Main cast: Ryan Reynolds (Wade Wilson/Deadpool), Morena Baccarin (Vanessa Carlysle), Ed Skrein (Francis Freeman/Ajax), TJ Miller (Weasel), Gina Carano (Angel Dust), Leslie Uggams (Blind Al), Brianna Hildebrand (Negasonic Teenage Warhead), and Stefan Kapičić (Peter Rasputin/Colossus)
Director: Tim Miller
For a movie that was trapped in painful behind-the-scenes back and forth for about ten years, and for a movie that has Ryan Reynolds in the lead, Deadpool is shockingly fun. Then again, it makes sense: the movie people finally saw the light and decided to present Deadpool closer in tone and nature to that character in the comics, and if there is one character that Ryan Reynolds is born to play, it’s this guy.
If you are not familiar with Deadpool, do take note that he is not a straight-up superhero. This is one guy who cheerfully butchers and disembowels, and in this movie, heads literally fly. Deadpool cusses like nobody’s business, and he also is secure enough in his sexuality – whatever it is – that he cheerfully comes on to both males and females with equal irreverence. I suspect that if pigs could understand English, he’d flirt with them too. Deadpool is not a movie that many parents would feel comfortable letting their prepubescent kids watch, let’s just say.
Of course, the script undergoes the Hollywood treatment, so the only few things that are similar to the comics are Wade Wilson being hit by terminal cancer and him having the foul-mouthed, gun-crazy blind woman Blind Al as his personal Alfred-cum-Q. In the movie version, Deadpool’s clearly heterosexual, and he’s also a more conventional romantic. The script has him calling himself a bad guy, but it is also careful to show him attacking people that only deserve a blade through the gonads. Wade meets and falls for stripper/lady for hire Vanessa, but their blissful life together is marred by him getting cancer. Worse, the cancer has spread all over his body, although don’t worry, the cancer thoughtfully makes sure that his body and looks remain Hollywood-pretty. Not even a single strand of hair on that stubble out of place!
Wade decides to accept a “special treatment” from a creepy guy in black, and it turns out that the guy is part of a super-soldier making factory. Under the orders of Ajax and his second-in-command Angel Dust (both who are also made by the “treatment” into super soldiers with powerful reflexes and all), Wade is injected some special superhero serum to trigger his mutant gene, and he is subsequently tortured because, apparently, the mutation will only show if a certain threshold of stress is reached. Throughout it all, Wade won’t shut up and keep calling Ajax by his real name Francis, which only infuriates that man. The whole thing ends with a literal explosion. Wade is transformed into a mutant whose cells can regenerate quickly, essentially making him immortal, but this mutation also makes him look like, to paraphrase his buddy Weasel, the result of the mating of two hideous avocados under some dire circumstances. Don’t worry, unlike the hideous mass of lumps in the comics, this Wade is still pretty with just some scars and baldness to make him look less pretty. We can’t have really ugly people as superheroes, after all.
Believing that Ajax can help him restore his appearance, Wade begins targeting and killing Ajax’s minions one by one, hoping to discover the whereabouts of Ajax who has gone underground. Ajax. naturally, won’t take things lying down, so he and Angel strike out at Wade through Vanessa. Meanwhile, Colossus from the X-Men drags a young mutant, Negasonic Teenage Warhead (she’s exactly what it says on the box, or the name in this instance), along with him as he tries to change Wade’s ways and recruit him into the X-Men. Why no Wolverine or other more popular X-Men? As Wade wonders out aloud, it’s most likely they can’t afford to hire people to play those more popular mutants, heh.
Yes, Deadpool breaks the fourth wall in this movie, just like he does in his comics. He will say things directly to the audience, or cracks meta jokes, such as asking whether Colossus is taking him to the “Stewart or MacAvoy” version of Professor X. He can’t keep the timelines straight, you know! He is flashy, he kills people with glee and over the top slow-motion style, and he always has a one-liner for every occasion. This may sound tiring on paper, but trust me, the movie version of Deadpool is quite restrained compared to the comic version! This movie also makes various homages to everything from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off to previous The X-Men movies, while skewering all kinds of superhero movie tropes. In fact, watch the opening credits – it’s brutally honest as it tells everyone that this movie has a British villain (Ajax), sullen teen (Negasonic Teenage Warhead), glorified cameos (Stan Lee and Rob Liefeld), love interest (Vanessa), and more – all directed by “an overpaid tool”.
While this movie Deadpool is a bit more stable and goody-goody compared to the pure bag of crazy fun that is the Deadpool in the comics, the movie manages to retain much of the campy charm, glorified violence, and one-liners that made the comic version such a hit with fans. While the violence moves too quickly for me to revel in the all the skewering and beheading, the fact that these things actually happen is something to take delight in. Ryan Reynolds’s voice is a bit too thin and goody-goody, I feel, for this role, but he certainly has the delivery of one-liners, the swagger, and the attitude down pat. He looks like he’s having the time of his life in this role, and I can’t help feeling the same way too. Colossus is hilariously dead-pan, the perfect foil for Deadpool, and his deadpan delivery of lines only makes his occasional one-liner even more funny. Negasonic Teenage Warhead is a typical surly teen, but the fun here is in how Wade points out, without fail, how much she embodies that cliché. As for Vanessa, she starts out as a typical love interest type, but boy, she can hold her own to her best abilities when she has to save herself, and probably Wade too. As one of the few ordinary humans caught up in a war between mutants, she manages to do a great job in keeping herself from being collateral damage, and I like that.
If I have one complaint about Deadpool, it’s that I wish there had been more violence, more gore, and let’s toss in more sex while we’re at it – we need to put Ryan Reynolds’s gym-honed body to work, after all. Speaking of that body, I hope you don’t get too hyped up about seeing Deadpool dong – despite what Mr Reynolds claimed in interviews, the naked fight scene is dark enough that nothing can be seen, and the much-touted “athletic sex scene” is of the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it variety. So yes, not enough sex and guts to make the cut.
Still, Deadpool is such a fun movie as it is, and it’s also the perfect crude-and-rude antidote to all the goody-goody angst-and-sweetheart superhero movies that we are already drowning in these days. Go watch it, because if you don’t, your kids will and you will never know why their lives would be better off from the experience.