Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, T.J. Miller, Ed Skrein, Gina Carano, Stefan Kapicic, Brianna Hildebrand, Karan Soni, Leslie Uggams, Jed Rees | Screenplay by: Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick | Director: Tim Miller
It’s here. It’s really here.
From his first appearance in New Mutants #98 to his transformative run written by Joe Kelly in the mid 1990s and a bunch of madcap adventures since, Deadpool has amassed a popularity few heroes ever experience. Still, cinematically, the Regenerating Degenerate remains the odd man out. Clearly not a recognizable name among the pantheon of heroes to the average joe, Deadpool has the greatest opportunity this Valentine’s Day weekend to gain an even larger following and given the graphic nature of his inaugural film, moviegoers will certainly not forget what ridiculousness flashed before their eyes.
Essentially there’s this sassy jerk named Wade Wilson (Reynolds) who spends his time taking on odd jobs distributed by his handler/bartender Weasel (T.J. Miller). During one random brow-beating whiskey slugging night, Wilson catches the eye of an equally depraved yet charismatic rogue named Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) and the two hit it off like gangbusters.
Without question, there is no one else on the face of this planet who can be Deadpool but Ryan Reynolds. As many fans and even casual comic book readers can attest, Ryan and Wade are practically one and the same. Everything you expect from Deadpool happens, thanks to Reynolds’ desire to be as faithful to the comic as one can be (under the supervision of the MPAA). Fourth wall breaking, references to Green Lantern, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and even the MCU, a plethora of easter eggs …they’re all there!
In all its lewdness and whimsy, Deadpool takes a decidedly somber turn during his origin when Wade discovers that he’s riddled with cancer. Baccarin shines during these particularly dark scenes; until the beginning of the 2nd act, like Wade, Vanessa was essentially Wilson’s mirror. Upon discovering their love in trading increasingly vulgar barbs, the couple quickly form a profound emotional bond despite the cursory appearance of their relationship. Wilson’s sudden turn for the worse propels Vanessa into a superhero in her own right, thrusting her to become a formative partner that is unwilling to accept the inevitable until all alternatives have been spent.
Wade eventually draws upon Vanessa’s strength to fight his pervasive disease. Unfortunately for him, he chooses quite possibly the worst option this side of a HMO. Enter Ajax (Ed Skrein), your run-of-the-mill psychopathic mutant who moonlights as an armchair geneticist. Ajax’s latest scheme in the arms business involves forcibly activating the mutant genes of the desperate and disenfranchised, then selling them off as enhanced slaves. Sounds like a hefty role but there isn’t much to Ajax save for his tumultuous final battle with ‘Pool.
Pool’s revenge against Ajax is paper-thin at times, as there was nothing discerning about Wade’s experiences in the facility except for his big mouth. Wilson’s abrasive attitude during his “trials” is enough to put the seemingly collected Ajax over the edge and add an extra amount of torture into Wade’s regiment. Regrettably, the predictability of Deadpool was high as the fate of the villain was nearly assured from the first moment he flashed across the screen.
Skrein does provide a foreboding physical presence but like many recent action films, the antagonist isn’t even close to an intimidating character. To be fair, there isn’t much Skrein has to work with so he’s resorted to looking tough and acting British. His assistant/muscle Angel Dust (Gina Carano) doesn’t fair any better and is completely devoid of personality. ‘Pools allies in the X-Men – Colossus (Stefan Kapicic/Greg LaSalle) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) – also suffer a similar fate albeit the pair provide a noticeably effective foil to Wilson’s slapstick and emotional outbursts.
It’s understandable and quite deserving that Reynolds receives greater screen time to perfectly deliver all the wisecracks and sharp one-liners he can muster. After all it is his movie. Wade’s antics, however, overpower many moments to the point that it completely diminishes the gravity of specific scenes. This, along with the lopsided characterization between Deadpool and his mutant allies and rogues is very apparent.
The only person free to roam is Dopinder (Karan Soni), an amiable taxi driver who takes Wade’s advice about romance to heart and gets himself into his own brand of trouble.
For all its pallidness in plot and characterization, Deadpool remains a highly entertaining film. The faults are glaring, yet they are acceptable as they do not disrupt the limited storyline. Just accept the film for what it is. Simply put, Deadpool is a love note for his most fervent readers and fans. The casual movie-goer will enjoy it as is – an ultraviolent actioner that’s rife with toilet humor. This film isn’t a revelation or vanguard for FOX’s future comic book adaptations as many Marvel cinephiles and critics hoped. Nonetheless, Deadpool deserves his chance to shine due to his immense popularity and Reynolds’ genuine zeal for the character.
Deadpool is a fun film that tickles one’s funny bone, along with other unsavory body parts. However, some scenes and humorous moments rush by so fast in Tim Miller’s kinetic direction, the audience isn’t able to fully appreciate all that is rushing by them. Additionally, the characterization among the supporting characters is lacking which discounts audiences from establishing a more visceral connection, other than watching them beat each other to death. It definitely doesn’t disturb the frenetic energy of the film.