Film Review: Deadpool (2016, directed by Tim Miller)


Deadpool_posterWade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) is a mercenary with a sense of humor and a heart of not quite gold.  When he is diagnosed with terminal cancer, he leaves his girlfriend, Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), and agrees to allow a secret organization to experiment on him.  They will cure his cancer but, in return, they expect him to serve as a super powered slave for their own clients.  After being severely disfigured by the sadistic Ajax (Ed Skrein), Wilson develops a super human healing ability.  Eventually, Wilson escapes but now fears that he’s too twisted to return to Vanessa.  Taking on the identity of Deadpool, Wilson tries to track down and get his revenge on Ajax (real name: Francis).

From the moment I heard that 20th Century Fox was producing a Deadpool film, I had only one request: “Don’t fuck it up.”

After all, there is a reason why Deadpool is one of the most popular characters to come out of Marvel’s later period.  He’s certainly the best thing that Rob Liefeld has ever had a hand in creating.  First introduced in New Mutants and subsequently used in the various X-books before getting his own ground-breaking series, Deadpool has earned the right to be known as “the merc with a mouth.”  Deadpool was popular because, out of all the characters in the Marvel Universe, he alone understood that he was in a comic book.  He would frequently break the fourth wall and talk about how ridiculous life as a comic book antihero was.  At a time when almost all other super powered characters were presented as being grim and troubled, Deadpool was the often vulgar antidote to comic books that took themselves too seriously.

(My favorite Deadpool moment was when Deadpool had been once again incorrectly assumed dead.  When Blind Al told Weasel that Deadpool was dead, the footnote at the bottom of the panel read, “Guess the series is over!”)

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I saw Deadpool last weekend.

They did not fuck it up.

My biggest fear was that the Deadpool movie would present a neutered or toned down Deadpool but there was no need to worry.  Though the film’s plot may be a standard origin story with a revenge subplot tossed in, Deadpool distinguishes itself by staying true to the character’s anarchistic and self-referential humor.  This is not a case of Dolph Lundgren putting on a trenchcoat, driving a motorcycle, and calling himself the Punisher.  And it is certainly not a case of the strange character that Ryan Reynolds played in X-Men Origins who was supposed to be Deadpool but definitely was not.  Deadpool allows Deadpool to be Deadpool, right down to the red uniform, the broken fourth wall, and the R-rated humor and violence.  Deadpool earns its R rating and wears it as a badge of honor  This is not a movie for children.  Everything that most heroes do and say off-camera, Deadpool does and says for the entire audience to see and hear.

That's not Deadpool!

That’s not Deadpool!

That's Deadpool!

That’s Deadpool!

Deadpool ends with the promise of a sequel, perhaps one that will include Cable.  Since Cable is one of my least favorite Marvel characters, I hope that the sequel will at least see the return of Colossus (rendered by CGI and voiced by Stefan Kapicic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Briana Hildebrand), both of whom make welcome appearances here.  Negasonic Teenage Warhead especially deserves her own spin-off film.  Let her blow up shit for two hours.  I’ll watch.

Also, if the sequel has to feature Cable, I hope it will also include Dr. Bong.  Deadpool needs all the help he can get!

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A Very Red Band Deadpool Trailer for Christmas


Deadpool

Twentieth Century Fox has had a stranglehold on the film rights to one of Marvel Comics’ biggest properties: the X-Men and every character associated with them. So far, the studio has only taken the core X-Men and Wolverine properties and adapted them onto the big-screen to mixed results. Some fans of the properties have even come to see the Fox vision for these mutant characters as tame and water-down version of the classic comic book characters.

One such mutant character which had languished in development hell within Fox was the character of Deadpool. The so-called “Merc with a Mouth” had an off and on development cycle throughout the years. The character finally appeared in the forgettable Wolverine stand-alone film, X-Men Origins: Wolverine. The character was played by Ryan Reynolds and just like another superhero film (this time for DC as the classic character of Green Lantern) he starred in, this one bombed and he was starting to be seen as a curse on superhero projects his named gets attached to.

If there was one major effect that Marvel Studios’ success with their Marvel Cinematic Universe has had with the rest of the Hollywood studios was to force them to treat their comic book property licenses seriously. They had to embrace the comic book nature of the properties they held the license to and work with it instead of against it.

It looks like Fox might be doing just that with their R-rated attempt at the Deadpool live-action adaptation starring the star who campained long and hard to produce and star as the title character: Ryan Reynolds. If the tone we’ve seen with the Comic-Con trailer and this latest red band trailer is any indication then the Ryan Reynolds superhero curse could be ending in early February of 2012.

Deadpool is set for a February 12, 2016 release date.