Premiered on February 12, 2016. 108 minutes, rated R.
Directed by Tim Miller
Screenplay by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick
This is the anti-superhero superhero movie. Everything that people have come to expect in a superhero flick is here, plus a lot of what filmgoers have wanted to see if they’ve found this genre becoming a little tired. If you’ve seen the trailer, you know exactly what you’re in for. If you actually looked at the R rating, you know what you’re not seeing, and that’s a lot of language and a lot of blood. As the millionth person to post online, parents, don’t take your kids.
I try to avoid movie trailers because scenes or plot points are spoiled. Thankfully, not too much was shown in the trailers that I saw in the theater. One scene that’s been shown repeatedly is the fight on the freeway. That’s the opening sequence of the film, intercut with flashbacks to Deadpool’s origin, then back to the fight, some more origin, until the movie catches up with itself about halfway through.
Origin stories have become an utter bore to watch: cut to the chase — I’m paying for fun. Thankfully the writers, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, have made this an incredibly watchable origin story because of their expertise at capturing the title character’s dialogue. Wade Wilson, played perfectly by Ryan Reynolds, is “The Merc with the Mouth” who cannot stop spewing sarcasm and barbs at anyone who’s within earshot. Before he becomes the infamous mutant, Wade is a mercenary taking any job that pays, with one of his jobs shown in funny fashion. His indifference to the world is destroyed when he encounters Vanessa, Morena Baccarin (of Firefly and Gotham fame), who shares his kind of crazy and the two begin a passionate whirlwind relationship, with them celebrating holidays in unique fashion, with one that created a generous portion of applause from the women in the audience. Sadly, this love affair hits the skids when Wade learns he has cancer. He learns of a group that could cure him and things go radically downhill for Mr. Wilson.
The fight on the freeway is simply spectacular. The action is incredible and Deadpool’s comments on what’s occurring will be repeated by fans until the end of the time. Watching the hero kick, spin, slice, and shoot death is truly amazing to behold. Even after this incredible sequence ends, the action that follows as he hunts down thugs to find Ajax is great. The film could have spent much more time here and the audience would have been happy. His learning curve as he fights foes was funny and cool. The fight in the final location, which was a surprise since it really resembles one of three objects last seen in a Disney film — though it’s never stated as being such, was good, until it became the expected one-on-one battle with Ajax. There were no surprises in this fight, though an animated moment momentarily brought some unexpected levity to the conflict. Killing this scene, and most of the film, were two characters that brought nothing but punch lines to the film, and they weren’t that great as jokes.
The addition of Colossus to the film, with Negasonic Teenage Warhead (What, the rights to Cannonball don’t exist for 20th Century Fox?), don’t add anything to the story. They provide plenty of opportunity for laughs, because there’s nothing funnier than watching one of the X-Men getting sworn at, but their inclusion dragged the concluding fight scene on way too long. Was it neat to see? Yeah. But I’m paying for Deadpool, not an Xavier Recruitment Drive. Colossus is entirely CG, and looks good, but his voice is over-the-top Russian. Deadpool acts like a cartoon character, but Colossus is a cartoon character who would fit in with Boris and Natasha as they go after Moose and Squirrel. Two voices are credited to Colossus, Stefan Kapicic and Yevgeniy Kartashov; who did what when is unknown, but what is known is that the character would have been funnier if his voice had been toned down. Brianna Hildebrand as Negasonic T.W. doesn’t say much, but she gets a lot of action. When she does speak it’s to react to whatever slam Deadpool has tossed her way. I’d like to see more of her in something else down the road.
A stunning inclusion was Lesglie Uggams as Blind Al, the blind former cocaine junkie that Pool shares a place with. She has a few fun scenes, but mostly to be a verbal punching bag for the hero. In the sequel, and oh, yes, there will be one, I hope to see much more of her. T.J. Miller is good as Weasel and his banter with Wade is fun: I’m really hoping for an extended outtakes clip on the DVD version of this film because it just seems like there was so much more shot with this pair improvising than what made it into the final cut. The music is also incredibly fun. Wade likes the music of the 1980s, so brace yourself. I was particularly induced to giggles given what the villains are listening to before Deadpool makes his entrance.
Oh, and sit through the credits. Yes, there is something, but not what you’d expect.
The final line: A smorgasbord of R rated violence and humor that’s long overdue. I want a second trip to this buffet immediately. The two X-Men slow things down, but this edgy film keeps the laughs and gasps going. Overall grade: B+