The Good: Perfect and faithful portrayal of a live action comic book character, spot-on acting, fitting soundtrack, well written comedy, witty humour, energetic direction, brutal action, brisk and well paced, intriguing supporting cast.
The Bad: Mediocre music score, minor deviations from the comic
3D Readiness: None
DEADPOOL. He finally gets his movie. After a laughable appearance in the groan inducing X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE, Ryan Reynolds is back bringing Wade Wilson, The Merc With a Mouth, The Regenerating Degenerate (and a whole paragraph of other monikers), to the big screen with what is possibly the most faithful portrayal of a comic book character to date in live action.
I watch this and I am convinced that Ryan Reynolds has never existed. He has always been Wade Wilson deep down inside and this movie is Deadpool showing up his true self. He is perfect. Exactly like the more comedic Deadpool of recent years but with enough of the bad ass 1990s Deadpool so as not to come across like any other lovable loser. Read the comic, watch the movie, play the game, whatever, it will be the exact same character you know and love.
DEADPOOL kicks off with One of the most uniquely imaginative, tongue-in-cheek opening sequences to ever grace the silver screen. (Keep Wikipedia and a counter handy for all the pop culture references). The story is a romance worthy of Romeo and Juliet: washed out soldier finds the love of his life and prepares to settle down but soon discovers he has cancer and leaves, hoping to spare his loved one the pain of seeing him waste away. It is also a science horror flick worthy of David Cronenberg as our man gets betrayed to an unscrupulous scientist who conducts torturous experiments on him which grants extraordinary gifts but is leaves the man disfigured for life and unable to return to his lover. It is a revenge thriller on par with a Tarantino movie: Left for dead, Wade Wilson puts his new gifts of regeneration and enhanced reflexes to use as the mercenary DEADPOOL all the while tracking down his old tormentors in hopes of finding a cure for his affliction. Lastly, it can be considered the wittiest, most clever, most violent R-Rated action comedy film of the decade.
DEADPOOL defies genre, it defies convention, it throws us right into the thick of the action. Unlike many comic book character origin stories, we do not get bogged down by a lengthy first act setting up the eventual "birth" of the superhero, where the titular character is only seen in his civilian self without powers or the iconic costumes. For the obligatory tragic backstory, we get flash backs interspersed with the ongoing altercations. Just as the flashback looks like it will start to drag, we are snapped right back into the whizzing bullets, blood and twin blade action.
The overall plot is a little bit derivative but in this day and age with eons of creative history behind movie making, what else isn't? It is the execution, the energy instilled by director Tim Miller, and the well timed, well written, clever humour soaked into the script by Writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick of ZOMBIELAND fame. We aren't talking the cartoony quips or snide banter of disney's Marvel movies. This is smart, actually humorous, befitting of the film and filled to popping point with pop culture references of all sorts. Yet DEADPOOL is not some laugh-a-minute comedy. Ryan Reynolds completely sells even the more sombre scenes with such earnestness. For the first time I actually feel bad for poor ol' Wade and all the crap he had to go through before he became Deadpool. Reynolds sells the heartbreak and the torment in a perfectly nuanced performance. But more importantly, he sells the utter glee and satisfaction of sweet violent vengeance.
The film earns its M18 rating with nudity, swearing and bloody violence though i still consider those tastefully restrained for an adult oriented film of such rating. It never gets excessive, thus allowing the writing and direction to shine without being marred by the spectacle or eye candy. The music by Junkie XL accompanies said eye candy and, honestly, is nothing spectacular; your standard electronic action samplings. But the soundtrack, consisting of classic songs, is amazing. The songs chosen and the scenes they are paired with either fit perfectly within the context of those scenes or create this comedic dissonance that enhances the mood.
A bit of the backstory is changed from the comics, as are the villains Ajax (but his name is Francis) and Angel Dust. Here they are devoid of their outlandish costumes and garbed in your Bryan Singer-esque black civilian outfits. On the flip side, we are introduced to two X-Men supporting characters: idealistic metal skinned muscleman Colossus (the big dumb giant) and brooding time bomb (literally) Negasonic Teenage Warhead. Somehow the good guys retain some outlandish comic book traits. Colossus is no longer the chrome clad pretty boy in X-MEN DAYS OF FUTURE PAST but a hulking lunk-head who is a dead ringer for his comic book counterpart. Negasonic is altered somewhat from the comics but she now sports a more traditional black and yellow suit like the classic Xmen uniforms. Was this contrast between colourful good guys and drab baddies an intentional jibe at the black leather look of Bryan Singer's X-men movies?
Every once in a while, a magnificent piece of work comes along to sweep you off your feet into an imaginative mind boggling masterpiece of modern cinema. Throughout DEADPOOL, one can feel the absolute passion that the cast and crew brought to the project. At a modest 108 minutes, DEADPOOL is just right; staying long enough to leave an impression but never overstaying its welcome. DEADPOOL is unique and has all the marks of a trendsetting film.
Give this movie the awards it deserves.
Replay value: A