Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, T.J. Miller, Gina Carano, Leslie Uggams. Directed by Tim Miller.
Deadpool is the first of the X-Men films to be rated R by the MPAA, and it is a gleeful, proudly R-rated film—crude, vulgar, profane and violent. It’s like everyone involved, rather than seeing how much they could get away with and still keep a PG-13 rating, decided from the beginning to get the R rating and see how much fun they could have.
A LOT of fun. Not only does it revel in action and dialogue that’s strictly for adult audiences, but it destroys the fourth wall, it’s incredibly self-aware, and it opens with one of the best frozen-action camera shots I’ve ever seen. It’s as if the irreverent antihero Deadpool character also wrote and directed the film as kind of an anti-comic-book antimovie. Even the opening credits are anticredits.
Wade Wilson is a former special forces dude who hangs out in the roughest bar in the world and seems to intimidate people on behalf of other people for money. He meets a woman, falls in love, and is diagnosed with cancer. Lots of cancer. Someone says he might be able to cure Wilson, but it’s going to be painful. Wilson agrees to the treatment, which is really a series of experiments by a sadistic man named Ajax who subjects Wilson (and others) to extreme physical trauma in hopes of triggering an artificial mutation.
This is Deadpool’s origin story, and its plot elements are not especially intriguing or interesting. The film’s strength is in telling the story in a manner unlike any comic book film I can think of. Wolverine may be a loner, resistant to joining anyone’s team, but his moral compass is pretty easy to read. Deadpool is morally ambiguous, and without apology, and while this makes some of his decisions unpleasant, the ride is so enjoyable it’s hard to complain.
Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool is excellent. I honestly thought he was good as Green Lantern too, though, so maybe my opinion here is questionable. Two of the X-Men from Xavier’s school, Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead, help out, and they’re great too. I don’t know a thing about either of them, but I love Colossus, who seems to be Deadpool’s opposite in every way.
Superhero origin stories are getting tiresome, yet here is one that had me curious and entertained all the way through.