Check out Our Almost Completely Spoiler-Free Deadpool Movie Review!
Some have described Deadpool, Fox’s newest entry in the extended X-Men franchise, as a game changer. Now, this might be a bit of hyperbole as Deadpool might not change the directions of Marvel, DC, or Fox’s superhero films, but don’t let that take away from the fact that Deadpool is a high quality superhero film blending superhero action with over the top risqué humor, effectively creating a film that is part effective actioner, and part over the top satire. Deadpool scratches all the itches the loyal fan base wants scratched and probably creates a new viable franchise for Fox, so color this one a success.
And let’s face it, after the Fantastic Four debacle, Fox needed a hit. Director Tim Miller delivers the superhero hit that star Ryan Reynolds has been searching for since Blade: Trinity. Miller crafts his action sequences (and there is a poop-ton of them) with the same skill he renders his quieter moments with. Deadpool is the complete experience. It isn’t all dick and fart jokes (there’s a poop-ton of those too) as there is a subtle humanity to this film that makes all the over the top action and blue jokes mean something. There is a purpose to the chaos and really, what more can one ask for?
Screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick are very aware of their audience. This is a film laced with pop culture references and effective millennial humor, owing as much to Beavis and Butthead as it does to the X-Men, but the combination of a steady stream of R-rated humor combined with crowd pleasing superhero moments should win over even the most ass-clenchy fan.
Listen, this is a rated-R movie. This is not for kids even if the X-Men are front and center. There are anal penetration jokes, dildo references, almost constant reference to masturbation, and lots of naked. This isn’t Vertigo Comics R this is Superbad R so keep the little mutants at home, huh?
So let’s get into story. Deadpool is a smartly told origin story. I say smartly because the film doesn’t wait to the middle of the second act to have Wade Wilson suit up. The film drops the viewer right into the film’s climatic chase sequence and goes back to explain the origins of all the players. By doing this, the film avoids origin fatigue and allows the exposition bits to be broken up by the funny and entertaining action pieces.
It also humanizes Wade Wilson so he isn’t in Bugs Bunny mode all the time. For a film that utilizes an almost constant stream of dick and ass jokes, there is a refreshing subtlety to some of the plot choices of this film. It’s like, when Wilson wears the Deadpool suit, all the world’s rules get broken. When the red and black comes out, we are in full Tex Avery mode, but when Wilson is out of costume, we’re typical but potent superhero territory. By doing this, the creators behind Deadpool keep the film from becoming just a one note experience; it gives the character room to breathe so when the wackiness happens, it’s not just joke after joke, cartoon kill after cartoon kill.
And make no mistake; Reynolds kills it in this film. He is every inch the Deadpool fans want, zany jester one moment, leading man hero the next. He and co-star Morena Baccarin have so much chemistry it’s ridiculous and their romance is totally believable. Baccarin’s Vanessa is not your typical damsel in distress and when she is in danger, the stakes seem very high because she is the linchpin of Wilson’s world. She is the only thing preventing him from becoming the killing machine in red and black and the only thing good left in Wilson’s shredded reality. Baccarin has become quite the genre darling and I’m so happy she is now part of an A-list film franchise to go with her A-list genre TV work.
Adding to the protagonist side of the cast is T.J. Miller who provides a constant stream of killer one-liners as Weasel and Leslie Uggams as the hilarious Blind Al. Sadly, Blind Al doesn’t get nearly enough screen time but her moments as Wilson’s confidant, foil, and roomie are offensive and inspired.
Now, this film is official X-Men canon so we should discuss the mutant part of our cast. This may not be the Colossus film that fans have been waiting for because the Peter Rasputin portrayed in Deadpool is kind of a one note joke, but the Russian man of steel is way closer to his comic counterpoint than he has been in any other X-Men film. Brianna Hildebrand’s Negasomic Teenage Warhead is also a great deal of fun. She may not have been the top of anyone’s list as far as mutants to be included in an X-film, but she kicks ass every time she is on screen. Hildebrand really plays the perfect ennui-laden millennial and it’s cool to see some mutants introduced in the Grant Morrison era get some film love.
Not so effective are the villainous side of our cast. We have Ed Skrein as the film’s antagonist Ajax and Gina Carano as Angel Dust. Both characters make for impressive looking figures, but both are incredibly one dimensional. The film never takes time to explain either characters’ motivations or desires and they really just serve as bodies for Deadpool and his pals to shoot, stab, punch, and bludgeon. Ajax carries some weight because he is responsible for Wilson’s transformation into ‘pool, but his character doesn’t move much beyond a cruel, Euro-trash d-bag.
But the villains don’t need to carry the story because let’s face it, we all bought tickets to see Deadpool and we get him in gloriously bloody spades. The fourth wall breaking enhances the film instead of distracts from it, and the creative minds behind Deadpool know when to lay-off with the jokes to allow the film to breath, and for characters to allow the viewer to care. The scenes where Wilson is dealing with cancer are particularly potent and the transformation into Deadpool borders on straight up horror, reminding one of V for Vendetta.
Deadpool is a load of fun but there is so much more to this film than the constant stream of dirty jokes and ultra violence. At some point, this film may have started out as a satire on the ever growing superhero genre, but somewhere along the lines it became a very capable and, dare I say it, moving comic book film in its own right.