The reviews following the release of Deadpool, starring Ryan Reynolds, have been nothing less than stellar. At the risk of sounding like every other blogger, reviewer, critic, and fan boy out there, I must whole-heartedly concur. Deadpool has it all. A good story, great action, humor that actually elicited laughs, and a satisfactory ending!
Before I begin, I must insert my usual SPOILER warning. This review will be full of them (SPOILERS, that is) so if you have not seen Deadpool yet and you don’t want any part of the plot ruined for you, stop reading now. Otherwise, continue on. You’ve been warned. That being said, let’s get to it.
The Story: Deadpool begins in the midst of a storyline with our main character already on the hunt for Francis (Ajax), the man whom Deadpool believes is the only one who can fix his disfigured face. Instead of the story trudging on from there and leaving the viewer with the task of putting all the pieces together, the film, narrated by Deadpool, pauses and does a rewind, which includes Deadpool’s origin, to catch the viewer up. One of the reasons why this self-narration tactic works so well in this film is built into the main character itself, specifically, Deadpool’s ability to break the fourth wall. Don’t get it. Stay tuned.
Wade Wilson learns that he has widespread Cancer and has no chance of survival. In a last ditch effort to beat the odds, he submits his body to an experiment which grants him an accelerated healing factor that makes him virtually un-killable (my spell-check tells me un-killable is not a word without the hyphen). After the experiment, Wilson escapes a fiery death, but because he doesn’t believe his girlfriend Vanessa, played by the beautiful Morena Baccarin, will want the newly-disfigured version of himself, he stays away from her and begins the search for Francis, the man he believes can fix his face. Side note: One of the other side effects of Wade’s life saving treatment was the self-awareness that he is, in fact, a character in a comic book. Yes, you read that correctly. Deadpool is aware that he is a character in a story, which is why the breaking of the fourth wall works so well here. In the film, as in the comics books, every other character who witnesses him talking to us (the viewer, or reader) simply chalks it up to Deadpool’s insanity.
The story is well-paced and infused with enough action, humor, and character development that, once the story comes to an end, complete with the Ferris Bueller tribute, you’re left satisfied and wanting more (in a good way).
The Action: This film starts off in the middle of an action sequence that, except for the moments when the action pauses for character and story development, keeps coming at a pace that doesn’t seem forced or overdone. The fight choreography was fantastic and gave you an up-close perspective of Deadpool’s talent as a brawler. The same can be said for the gun-play, and there was plenty of it. We all know Deadpool is a crack shot, but the scene where Wade and Vanessa go to the carnival and play skeeball suggests the Wade already possessed the ability to hit his target with uncanny accuracy. Did I just say uncanny? Like the Uncanny X-Men? Yeah. There are a couple of X-Men in the mix, too.
Colossus: It was great to see Colossus on film again. I liked the fact that they made him freakin’ huge. The depiction of this Colossus seemed much older, more seasoned and mature than the Colossus we’ve seen in prior X-Men films, but that didn’t take away from the character. In fact, this Colossus had more lines in his first scene of the film than any Colossus has ever had in any X-Men film, so kudos for that.
Negasonic Teenage Warhead: An X-man with whom I am not familiar. According to Marvel Universe Wiki, Negasonic is a telepath who also has precognition powers, and not the energy-projection abilities she unleashed in the film. Whatever the case may be, I thought she was an interesting character who gave Angel Dust, played by Gina Carano, a run for her money, if but only for a moment. Regardless, I would welcome another appearance by this character, played by Brianna Hildebrand, in future Deadpool films.
Angel Dust: Gina Carano as Angel looked fantastic. Angel was tough and packed quite a punch. Her fight sequence with Negasonic and Colossus was well choreographed and utilized Carano’s experience as a fighter extremely well. Never once did I question whether or not she was going to be able to hold her own against the two X-Men. I hope we see more of her character in future films. Did I mention that Gina Carano looked fantastic?
The R-rating: Never did I think Hollywood would be brave enough to give a superhero film an R-rating, thus giving it the green light to be as gritty, graphic, and profanity-riddled as the life of any superhero would really be. And I’m so glad they did. The humor in Deadpool would not have had the same effect had it been constrained by a PG-13 tag. Although I’m sure the action sequences would have survived the typical PG-13 rating that most superhero films receive, it was the added raw verbiage that gave the film its “no holds barred” feel. Giving Deadpool an R-rating gave the film a freedom that no other superhero film has had to date. Would the R-rating work for film franchises such as Captain America, The Avengers, or anything the DCEU (DC Extended Universe) is going to churn out? Maybe. But most likely, not. But no one can deny that Deadpool fans loved it. Deadpool has cruised into the record books as being the highest grossing Rated-R movie of all time. Not bad for a film that almost didn’t see the light of day.
Believe it or not, this section is going to be extremely short. I must admit that the few things about which I’m going to gripe fall squarely within the realm of nitpicking.
The Missions (or the lack thereof): So, Wade Wilson donates his body to some clandestine organization to undergo experiments in order to cure his Cancer-ridden body. The line that we’re given as an audience is that Wade will be made into a super-soldier (hero, slave, whatever) to carry out missions for this organization. I know that the story we saw on the screen was great, but am I the only guy who is curious about what these secret missions entailed? I would have liked to have seen Wade go on at least one mission before he and Francis (Ajax) get into the fight that burns down the lab and sets Wade free. Just saying. Nitpicking, remember?
Piotr “Peter” Rasputin (of the lack thereof): Okay. I get it. In order to make Colossus appear colossal, maybe it was necessary to go the whole CGI route. But what about when Colossus was just chilling at the X-Men mansion, or when he was riding in the back of the taxi? Why not hire an actor to portray Peter Rasputin? Yes, Deadpool makes a point of telling us (the viewer) that the budget only allowed for two X-Men in this film, but I’m pretty sure they could have found some no name, under-five actor who would’ve loved his one minute of screen time. Again, I know I’m nitpicking, but it seemed as equally strange during my second viewing of the film as it did during my first.
That Oxygen Chamber: While Wade Wilson’s mutant abilities are being forcibly manifested, he is locked in an oxygen chamber with only just enough oxygen to keep him from passing out, but little enough to keep him in a constant state of stress. This same oxygen tank shows up in the final fight sequence atop the decommissioned heli-carrier (S.H.I.E.L.D Heli-carrier?). Francis locks Vanessa inside of it, and as a result of the battle between Colossus, Negasonic, and Angel Dust, the heli-carrier begins to tip over with the oxygen tank, full of Vanessa, on top. Deadpool manages to catch the tank before it slides over the side, but then he notices a large of amount of steel rolling towards them, so what does he do? He shouts “maximum effort” and throws the oxygen-tank out the way of the rolling debris in an effort to save Vanessa. Here’s my issue. I know Deadpool would ultimately survive such a nasty fall because of his healing factor, but how does Vanessa survive it? Are you telling me that the oxygen tank was durable enough to protect her from the fall, yet resilient enough to change the laws of physics? Ever hear of this little thing called inertia? Vanessa surviving that fall while locked in a metal and glass tank was a little hard for me to swallow.
My only other gripe is that they gave away too much of this film in the trailers. There were several scenes that I felt I had already seen because so much of it was released during the film’s promotion. But hey, I’m nitpicking.
Overall, on a scale of 1 to 10, I give Deadpool a solid 8.5, that’s 3.5 out of 4 stars. I look forward to the next installment, especially since Deadpool promises the appearance of Cable. Hmm, Deadpool, Cable, an R-rating? Sounds exciting. That’s all for now. Feel free to comment. Until next time…