Deadpool is the franchise starter Ryan Reynolds deserves. After making rom-coms, mediocre comedies, and one truly terrible superhero movie, Reynolds has finally landed the role he was born to play. Even better, the movie studio gods see fit to make this an R-rated romp.
Expletive spouting, ass kicking, fourth wall breaking Deadpool is hands down the funniest superhero movies ever made. Which is in itself funny, because the subject matter is incredibly dark. Reynolds stars as the titular Mr. Pool, a.k.a. Wade Wilson, a mercenary with a heart of gold. Wilson’s life seems to be going great, thanks in large part to his girlfriend, Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), an escort with a heart of gold. But when Wilson is diagnosed with terminal cancer, he’s recruited by a shady “doctor” who promises to cure his cancer. This cure turns Wilson into a superhuman but also disfigures him, causing Wilson to don a mask and hunt down the man responsible.
What makes Deadpool work so well has less to do with its R-rating and edgy plot points and more to do with its keen self-awareness. One of the hallmarks of the Deadpool comics is the character breaking the fourth wall, addressing the reader directly. The movie doesn’t shy away from these types of meta references, even making fun of the other Marvel properties that 20th Century Fox owns the film rights to. The movie starts with Deadpool/Wilson addressing the audience and making some lewd statements about X-Men star Hugh Jackman. No other movie or character could get away with that. Credit to Fox for letting it happen.
Deadpool also excels in making the most of the comparatively small budget it was given. There are a lot of practical effects, with only strategic use of CGI. This creates a stronger, story and character-based film, setting it even further apart from superhero flicks that focus on style or substance. This also lends itself to even more jokes, like suggesting that only two X-Men ever appear in the film, because they “couldn’t afford” any more (true).
Of course, this film would likely have bombed if anyone either than Ryan Reynolds was cast as the lead. Reynolds nails Deadpool’s sarcasm, but also excels in scenes requiring more serious emotion. I also want to applaud his lack of ego– few leading men would sign on for a movie where their face is either covered by a mask or disfigured for the majority of the film.
Deadpool is up there on my list of favorite superhero films. It’s the perfect counterweight to pretty much every other comic book movie ever made. I cannot wait for the sequel(s).
I recently finished writing a review for Kingsman, which I claimed was the most fun I have had at the movies for a long time. Well we have another contender for that title in Deadpool. This is a film that fails to take itself seriously at all, which is perfect for the character, and the actor playing him, Ryan Reynolds.
Ryan Reynolds is one of those actors that I really like, but generally don’t like his films very much. I would have put him in the same boat as someone like Chris Pine or Armie Hammer. I really like them and want them to have a hit on their hands so I can see more of them. Ryan Reynolds has finally had that hit with Deadpool, the role he was born to play. I can’t think of a more perfect actor than Van Wilder himself to bring this smart ass, fourth wall breaking antihero to life. I had huge issues with the first incarnation of the Deadpool character (also played by Reynolds), but nothing but love for this portrayal. It took nearly ten years to get this solo film off the ground, but it is clear that the creative team behind the film, and Reynolds himself, have a lot of love for the character and were determined to bring their version to the big screen.
I think the biggest lesson to come from Deadpool is that if you are true to the character, then people will be accepting. The ridiculous things they did to Deadpool in the Wolverine film were so against the character that was introduced in the comics. The man is nicknamed ‘the merc with the mouth’ for a reason. He is always quick with a quip, and for the bastardised Wolverine version to then sew his mouth shut was an insult to everything we comic book readers had come to know and love.
For those not in the know, Reynolds plays Wade Wilson, a rough around the edges thug for hire with a heart of gold… kind of. Just when he has met the girl of his dreams (Morena Bacarrin) and things start looking up in his life, Wade is diagnosed with cancer and given only a few months to life. He agrees to volunteer for a possible treatment run by a clandestine organisation (never a good idea), but comes out the other end with a mutant healing factor and a face that looks like “an avocado had sex with an older uglier avocado” (Thanks, T.J. Miller). Wade adopts the moniker of Deadpool and seeks revenge on the ass hats that disfigured him. Along the way, he runs into some new X-Men friends (only second rate ones though, due to budgetary restrictions), who attempt to recruit him to the wider X-Men universe the 20th Century Fox is still persisting with.
Deadpool is so good. And so great to see a character I grew up loving finally being done right on the big screen. I was always an X-Men kid growing up, and have yet to see a great X-Men film. This is the one that not only comes closest to greatness, but also manages to capture the spirit of those books I read as a kid. Fox could probably take a few lessons from this movie, like being true to the character. Although, I don’t doubt that their biggest takeaway is that everything needs to be R-rated now (as evidenced by the announcement that the final Wolverine film will likely be rated R). This is completely the wrong message to take away. Deadpool had to be rated R, because that’s what the character is like. Other X-Men films don’t need to be R-rated. There are ways to make great X-Men films that are PG-13, but Fox just don’t seem to be able to do it. What Deadpool shows is that if you put together a creative team that appreciates the source material, they can put a good product on the screen. I actually think Deadpool could be hilarious in a PG X-Men film. He could do all kinds of wink winks and nods to the audience that he wants to swear, but can’t because the suits at Fox needed this to be PG. It would be hilarious, and a missed opportunity if it doesn’t happen.