Yep, this is Deadpool alright.
Can you all think back fifteen, even ten years ago? When superhero movies weren't as good as they are mostly right now? Remember when superhero movies were either fifty-fifty of being good? Thanks to the success of "X-Men" and "Spider-Man" in the early 2000's, Hollywood began shelling out superhero movies at a rapid pace. It didn't seem to matter if there was any quality to the making of some of these movies, it was clear that studios were just greenlighting these movies to make the big bucks. Then in the year 2008, we started to move out of the fog. Superhero movies were extremely great that year. Not only were they good, but the genre began to take chances, they started creating connected universes a la the comic books, their stories related to current events...it was so amazing.
Now it seems like all superhero movies follow that anesthetic and for the most part, bad superhero movies are really uncommon. Even the uneven ones like "Age of Ultron," are better than the average superhero flick coming out ten years ago. Now that the genre is established, its time to take more risks. Like each genre, it will not survive if it does not allow itself to change. "Deadpool" is a movie that is allowing some change. Its an R-rated superhero movie made with all the flair and spectacle as a regular superhero movie. It also clearly loves its title character and allows the character to flourish. It plays by the same rules of the superhero movie, but also flattens them with its fist and gives them the middle finger.
Some audiences may not understand all the vulgarity of "Deadpool," but that is completely the character. Deadpool was nicknamed The Merc with the Mouth in the comic books, and he was not the typical comic book character. He killed, he had a dark sense of humor, he broke the fourth wall, he had a crazy personality. Another film critic calls Deadpool Bugs Bunny with swords, and that's exactly what the character is. Deadpool is blatant (and I DO mean blatant) rip-off of the DC character, right down to his alter ego. Deadpool has always been a R-rated character, so he deserved an R-rated movie. That neutered version of the character that we saw in "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" just does not cut it, and that was not the character at all.
What we see in this new "Deadpool" movie, THAT'S Deadpool. But the movie is more than a faithful adaptation. Its represents a particular shift the genre needed. It proved that R-rated superhero movies could be both entertaining and true in form. It proved that these characters deserve to be made with their true colors intact, ratings should not enter into them, because as this movie proved in its opening weekend, ratings don't matter. What matters, and what always has mattered, is the power of storytelling. The story "Deadpool" is pretty crazy, but totally in the toolhouse of Deadpool.
How crazy? The entire showdown between Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) and "Francis" (Ed Skrein) because Deadpool spends the whole movie making fun of his name. Yeah, you read that right.
Oh sure, we do find out that Wade Wilson is suffering from cancer, and will leave his beautiful girlfriend Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) without a boyfriend. Wilson secretly enters a government program lead by "Francis" and his gal-pal Christine (Gina Carano). In this government program, Wilson is constantly tortured until his body mutates, leaving his body severely scared. Because Wilson and "Francis" never got along, and because "Francis" kidnaps Vanessa, Wilson goes hunting for him. Wilson recruits X-Men Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Briana Hildebrand) to help him. What ensues is a magnificently relentless superhero movie full of gore, foul-language, guts and boobies. I love that the movie breaks the fourth wall in a couple moments, which creates some of the bigger laughs. Deadpool's true personality is on full display here, and Ryan Reynolds knocks it out of the park, all movie long. When the film begins, and we are moving through a slow motion car crash. We see names of the actors, except they aren't actor names. They read like "The Hot Chick" "The Bad Guy," "The Comic Relief." Then another credit reads "Produced by Asshats." It was at this moment that I knew "Deadpool" had me.
The only gripe I have is that, despite the inclusion of Colossus and the X-Mansion, I have no idea how this fits into the rest of the ''X-Men" series. Its pretty clear that after "Days of Future Past, "that the entire storyline has been re-written, clearly to get rid of some of the less-popular movies. I wish I knew how this fit into the rest of the continuity, but I hope we learn in the future. I have to say that even though Daniel Cudmore didn't return as Colossus, but I kind of wish he did. This is the most personality Colossus has ever had in any movie, and it was absolutely wonderful in the hands of Kapicic. And Negasonic Teenage Warhead? She has a great scene at the very end. Honestly, why would you not want a character that was named Negasonic Teenage Warhead in your movie?
The movie contains big action, laughs that smack you over the head, and sometimes you got to keep in your laughter, just to hear what is coming next. I have to say that I usually hate Gina Carano, but man is she well utilized here. I also have to say that she had a big laugh from me at the end with her fight against Colossus, which I might add, is pretty insane. You'll love all the performances in this movie. You'll love the various jokes made about Ryan Reynolds, Green Lantern, how stupid Deadpool looked in "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" and why we don't see other X-Men hanging out at the X-Mansion all movie. You'll love the Hugh Jackman joke. You'll love how gleefully Deadpool narrates the entire movie. You'll love all the energy and buzz the movie displays. But most of all, you'll love just how much director Tim Miller loves Deadpool and how well he made a movie that suits him. Deadpool was not a character in the same vein as Spider-Man, Captain America, Iron Man or even Rocket Raccoon. He had a personality and style completely his own, and that style was for adults. Its a miracle we got a movie like this, that plays by the rules of the superhero genre while also tearing them down in the process.
Oh, and stay for the credits. We have a lot to look forward to with the sequel. And if Stephen Lang ends up playing that character. The world will be a much happier place.
FINAL GRADE: A