Movie Review: “Deadpool” – Uncompromising Success

Written by Jesse Gelinas February 18, 2016

Deadpool, and the only two mutants the studio could afford to use.

“Cue the music.”

I’m sure by now we’re all getting a little tired of Hollywood being bogged down with countless Superhero movies. Reboots, and sequels, and connected universes are all the rage these past fifteen years since X-Men made us take comic books seriously, and Iron Man became Marvel’s flagship. Well, after almost a decade and a half of Avengers and X-Men, we are finally getting something a little different. A little less Shake-Weighty, and a little more Slap-Chop. Deadpool has landed, and he’s breaking bones, the fourth wall, and box office records in style.

Deadpool kicks off with our red-suited not-Spider-Man on his way to intercept a convoy of nameless baddies in search of his target, Francis. After firing exactly twelve shots, and slicing up a couple stragglers, we begin to see some flashbacks. Wade WIlson (Ryan Reynolds) is a former spec-ops operative turned mercenary with a heart of gold. After falling in love with a hooker (Morena Baccarin), Wade is diagnosed with cancer. Approached by a shady organization, he is soon taken away and experimented on until he mutates. This transformation makes him nigh unkillable, and completely disfigured. Armed with his newfound powers, Wade goes on a rampage to find the man who made him and hopefully get back the girl of his dreams.

“I had a Liam Neeson nightmare. I kidnapped his daughter and he just wasn’t having it.”

Now, after reading the above you think you have a pretty standard superhero setup, and you’re right. It’s a simple, straightforward story. But that’s not the point. Deadpool is and has always been a comic book superhero, and his movie is a pretty standard origin story. But where it excels in the execution. Deadpool is a unique character among the Marvel roster, and he needs to be handled with passion and respect for the source. This was the big downer of the not-so-loved X-Men Origins: Wolverine take on the character. The “Merc with the mouth” literally had his mouth sewn shut, and all funny and unique aspects of his personality taken away. The one thing Origins got right was the casting. But don’t think that means it gets through this movie unscathed.

Negasonic Teenage Warhead in Deadpool

“Negasonic Teenage–what the shit? That’s the coolest name ever!”

Ryan Reynolds slips into Deadpool’s shoes (and shiny red spandex) with such ease that he seems born for the role. His trademark swagger and comedic timing are a perfect match for the zany and vulgar antihero. The film effectively splits Deadpool and Wade into two separate performances, and both manage to showcase the character’s layers and Reynolds’ range. Wade (pre-Deadpool) is fast-talking and smug, but shows incredible rage when he is disfigured by his captors. We even get to see his sweet, charming, whirlwind romance with Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) evolve through a series of graphic sex scenes (perfectly validating the Valentine’s weekend release). But once the red suit goes on, the fourth wall comes down and Deadpool’s insanity comes out. Reynolds’ ability to capture Deadpool’s unique persona so well makes the film a successful adaptation immediately, and thankfully allows us to forget Origins and its crimes against comic fans.

“Deadpool… Captain Deadpool. No? Okay, just… just Deadpool.”

The humour is off the wall and hilarious. A couple bland jokes fail to land, but the rapid fire nature of the script leaves little time for boredom to set in. The jokes reference movies, TV, Reynolds’ own career, and frequently the Marvel and X-Men cinematic universes, which are lampooned constantly. Many of the scenes have an improv quality to them that helps make these damaged characters endearing. But honestly, that’s not hard. Deadpool and friends are all perfectly lovable. We even get two discount X-Men in the mix (Deadpool cracks that the studio couldn’t afford better ones), and they manage to hold their own against Deadpool’s comedy and breakneck pace.

Wade and Vanessa in Deadpool

Wade Wilson, pre-ugification.

If the film had one low point, it’s the villains. Ajax/Francis (Ed Skrein) and Angel Dust (Gina Carano) just never really seem that threatening or even interesting. But this has been a common problem for the opening film of a new hero franchise for a while now. So perhaps it’s the main aspect Deadpool shares with the other Marvel and Fox properties that it makes fun of. Of course, there are enough solid jokes and impressive fight scenes for you to forgive these small faults. Watching Colossus (finally played as a Russian) scold Deadpool for slicing faceless enemies in half is its own reward. The film also manages the best post-credit stinger since Nick Fury first approached Tony Stark about the Avengers Initiative.

“There’s 1600 kilos of cocaine buried somewhere in this apartment right next to the cure for blindness. Good luck.”

In the end, Deadpool breaks some new ground in this age of superhero superiority. It refuses to compromise. It refuses to put on kid gloves and cater to a PG audience. I’m not saying an R-rating and edgy dialogue is needed for quality. But for an R-rated character with an edgy persona, it is. There’s a reason this movie is breaking box office records (for February release, as well as R-rated release); people love to see beloved characters as they’re meant to be seen. Deadpool gets to come right off the page and onto the screen without concessions, and the result is a near perfect adaptation of a character just begging to be thrown into the big game that is the X-Men franchise, but on his terms. For now, give us Cable and let’s call it a win with “maximum effort.”

My Rating: 9/10

Deadpool theatrical poster

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About Jesse Gelinas

After years attempting to escape the Matrix, Jesse has accepted his fate as a writer and Senior Editor. Now that's he finished with his film degree, it gives him something to do while waiting for the machines to get careless.

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