Released: February 2016
Director: Tim Miller
Run Time: 108 Minutes
Rated R….Thank God.
Distributor: Fox Studios
Ryan Reynolds: Wade/Deadpool
Ed Skrein: Ajax
Morena Baccarin: Vanessa
Brianna Hildebrand: Negasonic Teenage Warhead
T.J. Miller: Weasel
Gina Carano: Angel Dust
Stefan Kapicic: Colossus
When it comes to casting comic-book films, it’s extremely important to find the right actors for the job. It’s an important aspect to ANY film for that matter. Your average comic-book film tends to cast relative unknowns. Some examples of that philosophy includes Christopher Reeve for the character of Superman, Hugh Jackman for Wolverine, and so on and so forth. After we first see these people in these roles, our preconceptions of who should play the character tends to go out the window. I can’t see anyone else playing Wolverine right now. Speaking of Wolverine, the character got his first solo film in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. While I did enjoy the film to a certain degree, there was no doubt in my mind that it was a very substandard entry into the X-Men series. There were a number of things that went wrong with that movie. The special effects, especially the claw, were half-baked, some of the acting was pretty atrocious, and the overall story was just too jam-packed with other mutants. The real sin that the film had committed was what they did with the character of Deadpool. They sowed his mouth shut, gave adamantium swords in his arms and a ton of different mutant powers. It was a mess. Here’s the funny thing: Somewhere, somehow, somebody had the bright idea of casting Ryan Reynolds as Wade Wilson for the film’s opening. I think that was an unintentionally brilliant piece of casting, because after the movie came out, people were screaming for Ryan Reynolds to really portray Deadpool. The Merc With A Mouth has arrived, and he is….glorious.
After a hilarious opening credits sequence, Deadpool starts proper with the titular character taking on a bunch of thugs on a freeway look for Ajax, the man who gave him his powers and also disfigured him. That’s basically the story: Wade Wilson is diagnosed with cancer, seeks out some people for a cure, but is made into a mutant and his face is hideously scarred. Along the way, he falls for Vanessa, a prostitute and they begin a relationship. That’s all you need to know about the story. There isn’t a whole lot there. But for a movie and character like Deadpool, do you really need something complex? No. You really don’t. Why? Because Deadpool isn’t a complex character. He’s a smartass and bad-ass all rolled into one fantastic chimichanga. But that’s basically it. He’s an anti-hero, as he can be a bit of an ass sometimes. This is one of those rare cases where the casting is absolutely PERFECT. Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool? He’s been pushing for this movie as much as the rest of us, but he was in a much better position as an actor to do it. I honestly don’t think I can see anybody else playing the character for years. Ryan Reynolds is to Deadpool as Hugh Jackman is to Wolverine. They fit like a glove for their respective roles. Reynolds has the wit, charisma and the talent to really give the wise-cracking superhero the respect he deserves.
Everybody else in the film did a fantastic job, particularly T.J. Miller as Wilson’s friend, Weasel. Some of the funniest exchanges in the film happen between these two characters. Especially when Wilson reveals his disfigured face. Morena Baccarin plays Vanessa, Wade’s stunning girlfriend, who happens to be a prostitute. Ed Skrein is surprisingly effective as the film’s main villain, Ajax. He’s British, so he’s smarmy, arrogant and tough. Former UFC Women’s Champion, Gina Carano plays his second in command, Angel Dust. Like him, she’s also a mutant. Any confusion about whether or not Deadpool is a part of the X-Men universe is thrown out when Colossus shows up. The big Russian X-Man is clearly CGI, but he’s no less intimidating. A shout-out has to go to Brianna Hildebrand for her portrayal of Negasonic Teenage Warhead. She’s got an attitude to match Wilson’s. It’s hilarious.
This is an R-Rated movie, and I do mean a hard R. There are reasons for that. The humor is incredibly raunchy at times, with a sex scene that goes on for about 5 minutes with various positions and other….things going on. At first, you’re like, “Oh, they can’t go there, they can’t go there……they went there.” This is NOT a family-friendly film. It really isn’t. Not only that, the constant breaking of the “Fourth Wall” is really funny. The character at times talks directly to the audience and references tons of pop culture stuff that we’re familiar including previous films that Ryan Reynolds has done, like The Green Lantern. They don’t shy away from the nudity and sex, and they certainly don’t shy away from the violence. Oh, the violence. There’s a key word that you probably noticed me using a few times in this review: Glorious. The action is absolutely phenomenal. It’s framed and shot so you can actually see what’s happening, not like certain shaky-cam movie bullshit that’s been put out in the past decade. It’s crisp, it’s clean, and it’s gory. Yes, there are decapitations, dismemberments, impalements, bludgeonings and exploding heads. From what I understand, the film-makers actually had to cut some stuff out to get it down to an R-rating. Director’s cut on Blu-Ray, anybody? I can’t wait.
One of the most interesting aspects about the film is its romantic angle. Yeah, Wilson and Vanessa start off in a very sexual relationship, but it does evolve into a more romantic one. It feels genuine. That’s not exactly something I would expect from a movie like Deadpool. Yeah, Wilson’s a smart-ass, but the chemistry between him and Vanessa is surprisingly strong. When Wade is diagnosed with cancer, we feel the characters’ desperation to fight this thing. It’s kind of profound in a way, because cancer is a bitch and does damage not only to the person suffering from the disease, but also to the victim’s friends and family. It really helps to bring things into perspective and it doesn’t diminish what real people are going through. I really, really like that. While the film is mostly humorous, it does take some time to be serious enough to develop the characters. Not many movies can really balance that out.
If there’s a downside to the film is that some of the CGI is somewhat obvious. Colossus is clearly a CGI creation, so the fight between him and Angel Dust seems a little weird. Aside from that, Deadpool is one of the funniest movies I’ve seen in years. A lot of that humor, however, is going to depend on whether or not you are familiar with any of the other Marvel comic book films. At the end of the day, Deadpool is everything I wanted and more. If this movie was Fox Studio’s apology for X-Men Origins: Wolverine, I humbly accept. They got it right. This is Tim Miller’s first real big movie and it’s very impressive. My final conclusion and recommendation is this: Go see this movie! If you like comic-book movies with a sense of humor, this one is right up your alley. 9.5/10 is what I give Deadpool.