Deadpool is not your typical superhero movie. Typical superhero movies don’t open on Valentine’s Day weekend, or pretend to be a couples film. Typical superhero movies don’t fling the fourth wall to one side before the movie even properly starts. Typical superhero movies do not have magical cartoon unicorns. Deadpool is anything but typical.
Thank heavens for that.
The movie, based on Rob Liefeld’s notorious comic book character, follows jobbing mercenary-lite Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) as he meet-cutes and falls in love with Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), only to discover he has cancer of the basically everything. Soon he is contacted by a mysterious recruiter offering him a complete cure for his cancer and super powers on the side.
Wade accepts, only to find that A) the cure involves basically torturing his body into mutation, and B) he is to be turned into a super-slave, doing dirty work for the highest bidder. Wade escapes, and begins to fight his way through the organization, looking for his lead tormentor, the equally invulnerable Ajax (Ed Skrein).
The movie jumps right in with Wade trying to take down Ajax, filling in the story with flashbacks, asides, and lots of direct talking to the camera. Reynolds’ Deadpool is a non-stop motormouth, infuriating friends and enemies alike but keeping the audience laughing. The bits that are meant to be funny, are. The dramatic parts — such as Wade and Vanessa’s relationship and trying to come to terms with his cancer — are emotional without becoming maudlin.
The movie gleefully plays with the tropes of both superhero stories and movies in general. Director Tim Miller does a good job keeping things moving apace, and the whole thing is done with a gleeful irreverence: from the first strains of “Angel of the Morning” (oh, yes) to the closing melodic stylings of Wham! (oh, yes), Deadpool exuberantly dances all over the time-tired tropes of the genre.
A quick word about the content: you may have heard that the film is a very hard R, and indeed it is. When Ryan Reynolds put the word out begging his fans not to take their children to see the show, he wasn’t kidding. It’s really not suited for kids. Not just because there’s a lot that’s going to go sailing over their heads, or the gore, or the nudity, but because this movie is aimed right at the grownups. This is a Mom-And-Dad-Away-From-The-Kids type movie, and frankly there are several scenes the enjoyment of which are not enhanced by having somebody’s twelve-year-old sitting next to you constantly asking his mom what does that mean. Sadly, I speak from experience.
Still, if you are an adult, or can reasonably pass for one in a dim light, and you can put up with a dirty, grimy, bloody, chaotic spectacle of id-driven lunacy, this movie is definitely worth catching. And if you just so happen to have someone for whom this is the perfect date film, then hang on to them, because you don’t get that kind of perfectly paired madness very often. See it alone, or with someone you love to be crazy with.
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