Offering perhaps the most faithful adaptation of a fictional character ever found on the big screen, Deadpool is a filthy, hilarious and action-packed joy ride that offers moviegoers more bang for their buck than any other film so far this year.
With two shiver-inducing turns in the world of comic book movies behind him, Ryan Reynolds once again enters the Marvel universe in Deadpool as Wade Wilson, a wise-cracking mercenary who foolishly places his trust in a secretive organization that promises to cure him of late-stage cancer. The experimental treatment works, granting Wilson the ability to recover from essentially anything, but there is also a downside. In exchange for his apparent inability to be killed Wilson is scarred from head to toe in a way that he himself describes as making him appear like “a testicle with teeth.” Knowing these changes will draw unwanted attention, Wade decides to dawn a red costume and call himself Deadpool, which is a name pulled from an actual dead pool maintained by Wade his friend mercenary pals, and in that moment the legendary “merc with a mouth” is born.
All of this has already occurred when Deadpool begins, but thanks to a unique story structure the film finds numerous opportunities to explore Wade Wilson’s origin in order to better explain the current narrative. From the opening scene Deadpool’s only real goal is to find the man who left him scarred (Ed Skrien) and force him to fix his face, but along the way that same evil doer also kidnaps the love of Wade’s life, Vanessa (Morena Baccarin). This only adds further fuel to Deadpool’s rage, which is then expressed through fits of ultra-violence and sardonic commentary that references everything from the timeless music of Wham! to Aliens 3, studios who hire multiple actors to play one role and gratuitous sex acts far too vulgar to repeat here.
Speaking of obscene things, Deadpool has lots of them. It’s everything fans of the original Deadpool comics would expect from Robert Liefeld’s beloved creation, and it’s presented without slightest restraint or censorship, from nonstop foul language (including frequent references to sex with various on-screen characters and comic book icons) to masturbation gags, gratuitous violence and fourth-wall shattering asides both incredibly brazen and utterly ridiculous. There is even a post-credits sequence so perfectly designed to parody the same genre Deadpool calls home that you wouldn’t be blamed for crawling under your seat as soon as it ends and waiting for the next screening to begin.
As with all comic book movies made today, there are several moments in Deadpool that seemingly exist for no other reason than stitching together the various franchises owned by 20th Century Fox, specifically X-Men. Both Colossus (voiced by Stefan Kapicic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) appear in the film, with the latter actually wearing her bright yellow X-Men suit, and in nearly every scene where they are found there is also one or more references to having Deadpool someday join their crime-fighting team. Deadpool, ever the one to deflate belief he is an actual hero, does everything he can to convince them he’s not all that interested unless, perhaps, he can have some one-on-one time with Wolverine.
The biggest flaw found in the film is that, like any other origin film, by the time the audience learns everything they need to know about the main character the story is nearly complete. Fans of Wade Wilson must wait for general audiences to understand what makes him tick, and that makes the overall story feel a bit underwhelming. It’s not altogether bad, as Reynold’s take on the character is endlessly charming, but you are left wishing a sequel were due out in the next few weeks.
At the risk of revealing too much of myself I feel it’s only right to admit that I am a lifelong fan of Deadpool, and I have read nearly every major story arc since his first appearance in New Mutants #98. What director Tim Miller and team have accomplished here is as close to bringing those books to life as anyone could hope to get. The Wade Wilson fans have loved for 25 years is fully embodied by Ryan Reynolds, and at his side is a slew of supporting players who offer equally strong turns in their various roles. Though I wish the story spent a little less time introducing Wilson’s unique perspective on reality, I can entirely appreciate its necessity, especially if 20th Century Fox plans to turn this title into a franchise. I cannot confirm or deny that being the goal at this time, but I certainly hope that is the case, and if so you can rest assured I will be among the first in line next time Deadpool comes to town.