Wade 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!”)
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!
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!