Right from that moment when the snarky title sequence rolls around a bullet time scene of carnage that involves a car cigarette lighter, some guy’s bleeding mouth, an SUV doing cartwheels—not the fun kind—and sundry mortal human guys getting very dead while the “Merc with a Mouth” (probably) grins a giddy grin under his hood you know that this—Deadpool—is not going to be anything like your granddaddy’s superhero movies.
What?! X-Men was released 16 years ago, Batman 26-something years ago, and Superman was a whopping 38 years ago. You don’t think at least some of those people have got grandkids running around? Well Deadpool is unlike anything those people ever saw in a superhero movie.
He is coarse, his sense of humour is classifiable as toilet only if that toilet was the one Renton swam out of in Trainspotting, and he is ripped. He does good things, but only because people paid him to. And this is before he becomes the quick-healing badass with the stylized hangman’s hood for a mask.
See our boy Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) used to be Special Forces before he became a mercenary. And then he met Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) and they fell in love—if humping their way through various historical, and Hallmark-approved, holidays is your definition of love. But then the terminal illness diagnosis is received and a mysterious man (Jed Rees) arrives with the offer of a cure. The price of that ‘cure’ is that Wade falls afoul of Ajax (Ed Skrein) and his sidekick Angel Dust (Gina Carano), leaving him alive but disfigured, and thus unable to be with the woman he loves.
The way screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, then director Tim Miller, and finally editor Julian Clarke weave the past and the present into one cohesive narrative throughout this movie is a thing of beauty. And laughs – “How IDGAF is Deadpool?” you might ask. He makes jokes about Liam Neeson as Brian Mills in the Taken movies. That right there is so brave it is downright stupid. And violence – bloody splatter-filled violence. And profanity – will singe the hair right off your ears this language from a mainstream movie not written by a guy named Tarantino.
And it is all good.
So good that I wish—not for the first time—that this is the extent to which Zack Snyder had taken Watchmen and Sucker Punch. Those movies really ache from the curbing of their badassery to honour a ratings requirement. Deadpool is gleefully way past that. It is a parody and a celebration of the superhero movie in the same breath. To the extent that Stan Lee blesses the movie with his presence.
I hope Deadpool gives Ryan Reynolds the courage to seek out more jugular-seeking projects like it. Morena Baccarin’s gleeful portrayal of a chick who is ‘damaged goods’ sells the Wade and Vanessa love story. Gina Carano demonstrates once again what a fearsome Diana Prince she might have made. And Ed Skrein actually presents himself as a villain who might get the better of the good guy.
Final Analysis: The fact that this movie exists is both proof that fan power – it was greenlit—in part—because test footage that was leaked onto the Internet quickly went viral – is a real thing, and a beacon of hope for those who seek to do something other than break box office records by making safe entertainments whose favour will diminish once the rose-tinted nostalgia glasses come off.
My Advice: If you’re interested in seeing what kind of fun can be had with a movie featuring a super-powered central character, you’ve got to go check out Deadpool. Be warned though – it is a bloody, profane movie that is not for the faint-hearted.