Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick
Ryan Reynolds as Wade / Deadpool
Ed Skrein as Ajax
Morena Baccarin as Vanessa
Brianna Hildebrand as Negasonic Teenage Warhead
Gina Carano as Angel Dust
Stefan Kapicic as Colossus (voice)
Karan Soni as Dopinder
There’s no question that Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) is a self-aware, incredibly violent, macabre Marvel super-antihero movie. Ironically, it is also the funniest movie Ryan Reynolds has starred in since Van Wilder: Party Liaison, and it also confirms Richard Curtis’s hall-of-fame status of “I’m just a girl standing in front of a boy…” line from Notting Hill.
Deadpool drips with irony, insults, and stinging bites with pop-culture gags. The movie starts by spoofing the generic lineup in the movie’s credits – it gives nobody’s names, just archetypes – “British villain,” etc. In Deadpool 2, perhaps, this will go even further, with everything being replaced with the simple phrase, “I know, right?” It seems a tad bit like the Cracked.com‘s YouTube spoof trailer for Movie Title, which is an indie film. Deadpool is able to get away with fast-tracking the references past us at breaking speed, like a sugar rush.
Ryan Reynolds: ‘I’m good at being the butt of the joke.’
Ryan Reynolds plays Deadpool, and it would seem he is now getting a film for himself – this after some agitation by fans that wasn’t mockingly influenced by the studio. Previously, Reynolds had just been a cameo in X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009). This mutant mercenary assassin with his hyperathletic combat capability and smart mouth has the capacity to heal everything in his body except the sadly disfigured face that the mask conceals. Deadpool is convincingly the untrustworthy black sheep of the X-Men family, a few of whom are included in the action in order to attain brand overlap with the balance of the franchise. Naturally, Stan Lee gets another one of his Struldbruggian cameos.
The drama begins with Deadpool arriving in the back of a cab, dead set on some severe payback with that British villain, Ajax (Game of Thrones‘ Ed Skrein). The resulting action chaos is embodied with some nicely provided slow motion bullet-time. While perhaps not as good as the Quicksilver sequence in X-Men: Days of Future Past, accompanied by Jim Croce’s “Time in a Bottle.” Flashbacks give us a glimpse of Deadpool’s former civilian existence as Wade Wilson, who was a former special forces hombre that became the tough guy for hire, who then falls in love with badass yet beautiful Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), Damien Lewis’s wife from Homeland. To no surprise really, there is an intervention of cruel fate, and Wade’s super destiny takes him far away from Vanessa and everything he loves, leading to horrible emotional pain that he transforms into flippancy and violence.
Deadpool is a self-deconstructing superhero movie, and there’s this great line that can be recognized from Matthew Vaughn’s outrageous Kick-Ass, showing the superhero’s secret non-superhero existence behind the scenes. There’s also something in common with Watchmen, with the costumed vigilantes plying their trade in a universe that’s anything but factual. And let’s not forget Mystery Men, which stars Ben Stiller, but lacks the wisdom and sweetness of Brad Bird’s Pixar masterpiece The Incredibles, which took the role of a superhero very seriously, to the degree of falling in love with another superhero and raising children that were also superheroes.
As he approaches the start of the middle age years, Ryan Reynolds is developing something self-critical and understanding his own handsomeness, a Clooneyesque goof, which works with the comedy here. It is clear that Reynolds’ motor-mouth delivery is a cousin to Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man, but a lot more sugary, with fewer barbs, and younger. The way Deadpool feels and the way it’s written and directed resembles something by action genius Shane Black, who sent up his own allusion humorously in the film Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.
Deadpool is both the good guy and the bad guy, and the problem is that by letting him make acidly witty remarks as the bad guy, there isn’t much left for the actual bad guy to do. Ed Skrein does his best as Ajax, but when it comes to being a proper villainy, he’s really the farthest thing from it, looking more like a villain’s henchman. Actually, the British villain joke right in the opening titles is very misleading. Almost always the Brit would be some well-spoken, mature UK thesp like Stewart or the very missed Alan Rickman.
[All images courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox]