Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Monica Baccarin, T.J. Miller
Directed by: Tim Miller (debut)
Written by: Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (“Zombieland”)
As the world teeters dangerously on the edge of superhero movie fatigue, with overstuffed and undercooked adventures like the latest “Avengers” movie offering little more than a two-hour placeholder for whatever comes next, in walks “Deadpool,” a hyper-violent, hilarious raunch-fest filled with things no one would have imagined would be on hand in a movie starring a Marvel Comics character. All of the worst dirty words, along with graphic beheadings, full-frontal nudity, and pegging (look it up, but not at work) join forces with a spot-on wisecracking performance from Ryan Reynolds to create a refreshingly sharp and adult-focused comic book movie for those fans who have grown tired of the bloodless save-the-world battles and/or those sorely disappointed by the lack of the main character’s dick in their superhero blockbusters.
Reynolds stars as Wade Wilson (again…Reynolds played a severely-altered/neutered version of the character in 2009’s awful “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”), a sarcastic mercenary who looks out for the little guy. When he’s not intimidating dumpy pizza boys into giving up stalking the hot girls, he’s hanging out at a bar for fellow soldiers of fortune run by Weasel (T.J. Miller). That’s where Wilson meets Vanessa (Monica Baccarin), the call girl of every nerd’s dream. The two vigorously explore their sexuality while falling in love along the way, culminating in a proposal substituting a Ring Pop for a diamond. After popping the question, though, Wilson passes out. The reason? Aggressive, terminal cancer.
To save his life, Wilson accepts the offer of a shady guy in a suit he deems a child molester (Jed Rees) to join a program that will mutate his cells and destroy his cancer. Under the cruel guidance of Ed Skrein’s Ajax (Francis to his friends), Wilson is tortured by Francis until his DNA mutates, destroying his good looks but giving him the ability to heal himself rapidly. Wilson escapes and vows revenge on Francis, taking on the name Deadpool, putting on a costume, and killing everyone who gets in his way.
Blissfully self-satisfied and self-aware, “Deadpool” is the ballsiest superhero movie to date, unafraid of its protagonist’s fourth-wall breaking ways and penchant for extreme sex and violence—all while being firmly connected to Fox’s reinvigorated “X-Men” movie franchise, to boot. An appearance by the X-Mansion, mentions of James McAvoy and Patrick Stewart as Professor X, and a guest star turn by metallic Russian mutant Colossus (voice of Stefan Kapicic) played as the ultimate square who keeps trying to get Deadpool to join the X-Men lends a wonderful depth to Reynold’s meta references. He knows he’s in a movie, and that Fox allowed him to know he’s part of their lucrative, kid-friendly (sort of) mutant superhero franchise while retaining all the sarcasm and nastiness that’s made the character a comic con hit, well, that’s pretty fucking incredible. “Deadpool” raises the bar for superhero movies loyal to their source material, then promptly shoves that same bar up its own ass for jollies.