“Deadpool” is the product of a new breed of superhero — and I’m using that word lightly — movies that pushes the boundaries of the genre and delivers a new, unique take on the masked crime fighter.
A mouthy anti-hero created in 1991 by Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza, Deadpool is the rare modern character that has hit it huge, culminating now with this film.
Played perfectly by Ryan Reynolds (technically, he’s reprising the role from “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” but we’ll get back to this later), Deadpool is a wisecracking “Merc with a Mouth,” with a pepperoni pizza face, who wants to get revenge on Francis (Ed Skrein), even drawing little comic pictures about murdering him.
The film, which frequently jumps from the present time to flashbacks, is a kinetic, ultra-violent, filthy and hilarious experience that delivers a wild ride of a story. It’s filled with fun, riotous moments and some clever cinematic techniques from first-time director Tim Miller, as well as a witty, fourth-wall-breaking script by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick.
The opening sequence is a prime example, setting the tone of the film from the first seconds, with a freeze frame of an action sequence. The camera circles around the static action with flippant jokes about the cast and crew, not to mention one of Reynolds’ previous, much-maligned roles.
In a flashback, it’s revealed that Wade Wilson, aka Deadpool, is a former soldier turned mercenary who spends his time at a bar for thugs, run by his buddy Weasel (T.J. Miller), taking on gigs like stopping a stalker from preying on a young girl. Wilson finally finds happiness with his girlfriend Vanessa (Morena Baccarin, in a role that certainly won’t pass the Bechdel test). Their romance soon comes to a screeching halt, but we’ll leave that spoiler alone.
The film does tie in directly with the current “X-Men” franchise, with appearances of Xavier’s Westchester mansion and two X-Men. As mentioned earlier, yes, Reynolds did play Deadpool in the first Wolverine film, but that interpretation is 2009. This version is lightyears away from that, and aligns much closer to the comic books. The film does acknowledge it in a wonderfully silly way.
As the superhero film genre continues to grow and grow and grow — there are five more coming out this year alone — it’s a great sign that the films are starting to feel unique. “Deadpool” is startlingly original and fun, a parade of violence and potty humor that will leave you desperate for more. Oh, and stick around through the credits, it’s well worth your time.
Directed by Tim Miller
Starring Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, T.J. Miller