Deadpool is a nasty, sarcastic, R-rated wonder. The movie combined origin story and revenge movie tropes in a parody/spoof/satire of superhero movies that works an example of the genre, too.
Basically, the story is that former special ops guy Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) has started working as a mercenary – but he hires himself out to the little people – like a high school girl who’s got a pizza delivery boy stalker (who he persuades to give up the stalking). He works out of a mercenary bar run by his friend Weasel (T.J. Miller) – who keeps a pool going on which of his customers is going to die next.
When he meets crazy-a$$ hooker with a heart of something approaching gold named Vanessa (Morena Baccarin, Gotham), they hit it off – trading hard luck stories that are clearly an American version of the famous Monty Python sketch, trying to decide who’s had the worse life. Which, as it does, leads to them falling in love.
But then, Wade collapses – and awakens to the news that his body is riddled with cancer. Fortunately, he’s contacted by a guy (Jed Rees, The Chris Isaak Show) who knows a guy who can cure his cancer and give him superhuman powers.
This we learn in flashback after Deadpool has tracked and killed a horde of minions working for… the guy who cured his cancer and gave him superpowers! He calls himself Ajax (Ed Skrein) because it’s better than his real name (Francis Freeman). Unfortunately, just as Deadpool is about to wreak his vengeance, X-Men Colossus (voiced by Stefan Kapicic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand, Prism) interfere.
Of course, we don’t even need to get to the film’s opening moments – Deadpool taking a cab to get to Francis – to realize there’s a little something different going on here. The opening credits include such items as starring… A British Villain… A Hot Chick and so on through to ‘Produced by Asshats…’
A one point, while already breaking the fourth wall – Deadpool not only knows he’s in a movie, I suspect he knows he’s Ryan Reynolds – he breaks the fourth wall again, noting that breaking the fourth wall during breaking the fourth wall must be breaking sixteen walls!
Much is made of his origin – a bargain basement version of the process that created Wolverine (as Ajax notes, this isn’t a government agency; there are budgetary consideration) – especially the part where he winds up looking like ‘an avocado had sex with an older, uglier avocado.’
Deadpool is shot craftily, stretching the budget in unexpected ways to good effect (the finding the right costume montage is hilarious), and there are action scenes that match up well with other (bigger budgeted) superhero movies. A sequence in which Deadpool counts down the twelve bullets he has as he uses them to good effect against a horde of better equipped minions (Ajax clearly is that hurt by his budget) is effective for both its violence and his commentary.
Gina Carano finally gets to be a no-apologies-kick-out-the-jams violent beast of a woman called Angel Dust (strong enough and hardy enough to tie a can to Colossus), Ajax’s right-hand person.
Hildebrand is fun as the moody nuclear teenager who nonchalantly finishes a text before blowing Angel through a railroad car, and Kapicic captures Piotr’s (Colossus) gentlemanly metallic X-Man.
Skrein is more effective here than he was as the third coming of Transporter’s Frank Martin. Maybe being a villain brings out the best in him. He doesn’t do bad/painful things; he really wants to do them. Of course, like all villains, he never knows when to stop – like kidnapping an unkillable guy’s lady love might not be the best idea in the whole world…
Minor roles are played with some zest, too. Miller makes Weasel a fun friend for a bar full of mercenaries, and an old blind black woman named Al is given some extra zing by singer/actor Leslie Uggams (Roots, Nurse Jackie), who puts up with Wade as he gets his act together after being left for dead by Ajax, early on.
As for Reynolds as Deadpool, let’s just say it’s a role he was born to play – and he nails it.
Also, stay to the end of the credits – there’s a very Ferris Bueller moment, followed by a second moment that could be setting up or a sequel (or, alternatively, it could just be Deadpool being the Merc with a Mouth).
Rhett Reese (Zombieland) and Paul Wernick (The Joe Schmo Show) have provided a script that certainly shows a love for the character (and, one expects, a solid base or some wicked improv) and first time feature director Tim Miller has certainly made a splash with a film that understands its character – and its character’s fans – pretty much perfectly.
First time out of the gate and Miller has an evil, wicked mean & nasty winner.
Final Grade: A+