dir. Tim Miller
written by: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick
starring: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, TJ Miller, Ed Skrein, Stefan Kapicic, Brianna Hildebrand, Michael Benyaer
3 out of 4 stars
As I finish up my superlatives for 2015’s fantastic year in movies–even if the Oscar nominations left me disappointed and not too disappointed that I have tickets to see Sondheim’s Assassins that night–, I have begun the arduous challenge of starting on 2016’s lineup. First up is Marvel’s R-rated foray into the “Merc with a Mouth” Deadpool. Rebooting the role he played in the horrendous X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Reynolds inhabits his role as the deranged mercenary with ample gusto. With the star hidden behind spandex for the majority of the story and much of his remaining screen time covered in boils, this movie was previously believed unfilmable. The $120 million opening weekend with some of the most impressive, effective marketing in recent memory. This film exploded onto the scene ready to change the superhero game.
Though I have little knowledge about Deadpool’s storylines, what I do know is he is another Weapon X victim given near immortality due to their experiments, he entered the program to try to cure a major bout of cancer, and the treatments brought on his powers and some insanity as a side dish. You too can learn this during the movie. The rest of the adventure is Mr. Pool, joined with X-Men Colossus (voiced by Stefan Kapicic) and newbie angsty teen Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand), to hunt down Ajax (Ed Skrein), the man behind Deadpool’s condition. This is all to hopefully return to normal and to get back to his fiancee Vanessa (Morena Baccarin). Hilarity and plenty of fourth wall breaking lead the trio through an epic amount of destruction while flashing back through Deadpool’s beginnings.
This movie was apparently made to make Ryan Reynolds look good. His superhero history is spotted. Too little screen time in a not so good Wolverine flick and a poorly received Green Lantern outing left his ample abs without a franchise in which to bask. This rather funny gent, very Canadian and sarcastic, and much like Hugh Jackman’s casting as Wolverine and RDJ’s as Iron Man, one can not imagine a more perfect casting for this super anti-hero. Toned down from the pansexual maniac he could be, the former military ops character goes cartoonishly outlandish with failed crotch punches and countless physical gags. His surrounding crew tries to keep up with the madcappery, with Kapicic’s Colossus going old-school meathead and Hildebrand’s Warhead adding some straightman laughs, but overall the just don’t match the natural skill of Reynold’s character.
Director Tim Miller takes reigns with his first feature, previously involved on the visual effects side of video games and Scott Pilgrim, both great credentials for the absurdity of this movie. He takes great advantage of breaks in reality for his superhero debut. Opening with a sweeping capture of an intricate, gag laden car crash, listing archetypes instead of names for opening credits thanks to the hilarious duo Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (Zombieland), this movie sets up its vibe and runs with it for two hours.
Where this is not as strong a superhero movie as much recent fair (thinking Ant-Man), it was very entertaining, and the success they are experiencing is well warranted. This team has combined to create a raucous, self-aware work worthy of its title character. Sequels are already in negotiations with Miller, Reese and Wernick likely returning with an assuredly higher budget. Now it’s time to wait and see if they can actually get some X-Men to show up.