**** (out of 5)
February 12, 2016
Ryan Reynolds as WADE WILSON / DEADPOOL
Morena Baccarin as VANESSA CARLYSLE
Ed Skrein as AJAX
T.J. Miller as WEASEL
Gina Carano as ANGEL DUST
Brianna Hildebrand as NEGASONIC TEENAGE WARHEAD
Stefan Kapičić as COLOSSUS
Leslie Uggams as BLIND AL
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Directed by: Tim Miller
BY KEVIN CARR
Listen to Kevin’s radio review…
After spending years in development hell and with a star that had already had a third strike in comic book movies, the mere existence of a stand-alone “Deadpool” movie is actually quite remarkable.
A fan favorite, this wise-cracking and crass comedic character has had plenty of play in the Marvel comic book universe – both in the general “X-Men” properties and in more graphic side work. For years, people had yearned for an R-rated version of this character to make it to the silver screen, but I never thought that would happen.
It’s not that I think R-rated comic book movies couldn’t be made. Several have been, and many have seen moderate success (including “Watchmen,” “300,” the “Blade” films and “The Punisher”). But this is the first time that R-rated flair has touched an established franchise, meaning Fox’s “X-Men” series. (The Marvel Studios titles encompassing “The Avengers” will likely remain PG-13 for a long while now that they’re such huge moneymakers and are controlled by Disney.)
Star Ryan Reynolds even got a shot before to play the character, an alternate and not-terrible-accurate version in “X-Men: Origins – Wolverine.” Other high profile strikes Reynolds had was in “Blade: Trinity” and “Green Lantern” (neither of which lit up the box office.) After “X-Men: Origins – Wolverine,” Reynolds also pushed for an R-rated standalone movie.
I never thought this would happen. I was sure that the studio would shoot one, but then chicken out at the last moment and cut it to PG-13 for safety reasons. But kudos to Fox for having the stones to give this one the full inappropriate R-rated treatment.
This is what makes the movie work. I’m not saying that every superhero movie should be like this one. I’m not interested in seeing a hard-R “Batman vs. Superman.” But for the right character, it’s exactly what was needed. And this is exactly what we get from “Deadpool.”
In the film, Reynolds plays Wade Wilson, a mercenary with a heart of gold and in love with a beautiful woman. When he discovers he has late-stage cancer, he retreats from her and tries an experimental cure. The cure works, ridding his body of cancer, but it also permanently disfigures him and turns him into a mutant with Wolverine-like regenerative capabilities. Feeling alone and afraid to go back to the woman he loves looking like this, Wilson (under the name Deadpool) seeks revenge from the scientist who did this to him.
As far as high-profile superhero movies go, this is a pretty simple premise. There’s no alien threat ready to devour Earth. There are no cities crumbling or falling from the sky. It’s a simple story of revenge by a man who can’t stop cracking wise.
In this sense, audiences need to look at “Deadpool” as a comedy rather than a superhero movie (or a romance, which the studio is trying to ironically market it as for Valentine’s Weekend). Ryan Reynolds was born to play this role, dealing out quips and breaking the fourth wall (often with meta jokes about the movie itself or the entire “X-Men” franchise).
I had a lot of fun watching this movie, and I know the audience around me did as well. It’s a different type of comic book movie, but it certainly works like a charm.