Entertainment » Movies


by Kevin Taft
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Friday Feb 12, 2016
Ryan Reynolds stars in 'Deadpool'
Ryan Reynolds stars in 'Deadpool'  (Source:Twentieth Century Fox)

Wildly irreverent yet unusually (but insignificantly) slight, Marvel's latest superhero offering is unlike any they have presented us before.

Based on the popular character born into the Marvel world in the early '90s, "Deadpool" is a wise-cracking, fourth-wall breaking, nutbag with a score to settle. Completely aware that he is in a superhero movie, yet still actively a part of the fictional Marvel Universe, Wade Wilson (a.k.a. Deadpool) is a classic anti-hero that becomes simply a hero through the course of his origin story.

Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) is a hit man known for his litany of killings, yet also for his ability to do the right thing when it's called for. When he's hired to mess up a teenager cheating on his girlfriend he takes care of the job, but doesn't take the girl's payment because "I don't want her babysitting money." So he's a killer with a heart of gold -- and a tragic past.

Now, normally, a past as messed up as Wilson's would be the root of some depressing indie film starring a former Disney actor trying to prove themselves by not wearing makeup and having caked vomit on their lips. Here, Wilson's past is broached as a street sign to understand Wilson's psyche, but it's mostly used as a seduction between himself and a hooker named Vanessa ("Homeland's" Morena Baccarin). The two compare tragic pasts, each trying to out-disturb the other, until they realize that the both have f'd up histories and that kind of makes them compatible. The two fall in love, and one year later they are living in studio-loft bliss. But a tragic diagnosis sobers the couple, and Wilson makes a choice he will quickly regret.

I'll leave the details for audiences to discover, but suffice to say that what appears to be a hopeful solution to his health becomes a nightmare -- one that also comes with the superpower of healing. Basically, dude can't die. Or lose limbs. That said, he is also fairly horrific looking, so he immediately embarks on a revenge quest to find the man responsible for his new abilities and force him to provide a cure.

In the meantime, Wilson avoids seeing his girlfriend, then teams up with two X-Men mutants, Colassus (voiced by Stefan Kapicic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand). And while this all sounds very "origin-y" and not all that original, it is in the execution of the story where the fun lies -- not to mention a superhero with a personality unlike any superhero we've come to know before.

The movie "Deadpool" doesn't cut corners on violence or foul language. The man in red is constantly dropping "F" bombs and calling all the jackasses around him any number of foul-mouthed insults. This isn't a movie for the kids, but it's fairly sophomoric in its humor (hilariously so), and so anyone 15 or older would probably be okay seeing it as most of them probably talk that way anyhow. The violence, while graphic, is nothing worse than you see on shows like "The Walking Dead" or "Into the Badlands," so don't let the "R" rating scare you away.

The fun of the movie is the random asides, the impudent style of the film, and the way Deadpool consistently breaks the fourth wall and goes meta. He literally stays in character but makes jokes about Ryan Reynolds or the fact that the studio couldn't afford more than two X-Men. It's all very self-referential but gleefully so, and first-time feature director Tim Miller keeps the film zippy and fresh. When was the last time an action scene was put into slow motion while Juice Newton's '70s hit "Angel of the Morning" played over the mayhem? And don't miss the opening credits, which are unlike any you've seen before.

The cast here is pitch-perfect, with Reynolds clearly relishing his role and even riffing on his failed turn as Green Lantern. Baccarin is gorgeous and heart-breaking in equal measure. And while she is used as the damsel-in-distress during the final act of the film, Miller and screenwriters Rhett Reece and Paul Wernick wisely allow her to take care of herself. The weakest character is probably the villain Ajax, played by the new "Transporter" Ed Skrein. While menacing and sexy, the part is fairly underwritten; as a result, he's not all that memorable. But it doesn't seem to matter in the long run, as this is Deadpool's movie all the way. Judging by the fun you have watching it, there are sure to be more vulgar adventures to come.

Kevin Taft is a screenwriter/critic living in Los Angeles with an unnatural attachment to 'Star Wars' and the desire to be adopted by Steven Spielberg.


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