Saturday, February 13, 2016

Vex-Man: “Deadpool” is a Delightfully Irreverent Superhero Film

The comic character Deadpool has an interesting cinematic history. Cinematically speaking, first appearing, in some form or another, in the critically maligned “X-Men: Origins” Wade Wilson aka Deadpool was a beloved comic character known for his irreverent humor, breaking the fourth wall, and other depraved acts. To get it “right” it was assumed this material would have to be brought to the screen in an “R-rated” world where the character could be free to swear, commit violent acts, and partake in varying degrees of sexual deeds. The entire concept was built around a character who knows he’s in a comic. But doesn’t this sound rather familiar? Didn’t “Kick-Ass” and its sequel sort of do the same thing? Yes, in a way, but Deadpool is a character that’s part of the Marvel universe (most aligned with the “X-Men”) and this is a much more traditional, at least plot wise, take on a depraved but lovable character doing crazy things and swearing up a storm. And by golly it’s even got a bit of a heart; in fact, it’s simply irresistible.

Ryan Reynolds was practically born to play Deadpool and the entire nerdy comic book reading world knows it. Reynolds is Wade Wilson a former military operative working as mercenary in modern day New York. He’s a cocky, smart-ass type of guy. And he wears shirts with Bea Arthur on it and gets away with it because well, he looks just like Ryan Reynolds. He even meets the woman of his dreams Vanessa Carlysle (Morena Baccarin) and even proposes to her. But then life throws him a curve ball when he’s diagnosed with terminal cancer. Fearful for his life he reluctantly turns to a secretive program that supposedly has the ability to completely cure him. Of course, nothing is that simple in life and he’s left permanently scared over his entire body: but somewhat cured because he now has the ability to heal (and regrow organs and limbs). So what is a man in this situation left to do? Dress up in a super hero costume and get revenge on the guy who did it, obviously.

Wade Wilson is now Deadpool a wise-cracking, vulgar masked vigilante seeking revenge. The man he’s after goes by the name Ajax (Ed Skrein) who, like Deadpool, is also an “artificial” mutant and has the inability to feel pain and enhanced strength. Like many comic book adaptations the plot here isn’t anything particularly groundbreaking: but that’s exactly the point. Nothing in the film is exactly standard except the basic plot elements and the film know it. Just take a look at the opening credits which forgoes the actor’s names in favor of their clichéd characters such as “The funny sidekick”, “The hot chick,” and “The British villain.” The film’s script by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick is also feverishly funny. There are so many great references. Like when Deadpool is handcuffed to Colossus (yeah that Colossus from “X-Men”) he asks the audience if they remember what happened in “127 Hours.” You can guess what he does next. The film certainly earns its R-rating offering enough blood, violence and equal opportunity nudity to satisfy the horniest teenager (male or female).

Of course, beyond all the depravity the film offers on the surface there’s actually a really good simple story here. The characters are generally well-drawn and Reynolds is literally perfect for the role. Nothing here feels forced or too over-the-top. And even if the film’s story is pretty straightforward, director Tim Miller (in his directorial debut) has fun with the plot. The action sequences are great and the film deftly balances humor and drama. The filmmakers certainly know their audience but they also don’t alienate those who may not be too familiar with the comic book formula. In fact, I really feel despite its R-rating and more cult-like following “Deadpool” is one of the more mass appealing super hero films. It's certainly a refreshing take in an overly saturated market. I enjoyed every cheeky minute of it.  GRADE: A-
Theatrical Trailer for Deadpool on TrailerAddict.