"Deadpool" (2016) - Rated R / Runtime: 106 minutes
Review by: JJ Mortimer
In the wake of a plethora of comic book movies that take themselves way too seriously, Deadpool is a welcome breath of fresh air not only in its ability to be a creative, non-stop entertainment with its narrative approach, but in the simple fact that it was even allowed to be made.
It's no secret that 20th Century Fox has had some creative problems over the years in their handling of popular comic book properties (Fantastic Four and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, anyone?), but when a star and a lucrative fan base rally behind a particular character and DEMAND that he be given the proper treatment, sometimes we are graced with a gem of cinema that surprises everyone with how entertaining it is. Deadpool is the result of Ryan Reynolds' years-long attempt to get the character on screen for the simple fact of giving the fans a true adaptation of the violent, joke-riddled, and dirty-minded "Merc With a Mouth."
The film is true to the comics, with Deadpool displaying a genre-breaking awareness of the jokiness of the superhero classification, while often breaking the fourth wall in talking to the audience about his current situations. One of my favorite jokes in the film involves X-Man Colossus dragging Deadpool away from a revenge-filled battle scene, saying he needs to take him to see the Professor [Charles Xavier]. Deadpool's response? "Which one, McAvoy or Stewart?" It's shit like this that many filmmakers are too afraid to put into their films out of fear that their audience won't get the inside jokes.
With this film we get director Tim Miller and star/producer Ryan Reynolds doing a fantastic job of staying true to the character of Wade Wilson/Deadpool ,while working with a limited budget that is shadowed in comparison to other big-budget films with longer run times and half the enjoyment. Despite being a stand-alone film, there are still many tie-ins with the 20th Century Fox X-Men universe. With current talks of a sequel already in the making after the record-breaking box office opening weekend, one can assume the budget will more than double the second time around with more X-characters making cameos. And there-in lies a potential problem:
Deadpool is a hard-R-rated motion picture. The X-Men films are decidedly PG-13 and bloodless, and any incorporation of this character into an X-Men film wouldn't work. The character NEEDS to be R-rated. In fact, the R-rating is part of the joke of this Deadpool film. While faced with the opportunity to be a "hero," Deadpool's resulting choice amidst a heartfelt plea by another character results in said popular X-character vomiting from seeing what may be his first death by gunshot wound to the skull. You know, things not usually associated with your typical X-Men, Avengers, or any family-friendly superhero film.
The film is not without some small issues. I felt that there could/should have been even more gratuitous carnage in the film. By turning the genre on its head, Deadpool had the opportunity to be even more over-the-top, and in some scenes I felt they could have pushed the limit a little more. Some jokes fall a little flat, but the fact that they are so quick-witted and frequent makes up for the ones that don't land. I've also not been a huge fan of origin stories, BUT Deadpool has an intriguing backstory that is decidedly dirtier (even in its romantic angle) than most would expect.
Deadpool feels fresh and colorful, with Ryan Reynolds being the star who was literally born to play the character. This is a movie that will benefit from repeat viewings not because of its story, but because many of the jokes come so fast that you often miss them during the laughter. The soundtrack also may very well be the most awesome part of the film, with Chicago and Wham! songs popping up at the most unimaginable times - and it works by being a fitting contrast to the bloody, hilarious destruction on screen.
A must-see for fans of comic book movies who want something MORE, or anyone looking for a good love story with a lot of bullets, boobs, and the word "fuck" used in a multitude of conjugations. And damn if Pool's costume doesn't kick major ass.
To quote Ryan Reynolds himself (from IMDB.com):
"I think Deadpool's coming along at the right time, because it's speaking to that generation that has seen all these comic-book films and enjoyed them all; it's speaking to them as though the guy in that red suit is one of them."
Stay to the end of the credits.