Movie Review: Deadpool

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A mercenary seeks revenge on the man whose experiments left him with permanent scars and superhealing.

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Tim Miller (2016)

Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) is working as a mercenary when he’s diagnosed with cancer. Even after he’s given up hope, his girlfriend Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) wants him to keep fighting. Without telling her, he accepts an invitation to have his cancer healed and be turned into a superhero. The program, however, has unexpected consequences: the cruel and unfeeling Ajax (Ed Skrein) uses torture to unlock Wade’s mutant gene, which has the effect of making him unattractive as his body constantly creates and heals his cancer. Now able to survive almost anything, Wade renames himself Deadpool and hunts for vengeance against Ajax, enlisting the help of two X-Men to hunt him down.

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After some pretty terrible mistreatment in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, fan-favourite superhero Deadpool’s solo movie was highly anticipated. Ryan Reynolds, who also played the character in Wolverine, is a huge Deadpool fan and fought for the movie to get made, and it shows in his performance. The passion he has for Deadpool’s particular irreverent mix of humour and darkness shines through his pitch-perfect rendering of the character. The movie’s sense of humour, about itself and the universe in which it operates, is very funny. Deadpool is a character who is able to see through the fourth wall while still operating within the comics universe, and some of the film’s best moments refer to Ryan Reynolds’ previous (rather unfortunate) superhero efforts. Falsely referred to as “frat boy humour” by a lot of reviewers, Deadpool’s humour is a lot more specific and edgy than that; the joke here is that Deadpool is the only one in on the joke, that he shouldn’t know the references he’s making. There are more straightforward jokes that work too, of course; Colossus and the brilliant Negasonic Teenage Warhead (played brilliantly by Brianna Hildebrand) are broad caricatures for Deadpool to work off. Wade’s intersecting nerdiness, overt sexuality, and heart make the character surprisingly sympathetic.

Unfortunately, despite the character’s subversive nature, the actual storytelling is traditional and pedestrian. The plot is essentially a happier version of Darkman, a straightforward romance/revenge tale with absolutely no unpredictable beats. They had such a great opportunity to do something really out of the box with a character who defies boxes as efficiently as Wade Wilson, but instead they went with a story that wouldn’t rock any boats. The R rating is earned, but not in a way that’s actually shocking for any adults; there are a couple of torture scenes that are hard to get through, and the violence is more comical than gory. One gets the feeling that this conservatism in the storytelling appeased the studio, who were very stingy with the budget for Deadpool (of course, it’s Fox, they’re still evil after all). The tight purse strings on the budget aren’t felt too badly in the movie, which looks fine and manages to get a few good shots in there, and that does give the movie a scrappy vibe that might be lacking in the inevitable sequel. There’s definitely a sense that everyone’s on board with how to bring Deadpool to the screen; hopefully in the sequel they’ll start taking more chances with the themes and the story they’re trying to tell.

Deadpool on IMDb

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