FILM REVIEW: Deadpool (2016, 108 Minutes)


Deadpool (Theatrical Super Hero Movie, 2016).

Some Super Heroes and their movies take themselves entirely too seriously.

That’s certainly not the case with Deadpool, the movie franchise or the character. Ryan Reynolds shines here (and in the more recent, equally uproarious sequel) as the smart-mouthed center of attention. The film’s joyously snarky animated opening credits leave no doubt about the tone of what the viewer is about to witness.

For the three or four people out there who don’t know, Deadpool is yet another super-powered denizen of the Marvel Comics Universe and this is his origin story.

A contemporary story of his seeking a cure (or at least revenge) for his fast-healing but disfiguring mutation is juxtaposed with frequent flashbacks of his earlier (semi-normal) life. Back then Wade Wilson (his non-super name) was a deadly former Special Forces soldier, now something of a mercenary-for-hire. Already a wise-cracking cynic, he steadfastly refuses the title of hero. He’s just a ruthless bad guy who takes on (and taking out) even worse bad guys.

He falls in love with  Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), a beautiful paid escort (is there any other kind in the movies?). Life is briefly great, till he gets a cancer diagnosis. A shady outfit (a kind of anti-do-gooder X-Men) offers him a cure that will turn him into a powerful mutant. It’s painful but it works, though he ends up so disfigured he can’t bring himself to return to his lover. Instead, he rampages around the lab, destroying the site and getting himself presumed dead.

Wilson takes the Deadpool persona, hiding behind his spandex costume. He seeks to track down Ajax (Ed Skrein), the mutant super-villain who led his transformation and who had once hinted there was a way to reverse his mutation. It’s a lie, as Deadpool will eventually learn–once a mutant, always a mutant.

In the meantime, massive amounts of wondrously over-the-top violence ensues. It’s interspersed with some genuine romance, wisecracks by the ton (including Our Reluctant Hero’s frequent direct comments to the viewers) and a lot of eye candy-type sexuality (this film earns its R-rating on all fronts).

Of course Deadpool’s re-emergence gets the attention of Ajax (who Deadpool mocking calls Francis), Ajax’s psycho sidekick Angel Dust (Gina Garano), and a pair of their goody-goody mutant rivals the X-Men. The baddies learn of Our Heroic Anti-Hero’s love for Vanessa, so she must be kidnapped, abused and used as bait for a final, building-wrecking showdown.

His X-Men allies in this are the CGI-generated metal giant Colossus (voiced with humorless yet fun straight-arrow Russian grit by Stefan Kapicic) and the Megatronic Teenage Warhead (Brianne Hildebrand), a somewhat sullen walking nuclear reaction-generating trainee Xer. One of the best of Deadpool’s ‘four-wall-breaking’ asides concerns the Studio’s unwillingness to pay for more than two of the legion of X-Men to come to his aide.

Anyway, need I even mention that the epic last battle will leave the super-baddies (and lots of their hapless, machine-gun-toting ‘regular’ bad-guy minions) dead, a vast set utterly destroyed and all the good guys (including Deadpool and his girl) alive.

And do you doubt that, once the mask comes off, Vanessa will blink in dismay for, no more than two seconds, before completely accepting her true love’s new ravaged face?

Script writers Rhett Reese and Paul Warnick, along with Director Tim Miller keep things moving briskly throughout. T. J. Miller provides additional comic relief as Weasel, Deadpool’s best non-mutant buddy; the late great Stan Lee (inevitably) cameos as the emcee in the strip club scene; and the sound track includes such old songs as “Angel of the Morning” for added semi-subversive yet kind of sweet irony.

Yeah, this is one of my very favorite Super Hero flicks. And its sequel is  at least as good.

Very, very DVD rent-worthy!


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