I’ve seen “Deadpool” (**** OUT OF ****) four times, and I could watch it another four times. Freshman director Tim Miller, “Zombieland” scenarists Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick, and funny man Ryan Reynolds have produced a Marvel superhero origins movie like none you’ve ever seen. If you’ve got a skewered, perhaps even morbid, sense of humor, you may enjoy this swiftly-paced, slickly-made, scrambled-up saga about a man who shares something in common with Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine of “X-Men” fame. Mind you, Deadpool is not a run-of-the-mill superhero with role model potential. He has a foul mouth, a sarcastic sense of humor, and his body heals itself incredibly quickly, because–like his fellow X-Men, he is a mutant. He wears a red, Spider-man style hood with eye patches. Everything about “Deadpool” qualifies as not only refreshing, but also uproarious. “Deadpool” slaughters sacred cows. Instead of the typical opening credits that identify the cast and crew, we get brief descriptions. For example, director Tim Miller, who has made only two short films, is referred to as ‘An Overpaid Tool.’ Deadpool spouts jokes about others: “127 Hours,” Liam Neeson’s “Taken” trilogy, and the “X-Men” franchise. Twentieth Century Fox owns both “Deadpool” and “X-Men,” so they can get away with poking fun at their own properties. Ryan Reynolds ridicules himself, too. The former “Green Lantern” star cracks jokes about shunning a green superhero suit after he submits himself to a passel of unscrupulous people to cure him of multiple forms of cancer. Furthermore, he entreats them not to make the superhero suit animated like the “Green Lantern” superhero suit. I thought “Green Lantern” was tolerable, but I detested the CGI villain. Meantime, despite its predictable, formulaic narrative, “Deadpool” suffers from little else. Reynolds was born to play Wade Williams. Let’s not forget Reynolds played a milder incarnation of Deadpool in 2009’s “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.” Meantime, the Deadpool character dishes up deliciously droll lines. As much as I would love to quote them, the profanity in those comments prohibits me, so you’ll have to hear them for yourself. Deadpool is loquacious to a fault, and everything he utters is hilarious. Comparatively, the villain delivers only one clever line. A lot of moviegoers are going to be quoting “Deadpool,” and some of those witticisms may wind up in everyday conversation.
Now, let me pause and provide a pithy plot synopsis before I resume my unhinged praise. Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds of “R.I.P.D.”) is a former Special Forces Commando with 41 confirmed kills to his record. He lives in New York City and hires himself out to resolve other people’s problems. He behaves as if he were “The Equalizer.” Wade discourages a pizza delivery man, Jeremy (Style Dayne of “Words and Pictures”), from stalking a girl. When he isn’t working, Wade hangs out with other low-life mercenaries at an obscure bar–Sister Margaret’s Home for Wayward Girls– owned by his best friend, Weasel (comedian T. J. Miller of “Our Idiot Brother”), who doubles as the bartender. Later, he meets a girl, Vanessa Carlysle (Morena Baccarin of “Serenity”), who works as a server at a strip club, and they discover that they are made for each other. They share a similar sense of humor. They enjoy kinky sex. They seem inseparable until Wade collapses mysteriously for no apparent reason. Afterward, they learn to their horror that Wade is afflicted with terminal cancer. No sooner has Wade been diagnosed than a well-dressed, little guy in a suit and tie (Jed Rees of “Galaxy Quest”) approaches him with a business card. He offers Wade an alternative form of medical treatment that will guarantee Wade’s survival and make him better than before. A dubious Wade accepts this too-good-to-be-true offer against Vanessa’s wishes. At the clinic, our hero encounters two unsavory characters, a tall, shady gent posing as a doctor, Ajax (Ed Skrien of “The Transporter Refueled”), and his female assistant, Angel Dust (Gina Carano of “Haywire”), who looks like a linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys. Ajax explains that they will expose Wade to a cocktail of serums and torturous treatments that will prompt his mutant powers to appear and destroy his cancer. Of course, they cherish no such illusions about helping Wade out. Miraculously, the treatment succeeds in curing Wade. He emerges from this sadistic gamut of treatments as literally indestructible. The downside is that he appears ghastly. He resembles a two-legged, talking pizza with a shaven head. Nevertheless, he is extremely strong, exceptionally acrobatic, and heals in seconds after receiving the worst wounds. Eventually, he adopts a suit to conceal his repugnant appearance and searches for Ajax so he can force the dastard to restore his good looks.
Altogether, if you walk into “Deadpool” expecting to see something like “X-Men,” “Captain America,” “Iron Man,” or “Thor,” you’re going to be severely surprised. Indeed, “Deadpool” inhabits the same universe, but director Tim Miller and Ryan Reynolds have concocted a subversive saga that is not only R-rated but also inadvisable for teenagers. The montage of pansexual practices that Wade and Vanessa indulge in may alienate prudish spectators, and Wade rhapsodizes about the joys of masturbation. After he makes the transition to indestructible, Wade tracks down evil Ajax and kills each of the villain’s accomplices when they fail to inform on him. Now, we’re talking body count galore with Deadpool slicing up his many adversaries when he isn’t riddling them with gunfire. You can take your kids “Captain America” and “Batman,” but you should draw the line at “Deadpool” or they will be asking you interesting questions that may challenge your responses. Ryan Reynolds was made to play “Deadpool” and Ed Skrien as ‘the British villain’ is truly wicked. Naturally, Deadpool’s girlfriend Vanessa amounts to a damsel-in-distress, but nothing about this dame with a tattoo on her breast is remotely innocent. T.J. Miller utters some of the best lines in “Deadpool” that discretion prevents me from quoting. Superhero movies—whether Marvel or D.C.–will never be the same after “Deadpool!”
“Your imagination can take you where nothing else can.” Van Roberts