Deadpool’s history from page-to-screen is almost as chaotic and unorganized as Deadpool’s stream-of-consciousness. The character is a recent addition to the X-Men universe on page but his first iteration was by Ryan Reynolds in X-Men: The Last Stand, and that went over about as well as a rotting bag of gas station chimichangas. The “Merc With A Mouth” found his mouth literally sewed shut and reworked into being a low-level henchman. To put it into perspective, the previous incarnation of Deadpool was about as accurate a representation of the source material as 1997’s Batman & Robin was of Bane. There wasn’t a shred of the character traits in there, and it was as wasted as it was misunderstood.
The reception of Wolverine: Origins put the X-Men films on their own awkward path back to glory. X-Men First Class, Days of Future Past, and even The Wolverine have put together a cohesive vision for the films that only gets away with it because time travel and paradox are inherent to the comics they are based on. But after leaked Deadpool concept footage dropped in 2012 the internet got ahold of it and reception was so overwhelmingly positive that Fox Studios eventually greenlit a Deadpool film. This is the same Fox studios that had the universally loathed Fantastic Four last August.
However from the start, Deadpool’s marketing accurately and effectively sold the film. It was clear director Tim Miller knew exactly what made the character work so well and he wasn’t shy about that. They also somehow got the suit right, an aspect that either works really well or fails miserably. Even the test footage was reworked into an actual scene in the film. So, now that Deadpool is finally out in theaters, how did it do?
I’m very happy to say that Ryan Reynolds finally got the make the Deadpool film he and fans have been desperate for. Deadpool is gratuitously violent, foul-mouthed, unabashedly sexy, and it all just works.
The film follows the exploits of the Merc With A Mouth, Wade Wilson. Wilson is a former special ops (aren’t they all) turned low-level thug who spends his time collecting chump change on easy gigs. The one thing he’s adamant that he isn’t is a hero. Things go on the up for Wilson when he meets Vanessa. They have a passionate romance fueled by lots of sex, and as things look up, Wilson is diagnosed with cancer.
Wilson undergoes a less than safe procedure to cure his cancer, which does work, but also leaves him permanently scarred. He’s disfigured by villainous Ajax, who assures him that he’ll never become a superhero as was advertised, but a super slave instead. This all sets Wilson on a path to get his revenge against Ajax, and from there you can probably guess the rest.
Deadpool is an origin story, but thankfully it’s told in a non-linear fashion, so we don’t spend 45 minutes waiting for him to put his costume on. Which shows how solid the script is. The movie is only an hour and forty minutes long, but it feels perfectly paced. It’s still an origin story, so total newcomers to Deadpool won’t have any trouble following along, but for the die hard, it wastes no time.
As for the dialogue? They get it. Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick’s script is as dirty and crude as you would hope for. Avoid the trailers though, some of the best lines are in the many red band trailers that are on YouTube. But Deadpool makes all the crude, sassy, bitchy, mean, funny, and self-aware comments you can make. Reynolds as well, who spends half the film behind a mask, has pitch-perfect delivery. You’re never in doubt as to what his attitude or face looks like under the mask because he sells every line. This character was always meant for Reynolds to play.
It’s also worth noting that the film is as much a love story as it is a revenge film. Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) is as much a mental match for Wilson as she is a physical one. I do think their story was a little too predictable, but still thoroughly enjoyable. Reynolds and Baccarin have terrific chemistry.
Ed Skrein is also a terrifically dickish villain who also thankfully proves to be a competent adversary for Deadpool. Brianna Hildebrand and Stefan Kapicic do fine as Negasonic Teenage Warhead and Colossus respectively, though I miss the original X2 Colossus myself. Once again, Gina Carano proves she has a presence but is used more for her physicality rather than her acting, though she and Colossus do have a great moment during their showdown.
Deadpool just gets it, and gets it from the start. The film as a whole is a pretty digestible superhero origin story. You’ll probably leave remembering the many one-liners and the character interactions (all of which are top-notch – especially TJ Miller) rather than the action, though the action is bloody and violent enough to still stand out. Most of the fights are more gunplay and fisticuffs rather than superhero action, a nice change of pace from what we normally get. The film has already broken box-office records to be the number 1 R-rated film opening of all-time, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens when Deadpool gets a bigger budget. Maybe we’ll see more X-Men? One thing is for certain, the long-awaited X-Force movie finally has a realistic shot at being made.
Filthy, foul, funny superhero entertainment.9
Acting score 8
Story score 9
Music & SFX score 8