In this golden age of Superhero films, you can easily say there’s never been such a high demand from die hard fans to see their favorite comic book character brought to life on the big screen in their truest forms. However many films have failed to deliver that in the past- not that we’re naming any of those (FANTASTIC FOUR, GREEN LANTERN, ETC), and some might continue to do so in the future. But we’re not here to talk about those movies, we’re here to talk about Deadpool. Fans have been begging for a film including the Regenerating Degenerate for the longest time and we got one a few years back (well, kind of) with X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Sadly, this was a pitiful take on the character and pretty much everyone has tried their best to remove that horrific image from their minds, and now they can with this year’s release of the first proper portrayal of the Merc With a Mouth.
[WARNING: This is a review, and reviews have spoilers. Unless you want the film ruined for you, GO WATCH IT FIRST, THEN COME READ THIS. Thank you.]
The plot behind this film is pretty straight forward without being extremely generic and formulaic. We have a mercenary named Wade Wilson, a guy who takes out bad guys for a price. Our mercenary eventually finds love in Vanessa Carlysle (played by Morena Baccarin), a beautiful and lighthearted prostitute who shares a similar tormented past to Wilson. They get together and have a euphoric (albeit brief) relationship. Then the news that Wade has late-stage cancer comes, and to prevent Vanessa from having to suffer losing him over time, he leaves to go partake in an experimental procedure which he’s told will unlock his dormant mutant abilities, while also curing his cancer simultaneously.
Obviously though, that sweet deal ended up being not so sweet. The experiment was overseen by two former experimentees- Francis aka “Ajax” (Ed Skrein), a ruthless and sadistic scientist and Angel Dust (Gina Carano), his brooding and not-so-talkative henchwoman who served as the muscle in the duo. After putting Wilson under multiple twisted and hideous test to try and bring his mutant abilities to the forefront, our household cleaner named friend Ajax takes drastic measures and subdues Wilson to the most extreme forms of punishment -mostly because he’s been annoyed by Wilson’s wisecracks the whole time- and of course it finally succeeds, but with some horrific side effects. Wilson is left looking like- and i quote- “a testicle with teeth”.
Now, gifted with superhuman abilities, Wilson is on a mission to find Ajax (read: Francis) and have him reverse the physical aspects of his mutation so he can return to his beloved Vanessa as his usual good-looking self. So he dons a red and black suit and the name Deadpool, and the rest is history.
Calling this a superhero film is almost wrong. Deadpool is far from a hero, he’s a mercenary who occasionally does good deeds when he wants to. This movie does a stellar job of blending the right amount of action, comedy, and even a bit of romance, making viewers experiencing a good variety of things in this oneproduction.
The writers didn’t hold back with packing this film with obscenities and crude humor- two things vital to any project involving Deadpool. Getting his character right is no simple task. One of the best things about Deadpool is the fact that he knows he’s a comic book character, and that adds a whole other dimension to the storytelling, and could easily be done wrong if not done carefully. However, they managed to pull it off almost with ease. Some of the best lines they included were those involving references to other Superhero films (i.e. Green Lantern and X-Men ). On a not so positive note, while this film did make the Merc with a Mouth include some of his classic vulgar wisecracks and signature fourth-wall breaking (another quintessential component), some fans could argue that there wasn’t enough as there should’ve been, making the experience somewhat lackluster.
Despite the few weaknesses the film had, it had a strong cast behind it. The villains were plausible, tenacious and menacing, even if one of them had just about eight lines in the whole movie. Wilson’s girlfriend, Vanessa, was never short of jokes and adult humor and definitely stood out more than the other supporting roles, as she should have. On the other hand Weasel (played by T.J. Miller) and Deadpool’s roommate Blind Al (Leslie Uggams) were both very true to their comic book counterparts and weren’t too crucial to the story, but they didn’t need to be. They were just along to provide some additional laughs here and there. Then we had our two mutant supporting acts- Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand). Both mutants were ample contributions to this film and helped bridge the gap between Deadpool and the X-Men franchise, letting us know we can expect to see some Deadpool/mutant team-ups at some point. And while naming off all these important cast members, we can’t exclude the film’s leading man: Ryan Reynolds. Reynolds has a shadow of botched Superhero roles hanging over his head (Blade: Trinity, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Green Lantern, and R.I.P.D.), but all of those roles can now easily be forgotten after seeing how much effort he put into this one, and just the movie as a whole. It would still be in production limbo if he didn’t push so hard to get it off the ground. He played this character perfectly, as if he was born for this role.
Deadpool’s first solo outing is all you could hope for and more. The film itself wasn’t very lengthy, but it didn’t need to be. It delivered as it should have. To casual viewers, this could seem like a generic Superhero film, but most viewers will appreciate almost everything that this production had to offer. They did a great job of creating a strong relationship between Reynolds’ and Baccarin’s characters. This gave fans a chance to see Deadpool as a human and not just a costumed killing machine. Director Tim Miller, the writers and even Ryan Reynolds himself managed to balance an almost perfect amount of comedy, romance, and Quentin Tarantino-style bloody action sequences that fans enjoyed. There was plenty of special moments for die hard fans (like the always-appreciated Stan Lee cameos), and also, for the female viewers – and maybe some male ones too- the occasional crotch shots for everyone to enjoy. This film also just crushed the opening weekend sales record for any R-rated film by bringing in a surprising $135 million, a title previously held by The Matrix Reloaded (2003). All in all, Deadpool sets a high standard for the franchise, and now that we know there’s already a sequel on the way- and a longtime X-Men, Cable, is going to be involved- we can only imagine what they’ll have in store next time for our favorite foul-mouthed anti-hero.
Deadpool receives a 9.3 out of 10 from Superhero Task Force.
Deadpool is now in theaters.