Deadpool (20th Century Fox, R)

Deadpool is aiming for laughs and pure excitement, and it’s more than capable of achieving those things.


I’ve never really been interested in superhero films, and I don’t normally make an effort to see them. Hearing about Deadpool required I make an exception to this rule. The promise of irreverent comedy in a superhero movie that was seemingly less tied in with all the Marvel-based storylines got me excited to see it, whereas most other people I talked to seemed apathetic at best. I did have a few concerns, mostly that the majority of it would be a Ryan Reynolds quip-fest. It turns out those concerns were founded, just not in a bad way. Reynolds constantly rattles off jokes, but it’s not a detriment like I thought it would be. In addition to being well balanced with the action scenes, writers Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese make the crass humor fit into the overall tone. Reynolds’ delivery also suits the story and character perfectly, turning Deadpool into as much an effective comedy as a solid superhero movie.

Wade Wilson was once a wisecracking and unpredictable ex-soldier making a living as a mercenary who would knock the crap out of anyone if paid sufficiently. His powers were unleashed as a result of the Weapon X experiments (shown in the film but not named as such) that were meant to cure his terminal cancer. His main ability is tissue regeneration, making him virtually indestructible, only he doesn’t heal as fast as Wolverine, a fact which is often used for comedic purposes. As a result of these experiments, he also came out looking hideous and being mentally unhinged (granted, he already had more than a couple of screws loose). This combination of fearlessness, insanity, and a gleeful love for the clever and absurd come together to create his super-identity: Deadpool, a cartoony antihero capable of ultimate destruction and hilarity. His path to revenge against the sociopathic scientist, Francis (a.k.a. Ajax, played by Ed Skrein) who disfigured him runs against ensuring the safety of his ex-fiancé (Morena Baccarin) and being intercepted by the X-Men Colossus (Stefan Kapičić) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand).

Among great effects and performances, the film boasts an airtight script. The narrative is split between Wade Wilson’s backstory and his pursuits in the present day. It’s written in a way so as to never feel top heavy or bogged down by exposition, despite the fact that the writers took great time and care to craft Wilson’s personality and depict his struggles. If I’m being nitpicky, I will say that, occasionally, the fourth wall humor is overdone. It’s funny in small doses, but it occurs often enough here that it gives off the impression that the writers were too confident in its supposed originality. It’s a miniscule complaint and easily disregarded, too. Fourth wall breaks are a staple of Deadpool’s character in the original comic books. As a dark superhero comedy, it doesn’t reach a very high emotional or intellectual level. I don’t really see this as a problem, though, because Marvel tends to go too far with its ham-fisted message-pandering. Deadpool is aiming for laughs and pure excitement, and it’s more than capable of achieving those things. What more could you want? | Nic Champion

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