Even in an era where every comic book superhero seems to be getting a movie, it is still difficult to believe “Deadpool” has come to the big screen in a film of his own.
In most of his prior iterations, Deadpool has been depicted as the embodiment of profanity, carnage-incarnate, the king of the explicit. If he was around, “F-bombs” were going to get dropped, limbs were going to be lopped off, and sexual urges were going to be on full display. Additionally, Deadpool typically acknowledges he is a comic book character and never shies away from addressing his audiences or the very medium. What movie studio would allow such an unorthodox character helm a superhero movie?
Well, with some prodding by a passionate Ryan Reynolds and a wonderfully voracious fan base, 20th Century Fox would, apparently. And thankfully, not a single ounce of crudeness or self-awareness was lost in the “Merc with a Mouth’s” movie adaptation. “Deadpool” is a ruthless, unapologetic, near perfect celebration of its lead character, faltering only occasionally in the telling of its love story.
The main plot of “Deadpool” is appropriately simple. Ryan Reynolds plays Wade Wilson, a mercenary with an unrelenting and critical sense of humor. After falling deeply in love with an escort, he is diagnosed with terminal cancer. Refusing to yield to the disease and leave his new girlfriend alone, Wilson participates in a shady experimental treatment that turns him into a nearly invincible yet horribly disfigured mutant. Fearing the rejection of his wife and anyone else who lays an eye on him, he sets out to find the man behind his torturous “cure” in hopes of reversing it, recruiting reluctant friends to aid him along the way.
For about the first half of the film, Deadpool’s story is told nonlinearly. The opening scenes show Deadpool as many know him: in the red suit, making fast friends with taxi drivers, handily dispatching his enemies, and jamming out to Salt N’ Pepa. He then proceeds to interrupt the action and comedy to explain his situation to the audience. Due to the simplicity of the overall plot, these jumps in time are not difficult to follow. In fact, it is reflective of Deadpool’s near schizophrenic zaniness and allows the excitement and humor to be doled out in sweet, little morsels instead of large, exhausting truckloads.
The second half becomes much more linear as Deadpool’s determination and hatred take total control. Of course, this is not to say the film begins to take itself too seriously. Deadpool interacts with his bartender and weapons-dealing friend Weasel, the X-Men Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead, and his blind landlady to great effect as he concocts and attempts to carry out his final murderous plan.
With that being said, I could not help but feel as if I cared more about hearing the next quip or seeing the next execution method than I did Deadpool’s motivations and desires. His relationship is a bit unorthodox, to say the least. The connection he has with the escort is understandable but hardly relatable. Perhaps if additional time was spent developing the relationship to a profound effect rather than a purely humorous one, the audience would be interested in what Deadpool was doing or how he was feeling in addition to how he was doing it. I would have liked to have seen more plainly how the couple was truly and sincerely suffering without one another; it is shown the Deadpool has become obsessed and consumed by finding his enemy and his girlfriend has become a gentlemen’s club waitress, but, once again, this is presented as more amusing than heart aching.
Admittedly, audiences are not flocking to theaters to be moved by the “Merc with a Mouth” and his plight. They are there to have their minds blown by the violence and sides ripped apart by the jokes. So, how are the action and comedy?
“Deadpool” is delightfully brutal and gory. It is perhaps comparable to a Quinten Tarantino film’s action but without the directorial methodology or subtlety, and that is just fine. “Deadpool” knows what it wants to show and shamelessly flaunts it; shots are framed through gunshot wounds, heads are punted towards the camera, and dismembered limbs are waved about without a care.
And “Deadpool” is probably the funniest film I have seen since Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s “21 Jump Street.” Nothing is safe from Deadpool’s jokes, not even Hugh Jackman, 20th Century Fox, or Ryan Reynolds himself. Even when the film is not being self-referential or self-deprecating, it is uproariously witty with brutal insults, fumbled pick-up lines, and plenty of innuendo.
Obviously, “Deadpool” is not for everyone, but there is no denying that the film does the comic book character incredible justice despite its inability to truly engage viewers with its love story. If you enjoy Deadpool in other media, do not hesitate to see this film. If you are interested in having a maniacal, hilarious antihero in your life, do not hesitate to see this film. If you are craving a superhero movie that usurps all expectations of today’s superhero movies, do not hesitate to see this film. Heck, even if you just enjoy Ferris Bueller references and happen to have a strong stomach for blood and guts, I think you should buy a ticket now. Yes! Now! This review is over! Stop reading and go!