Directed by: Tim Miller
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, T.J. Miller, Brianna Hildebrand, Stefan Kapicic, Leslie Uggams
Rated: R for strong violence and language throughout, sexual content, and graphic nudity
“Deadpool” is one of those rare comic book adaptations that works for both the long-time fan and the newcomer. For those of us who’ve been longing for a feature film about the merc with the mouth, this is the movie we wanted. For folks who don’t even know who the heck Deadpool is, if you like black-as-sin comedy, gloriously over-the-top violence, and fourth-wall-breaking meta-commentary, this is the movie you want, too. There’s a reason this film broke all kinds of opening-weekend box office records.
The film wisely starts in the middle, gives us Deadpool’s origin story in flashbacks interspersed with awesome fight sequences, then heads for the climactic battle scene with its rocketpack cranked. We watch as killer-for-hire Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) finds the love of his life, gets diagnosed with terminal cancer, and volunteers for a risky program that will cure him, but at a horrifying cost. Once he escapes, he’s a whole new man: Deadpool. He can heal from any injury, including a huge building burning down and collapsing on him. Now he’s after the head of the program, Ajax (Ed Skrein), and nobody in his way stands a chance.
Reynolds was born to play Deadpool, and is actually the reason the film happened at all. He’s a huge fan, and has been pushing for this since before “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” made such a wreck of the character back in 2009. He has the perfect blend of pitch-black humor, physical comedy, and action knowhow to bring Wade to life, not to mention having exactly the right physique for everybody’s favorite merc.
The supporting cast are great as well, bringing just enough seriousness to their roles to give Wade/Deadpool people to bounce off. Brianna Hildebrand stands out as Negasonic Teenage Warhead, whose powers and origin are nothing like her namesake in the comics – but after watching her in action, I doubt very many people will care. She and fellow X-Man Colossus show up a few times trying to rein Deadpool in, without a ton of luck.
There are plenty of deviations from the source material here, but Deadpool has never been all that attached to continuity (except insofar as it lets him make snarky jokes). Things always shift from page to screen, but the stuff that really matters is all here in spades. Deadpool is himself, the fight scenes are glorious and hilarious, and there are more 90s pop culture references than you can shake a bloody katana at.
This isn’t a movie for everyone, though, especially children. Deadpool’s appearance in child-friendly fare like the Spider-Man cartoon should not make you assume this is a good movie for the younger set. This film earns its R rating, and whether it’s the full-frontal male nudity, masturabation jokes, or exploding heads that pushes it over the line for you, that line still gets crossed. This is also not a film for the squeamish, or for folks who don’t like heavily meta/referential entertainment.
This is a movie for grownup comics fans, the kind of folks who loved “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World” (which “Deadpool” director Tim Miller worked on) and also dig over-the-top violence. If that sounds like your thing, do not miss “Deadpool.”