadpool is a character that is a hell of a lot of fun, and being an avid reader of Rob Liefield’s X-Force comics as a teenager, I knew what to expect and I think director Tim Miller and company did right by this interpretation of the smart ass anti-hero. There’s a lot of fast-talking action and quite a few fourth wall breaks ala Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, but as a whole, the hard-R action comedy that is poking fun at the genre it reluctantly still belongs to, ends up not being quite satirical enough. Among all the rapid fire punchlines aimed at the other family-friendly PG-13 marvel flicks, the movie ends up becoming all of those stereotypes it roasts. Maybe that is calculated irony from the writing team, but Deadpool loses a bit of its bite because of that. Owing a lot more to the action flicks of the late 80’s where T&A + body count = box office, Deadpool at times feels like a Shane Black misfire that the studio had shelved, but that’s not necessarily the worst thing in the world.
There’s a good energy throughout most of the running time and it’s got a lot of fun moments, but Deadpool is uneven and lacks key ingredients for it to truly hit on all satirical cylinders. One thing that is not lacking though, is Ryan Reynolds. He carries this flick and even though half of the throw mud at the wall to see what sticks one liners are sub-par his delivery elevates the material and he finally gets his superhero redemption. He’s the smart ass’s smart ass, and he can finally ditch the green stigma and become a card carrying member of the list of fan boy approved super dudes. I’m anxious to see more onscreen from Deadpool. I applaud the team for bringing a new angle to a saturated medium, but I just hope next time he gets to go full satire and cooks that chimichanga right!
Also – next time more Negasonic Teenage Warhead, less Colossus. Please and thank you.