Directed by Tim Miller and written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, Deadpool, on paper, should have been a major failure. With a green director, an R rating, the February release, and years of production problems and delays, it was guaranteed a box office flop — but it beat the odds and provided a satisfying superhero comedy with plenty of heart, action, and violence. Comic book fans need not worry. Deadpool lived up to his name and added a few chimichangas to the order.
Deadpool is about Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds), a former Special Forces operative turned mercenary. When he falls for his girlfriend Vanessa and asks her to marry him, everything is put on hold with the diagnosis of terminal cancer. Turning to a mysterious organization that claims they can cure his cancer, Wade undergoes extreme experiments, which leave him with super healing powers, but severely scarred and deformed skin. With revenge on his mind, he hunts down the men responsible.
At this point it’s understood if you’re watching a Marvel movie, you will be given a big helping of humor. Deadpool takes this to a whole new level. They throw the entire book of comedy at the audience; not giving up until they know the theater is bursting out laughing. They use meta, slapstick, satire, deadpan, dirty, dark humor, and any other style of comedy that comes to mind; they used it. Much like watching Guardians of the Galaxy, it was refreshing to see another film that felt free to do whatever it wanted. Ryan Reynolds handed out a majority of the humor, but other characters had their part to play, too. Better yet, it all worked. The comedic timing was dead on, and the jokes were original, snappy, and hilarious. Even though it’s early in the year to say for sure, Deadpool could be this year’s best comedy.
Out of all the characters, they fleshed Deadpool/Wade Wilson out the most while the others filled various one-dimensional roles. Deadpool had humble beginnings as a lowlife mercenary with a smart mouth. He reiterates several times he’s not a hero, but a bad guy who beats up worse bad guys, which is putting it lightly. By every definition, Deadpool is a psychotic murderer set out to get revenge, doing whatever it takes to get what he wants, but here is where the writers succeeded where many fail. Deadpool is a villain, but by making him empathetic, he’s a villain that the audience can root for. That is a difficult line to walk, and they did it with great aplomb.
However, the focus on Deadpool gave the writers tunnel vision. While their lead protagonist is well drawn, their villain is not. It’s unclear why Ajax, the villain, is so set on experimenting on people to become mutants, what he intends to do with them, or what that means for the world at large.
It can’t be stressed enough how well Deadpool’s pacing hit all the right spots, whether it be the action, comedy, or dramatic meaningful moments. The action packed a punch, not falling back on cheap tricks like shaky cam or fast edited cuts, but a clear, steady picture. The well-crafted story structure was highly entertaining and without a dull moment. Granted, the plot wasn’t anything exceptional, and mirrored X-Men Origins: Wolverine with revenge and a love story dynamic — but don’t let that scare you away — its strengths, namely the humor and action, highly overshadow its weaknesses.
Despite some minor flaws, Deadpool achieved what it set out to do by faithfully adapting a beloved comic book and delivering a quality comedy and action superhero film. Comic book fans will be pleased and casual viewers, who don’t mind an R rating, will easily be able to join in on the fun.
Photos courtesy: 20th Century Fox