Cue the music.
By Louis Balzani
Posted 4:00 pm on Feb 14, 2016
WATCH THIS IF:
- You’ve been waiting for a faithful cinematic take on the Deadpool comics.
- You like your action movies filthy and violent.
Movie studios are hoping you’re a fan of superhero films more than ever. Not counting the one I’m about to discuss, theaters will play host to no less than five of these movies this year. With so many of them flying around, now’s the perfect time for someone to come along and take the piss out of the entire genre. Thankfully, Marvel has the ideal candidate for such a project in the form of Deadpool, and to delight of comic fans everywhere, 20th Century Fox decided that it’s finally time to unleash him. They made a good decision.
Mercenary Wade Wilson finds his life finally taking a turn for the better when he meets and falls in love with an escort. Shortly after, he gets diagnosed with aggressive terminal cancer, and he’s forced to turn to the Weapon X program in an attempt to save his life. He gets tortured relentlessly until he finally mutates, achieving immortality at the expense of a gruesome physical transformation. Wade then vows to enact his revenge on those responsible for his suffering, unleashing his fury upon the city under the moniker and mask of Deadpool.
That all might sound pretty heavy, but fear not – this is as loose and fun as anything you’ll see in theaters this year. Deadpool‘s primary reason for being is to openly mock the now-standard conventions of the superhero genre, and in many ways, it really is everything those movies aren’t. It’s filthy, it’s ultra-violent, and it’s so self-referential that it threatens to collapse in on itself. It’s also shockingly hilarious at times, and much of that is due to Ryan Reynolds’s phenomenal turn as the titular anti-hero. He embodies the snarky, flippant nature of the character flawlessly, and he manages to sustain that schtick throughout the film without it becoming grating or annoying. It really is his show, too, as the rest of the cast stands out much less. That said, T.J. Miller is still very funny as Deadpool’s best friend, and Ed Skrein finally gets his chance to shine as the despicable Ajax.Much of that character-driven energy is thanks to a brutally efficient script. This movie comes courtesy of writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, who previously brought us Zombieland, among other films; their signature high-octane action and wit fits this type of film very well. Sadly, the movie’s breakneck pace results in some jarring scene transitions and curious timing for moments that may have needed a little more room to breathe. On the plus side, this relentless forward momentum means you’ll rarely be bored or disengaged, so there’s definitely some trade-offs at work here.
Though the film rides its absurdity clear through to the end, it does take some time to ground itself and pay attention to Wilson’s relationship with his girlfriend, Vanessa. Though the two crackle in their first few scenes, they never believably develop as a couple, so this piece of the film doesn’t really click; I blame this in part on the shorter running time – there’s a lot that the film needs to get through, and it chooses not to bog itself down with that aspect of the story. That said, there’s enough development and sweetness to give all the silliness some context, and I do appreciate that.Let’s be honest, though. You’re not going into this movie to see a mushy love-fest. You’re here for the wisecracks, the action, and the gore – and the movie delivers on all those fronts. For Deadpool, effects maestro Tim Miller stepped into the director’s chair for the first time ever, and he crafts some really fun visual moments out of Reese and Wernick’s script. Hilarious opening credits pave the way for some clever shot transitions, fun angles, and visceral shows of violence. He only wrangles two or three major set pieces together – a side effect of the film’s limited budget, no doubt – but the old adage of “less is more” holds true as each of these sequences really thrill.
Deadpool is that rare instance of a movie delivering exactly what audiences wanted. It’s a celebration of irreverent action, and it’s refreshing to see a superhero movie born out of passion and creativity instead of emerging as yet another cog in yet another “cinematic universe.” Sure, we can criticize its length, pacing, or possible lack of depth, but that would be missing the point. My best advice, then, would be that you don’t miss the point – and don’t miss this movie, either.