Did I say this was a love story? No, this is a horror movie.
For those who think that the superhero genre has already been played out on screen with nothing new to bring to audiences, well, at least that means you’re thinking. Of course, you’d still be dead wrong, as Marvel’s latest in a seemingly endless parade of characters makes his way to the big screen – again (more on that later) – in the freshest (in every sense of the word) comic book come to life, Deadpool. The movie is raucous, raw, rude, gleefully gory, utterly uproarious and entirely entertaining from first frame to last (and we mean last).
Why the red suit?
Deadpool began life as a Marvel Comics’ character all the way back in the days before iPads, iPhones and iCarly, for all you kids out there. Writer Fabian Nicieza and artist/writer Rob Liefeld created him in 1991 as a, let’s say, homage, to DC’s Deathstroke. But, to their credit, they did change the name from DC’s Slade Wilson to their Wade Wilson to avoid any confusion. Initially a villain when he first appeared in The New Mutants #98 (thanks, Wikipedia), Deadpool evolved into the anti-hero we see today (yay, Darwin!). Anywho, Wade is a former Special Forces operative turned mercenary for hire turned scarred, leather-suited, bad-ass, mother-effin’,”Merc with a Mouth”, nicknamed due to his incessant wise-cracking no matter the situation. Oh, and he has regenerative healing powers to go with his amazing agility, swordmanship and marksmanship, thanks to a torturous experiment he unwittingly signed up for in hopes of curing his terminal cancer. That’s all you really need to know, but since we’re so enamored of our writing, we’ll go on.
Deadpool is played by Ryan Reynolds. Or is it the other way around? With all the sly in-jokes and cross references in the movie, it’s hard to tell at times. But, no question, Ryan Reynolds IS Deadpool. He was very likely born to play him as soon as he entered the world in Regina, no pun necessary. What’s most interesting is that Reynolds has already portrayed Deadpool once before, in a theater production in his native Canada. Wait, no, that can’t be right (damn Wikipedia). He actually portrayed him in 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine. However, they took away Ryan’s and his character’s most recognizable trait, his mouth, literally, by sewing it shut so he couldn’t bombard us with his barbs. The movie, though financially successful, was not well received by comic fans, nor was the Deadpool-ish character, so it seemed we had seen the last of this incarnation. But when something is right, and it’s done right, it finds a way. So, here we are nine years later, and getting something we can’t ever remember getting before, an actor reprising his unsuccessful character again in a reboot. Whether firing non-stop zingers or slow-motion bullets, Reynolds has reset the bar for superheroes, or anti-heroes, or whatever Deadpool is. It’s to his tremendous talent that he is able to make a guy, who you could say is kind of a douchebag, so likeable and charming.
Every time I see her, it’s like the first time, especially from this angle.
Reynolds is not alone in bringing Deadpool to life. Morena Baccarin has never been hotter (at least since the beloved Firefly) and serves as the perfect match for Reynolds’ Wade in spirit and wicked sense of humor. The two have great chemistry together, even after his actual chemistry is changed. It’s great to see her on the big screen in addition to her television role on Gotham. T.J. Miller as Wade’s buddy/sidekick/bartender is a great comic foil to Reynolds’ Wade as well, trading insults with equal aplomb (first time ever used that word!), but always there when it counts. We also get to see a couple of X-Men (Deadpool and the X-Men are in 20th Century Fox’s stable), Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) and the most awesomely named ever, Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand), who use their powers to help out, while trying to get Deadpool to join their crew of superheroes. The villains are effectively played by Ed Skrein as Ajax, and Gina Carano, who is aptly suited for her more action/less acting role of Angel Dust. Watching them all use their incredible superpowers against each other on board an aircraft carrier makes for an explosive, action-packed setpiece. Last, but not least, is Leslie Uggams, as Wade’s equally smart-mouthed, blind roommate.
While Deadpool is certainly a superhero action film, it is also a wall-to-wall comedy. While full-blown comedies are hit-or-miss with some jokes working, and others not so much, in Deadpool, virtually every one-liner hits its mark, and that’s not an easy task, as they come at you at a non-stop, rapid-fire pace. That acknowledgement goes to the writers (as noted in the immensely clever and unique opening credit sequence), Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, the braaains! behind Zombieland. Given a character as outrageous as Deadpool, they completely run with and have fun with it, and have delivered a masterful script, pushing the R-rating, breaking the fourth wall and poking fun at everyone from Fox to Reynolds himself. And, in a welcome change of pace from all the other superhero films, the entire world isn’t at stake-it’s primarily Deadpool seeking answers and revenge. It’s a screenplay that absolutely deserves Academy Award consideration next year. (We’re talking to you, old white Academy guys!) And first-time director, Tim Miller, who’s honed his chops in visual effects, completely hits his debut out of the park and into the next borough. From the previously mentioned opening credits, to the seamless blending of action and effects, including Mad Max-level highway hijinks, it is clearly Miller time, and we can’t wait to see what he takes on next. A Star Wars film, perhaps?
It should be mentioned once more that this is a hard R-rated movie, much to the Gore 4’s delight, with head and limbs flying in every direction, jokes referring to every orifice in the body and loads of offensive, course language, of course. It’s not for kids, or Evangelicals (who don’t seem to like anything other than the sticks up their wahoos. Though they inexplicably like Ted Cruz, who could possibly be the Antichrist, but we digress.) It is successful on every level, and sounds like an effin’ franchise (a Deadpool 2 has already been announced, no poolin’). And perhaps, Deadpool will also eventually be able to team up with more X-Men, or even Spider-Man, now that Marvel has more access to him-it is a complicated web as to who has the rights to which characters. Suffice it to say, there is brand new life in Deadpool, and congrats to Ryan Reynolds and the filmmakers for resurrecting a lesser-known character and knocking the superhero genre on its ass. It’s most ass-ured success should hopefully result in a new wave of antiheroes. One has to wonder how audiences will feel about the more serious superheroes going forth, like Superman, Batman and Captain America. At least with Marvel, they seem to do no wrong. And DC, with the upcoming Suicide Squad, looks headed that way too.
Finally, why the red suit? So the bad guys can’t see Deadpool bleed. Don’t worry, we get to see a lot of the red stuff in the movie from other guys. So, bring your dates, bring your mom, bring yourself to the wildest, wackiest, weirdest superhero movie yet. Long live Deadpool!
— review by Brian de Castro
One more thing…..