After a tumultuous road to being made, Ryan Reynold’s Deadpool film has been completed and released. The result is a movie that’s almost everything that Deadpool and comic book movie fans could hope for.
The first half of the movie is told in present time and flashbacks. In the present, Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) is tearing multiple holes into multiple bad guys on a highway in his quest to find “Francis”. Through the Flashbacks, we see how Wade Wilson became Deadpool.
Wilson was a former special forces operative turned mercenary. He fell in love with a prostitute named Vanessa (Morena Baccarin). After a year or so of blissful sex and mercenary jobs coming out of Sister Margaret’s Bar from his friend Weasel (T.J. Miller), Wilson finds out that he has extremely advanced cancer. In order to prolong his wife with Vanessa, he subjects himself to experiments designed to awaken mutant genes and abilities in test subjects.
Francis (Ed Skrein) is the man running the experiments along with his enforcer Angel Dust (Gina Carano), but he prefers the name Ajax. After suffering endless torture, the highlight of which was an oxygen chamber that leaves the subject on the edge of asphyxiation, Wilson is able to free himself and fights Ajax, but he’s beaten and left for dead in the wreckage. Fortunately for him, the experiment worked and left Wilson with a healing factor that allowed him to survive. Unfortunately, it also left him heavily disfigured. Believing that Francis could fix his face (and that he hates him), Wilson created a costume, named himself Deadpool after the pool at Sister Margeret’s on who would die next, and went on a rampage trying to find Francis.
In the present day, Deadpool has found Francis, but his attempts to capture him are interrupted by the X-Men, Colossus (he’s CGI but the performance is by Greg LaSalle) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand), who aren’t thrilled with the mayhem he’s been causing. Knowing who’s after him, Ajax decides to go on the offensive. He finds Vanessa, who still thinks Wade is dead, and kidnaps her. Deadpool enlists the help of Colossus, Negasonic, and his faithful cab driver, Dopinder (Karan Soni), to face off against Ajax and save Vanessa.
I find the story of how this movie ended up getting made to be a very interesting case. I was one of the fans that was outraged by the treatment that Deadpool was given in the X-Men Origins: Wolverine movie. I won’t talk about that here other than to say that knowing all of that backstory made watching this version of Deadpool incredibly gratifying. As a Deadpool movie this, film is amazing. It’s not perfect, but it hits almost every note that you’d want it to hit. It’s funny the action is good and, most importantly, the characters (most of them anyway) feel like the versions of the characters you’d get in the comics. Not just Deadpool, but characters like Colossus and Ajax feel much more in line with a comic book.
The problems that the movie has are related to the fact that this is still, at its core, a superhero origin story with a limited budget. The movie still follows the general origin story format although it does try to subvert that by using the flashbacks for the first half of the movie and using the 4-th wall breaking jokes to acknowledge when the movie is doing things that movies do. A great example is when Weasel tells Wade to go meet a mysterious man because, “it might help move the plot forward”. The budget limitations of the movie are also something the movie jokes about, but are still there. By nature a Deadpool movie has to be self-aware and this one is not only aware of what it is, but what it isn’t. To the movie’s credit it does a great job of acknowledging its own faults which, in some ways, makes them forgivable but doesn’t mean that they don’t exist. The fact that the movie embraces these flaws is part of what makes it so enjoyable. The wit and resourcefulness that went into handling these issues shines through in so many areas. At almost every turn it’s like this movie says, “We know what you’re thinking” and then addresses it with a joke or some other clever solution.
The problems feel minute because there is so much to enjoy in this movie. The dialogue comes off as being witty and incisive despite the fact that the words are almost nothing but juvenile vulgarities. The jokes start from the very first moment of the movie and they just keep coming, rapid fire. What’s maybe more impressive than the number of jokes in the movie is how many of them land. The action scenes by themselves aren’t overly special but they fold seamlessly into the comedy of the movie, never seeming to cause things to skip a beat. The effects are also seamless, never coming off as a distraction. Given some of the things this movie did, like having a fully CGI Colossus, that’s no small feat. All of those things aside, the performances of the good guys in the movie were great. Ryan Reynolds captains the cast with an interpretation of Deadpool that feels like a character and not just Ryan Reynolds in a suit. Morena Baccarin and TJ Miller are great playing off of Reynolds in the scenes they have together. There was also a great bit part of Dopinder the cab driver played by Karan Soni, which was one of the most unexpectedly funny parts of this movie. Everything in the movie really came together to support and feature Deadpool as a lead character and as a movie.
The one hesitation that I would have in recommending this movie to anyone would be that it really does lean hard into it’s R rating. There are some movies that are R ratings because they just go a little to far over the PG-13 line. Deadpool doesn’t just cross that line, it long jumps over the line and then rolls around in the sand on the other side. If there is a “tasteful” way to do a raunchy R-rated comedy, I would say that this is it. The R-Rated material isn’t just vulgarity for vulgarity’s sake, it all serves a purpose and adds to the movie in one way or another. That being said, if you are the kind of person who doesn’t want to go near that kind of thing (or if you are a child) there’s really no getting around what’s in this movie. However, if you’re a mature adult and you don’t mind something that feels like it came out of the darker recesses of a teenage boy’s hormone fueled dreams, then there’s nothing stopping you from going to see one of the best comic book movies to date.
- One of the most spiritually faithful adaptations of a comic book character
- Completely takes advantage of what it's R-Rating allows it to do
- Too many quotable and fun little moments to count
- Ryan Reynolds is perfect for this role and Morena Baccarin completely matches him when they're together
- For all it's positives it still sits on the structure of a standard super hero origin story
- Heavy doeses of juvenile profanity and violence with mediocre doses of sexual content limit the film's accessibility