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20th Century Fox // R // February 12, 2016
List Price: Unknown [Buy now and save at Fandango]
Films of the superhero breed have been big for quite some time now. Disney's deal to purchase Marvel was a genius one, although not all heroes fit their "family friendly" brand. Deadpool and Punisher are a couple that instantly come to mind, which is why giving a competitor a shot with the former isn't necessarily a bad idea. For those who aren't aware, he received a brief and massively underwhelming appearance in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, although he was without the red suit and mask. Due to the overwhelming demand from fans, an R-rated portrayal was born with test footage that hit the Internet, which generated a massive amount of excitement. It took a long time to finally get a Deadpool film, but do his character antics translate to the silver screen?
Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) is a former Special Forces operative, who was selected to be turned into a mercenary of death. When the experiment turns rogue, Wade finds himself with accelerated healing powers that make him one of the deadliest fighters. However, this transformation took his devilish good looks, and he's willing to do anything to get them back. He takes on the alter ego of Deadpool and creates a costume to find the man who gave him these abilities and force him to turn his appearance back to normal.
For those who aren't familiar with the character of Deadpool, he's the jokester of the Marvel Universe. His plots are much more stream-lined than those of other heroes, and he randomly appears in the comics of other heroes. He can be considered neutrally-aligned, as he often only looks after himself. Deadpool is also famous for breaking the "fourth wall" by talking directly to the audience, as he delivers an abundance of dirty puns while brutally slaughtering all those who get in the way of his mission. This is why anything less than an R-rated Deadpool would have been a disaster. Fortunately, Fox and screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick have remained faithful to the franchise's tone and adult charm. From its absurdly violent opening title sequence to the funny after-credits scene, this is everything that I could have ever asked for from a film from the infamous character, Deadpool. Those who don't understand the purpose of the character, or simply don't like him will have difficulty getting behind the feature, but those who have been fans of the character for years - such as myself - will find it to be one of the most exciting Marvel films to date.
Much like some other heroes in the Marvel universe, Deadpool doesn't have many superhuman abilities. Aside from having Wolverine's healing factor, he doesn't use laser beams or any other super abilities of the sort. Rather, he uses guns and twin katana blades that are always strapped to his back. The comics often display him using a wide array of such artillery, but the film focuses on more physical combat. The gun violence runs the risk of becoming stale, and so we're treated to one of the more entertaining shoot-outs that have hit the screen in quit some time before switching to some skewering action. Whether we're talking about these sequences or the quieter moments, Deadpool always has time to crack some dirty puns. While a few fall flat, a majority of the jokes hit the nail right on the head. There are an abundance of references to the likes of the X-Men - Wolverine in particular - and Reynold's previous endeavors, including his participation in the terrible Green Lantern film. The gags are relentless, and a lot of them stick their landing quite well.
Deadpool tells the story of a single adventure in the life of the title character. The stakes may be much higher in other Marvel flicks, but part of Deadpool's charm is that he isn't actually much of a hero. He acts in his self-interest instead of fighting to protect a city or the world. This is especially expressed in his conflicts with Colossus, as numerous attempts have clearly been made to recruit the loud-mouthed immortal. Hopefully the film receives the attention and love that it deserves at the box office, so that we can see a sequel that can chronicle even more of his crazy antics. Despite not having the notoriety of heroes such as Captain America and Iron Man, he certainly makes his mark on the universe that is both fresh and welcome, and even improves on aspects of the formula. The pacing is definitely much smoother, as it gets to the point much faster than previous adventures of several other heroes.
It became clear before production even began that Ryan Reynolds would be a perfect fit to the play the man in red and black. He delivers every line to absolute perfection, as he has mastered both the character's body language and personality. Every joke comes across naturally, as he makes lines sound natural and smooth. The film simply wouldn't be the same without Reynolds. He brings a certain energy to the feature that truly allows the character to shine. Reynolds is so infectious that he had me smiling from start to finish, even when the occasional flat joke came along. While he has finally proven hat he can play a leading superhuman with success, it would be great to see him appear as a cameo in other hero pictures, just like in the comics.
This may be Tim Miller's directorial debut, but his experience in the visual effects field is clear. The costumes often don't translate from the comic page to the silver screen, which is why some of them look different. Miller and his team have managed to make the costume and the white eyes look particularly incredible on screen. Every moment of the action looks great, as expected. Deadpool utilizes a very different set of mechanics to its camera work, as the audience takes on a more participatory role, rather than a passive one. Deadpool constantly addresses the viewer, as he makes comments, explains details, and even occasionally touches the camera. It's a very different experience that is reminiscent of the comics.
Needless to say, there's a lot to love about Deadpool. It's funny, violent, and makes a stale formula feel fresh. Ryan Reynolds is absolutely stellar in the role, as he quite literally brings the character to life. Nevertheless, it isn't a movie for everybody, but any fans of the "merc with a mouth" will be extremely pleased to know that Fox and the filmmakers have made something incredibly entertaining and faithful to the tone and style of the source material. Sequels are sure to follow, and I'm all for the idea. This is the most fun that you'll have at the movies thus far in 2016. Deadpool is an experience that fans like myself will want to have time and time again. Highly recommended!