"You are haunting. You look like an avocado had sex with an older avocado, a much older and uglier avocado."
So says the character Weasel about his best friend Wade Wilson after he is horrifically transformed into his alter-ego; Deadpool. Weasel, like the movie itself, is not afraid to tell it like it is, and boy, does "Deadpool" tell it like it is.
First time director Tim Miller has created an X-Men spin-off that isn't afraid to break fourth walls, or even trash X-Men or other superhero movies of the past. In one of the opening shots, Ryan Reynolds looks the audience square in the face as he's shooting baddies point blank in the head, and quizzically asks, "Oh, did you think this was going to be a superhero movie?" "Deadpool" is constantly winking at the audience with smart quips and one liners that are fired off at a hundred a minute. And aside from a few duds, most of them work. Alas, with all of it's inside jokes, sight gags and ability to poke fun at the tired superhero tropes, "Deadpool" still suffers from a few of these tropes itself. It's a movie that lampoons the "Captain America", the "Superman;" but at the same time suffers from predictability and worn ideas. Still, it's an amazing feat to watch Ryan Reynolds make bad guy shish kabobs and find ourselves laughing hysterically at it.
After an hilarious opening credit sequence reminiscent of Monty Python, "Deadpool" opens with a scene that takes place halfway through our story. Deadpool is causally waiting for some mercenaries on top of a bridge. As the bad guys car drives by Deadpool sarcastically quips "maximum effort," and fires on all cylinders. He drops into the car and starts shooting, stabbing, and even giving one poor soul one hell of a wedgie. All of this while cracking jokes that come so fast you have to keep up just to make sure you catch them all.
From there the movie takes a cue from "Batman Begins" and begins a series of flashbacks to introduce the origin story. And at the end of the day, that's what "Deadpool" really is; an origin story. This is unfortunately where the film suffers from tired rhetoric and motifs of superhero films of past. Wade Wilson, a retired special ops soldier who has recently fallen in love, finds his body is now riddled with cancer. As a last ditch effort he enters an experimental program that promises to cure his disease. What Wade doesn't know is that the program is essentially a torture chamber that uses mental and physical pressure to unlock his hidden mutant abilities, which in this case happens to be a fast acting healing ability. After becoming horribly disfigured by cliche English villain, (which is even stated in the opening titles), Wilson swears revenge as he becomes the antihero, super assassin Deadpool. From there the movie follows the basic revenge story as our "hero" kills henchmen, makes a few X-men friends along the way, and enters a final showdown on top of an unnecessary, bombastic set piece.
Even though "Deadpool" follows a commonly reoccurring formula, it does so with such a cheerily brisk personality it's hard to not constantly find yourself smiling. Writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick create a script that is funny, exhilarating and noticeably clever. There are references of Marvel movies galore that reward the audience as a loyal fanbase. At one point X-Men Colossus tells Deadpool that he's tired of his outlandish actions, and that he's taking him to Professor X. Wilson then asks, "Which one; Stewart or McAvoy? The timelines are so confusing."
While the unrelenting series of jokes might theoretically get stale, they are constantly being breathed new life by MVP Ryan Reynolds. Just like Robert Downey Jr. is Ironman; Ryan Reynolds is Deadpool. It's no secret that this is Reynold's passion project that he has been trying to get of the ground for years. Reynolds understands what makes Deadpool so appealing, and he uses that to a great advantage. Everything the character says is a one sarcastic remark after another, and Reynolds never plays the character too seriously while still allowing a brief sliver of humanity to show through that makes Wade Wilson somewhat relatable.
There are moments where "Deadpool" is not afraid to do something completely out of left field, like fourth wall breaks and superhero gore that audiences may not be accustomed to. And this is when the movie's personality shines through best. Although the movie is essentially a broad origin story, there are elements where it is lifted high and beyond the cliches. "Deadpool" is obviously a labor of love that works thanks to its "maximum effort."Is Miller's and Reynold's film introducing a new era of ultra-violent, self-aware superhero movies? It's hard to say, but it's a nice start in the right direction.
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