by: S. Scott Stanikmas – Senior Staff Writer
This is a huge year for comic book films. We’ve got Captain America: Civil War getting everyone excited for the next chapter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Dark Knight is set to tangle with the Man of Steel in Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice, looking to set up Warner Bros superhero franchises for years to come. Doctor Strange is finally getting his own film, which is a huge risk for Marvel Studios as this is a hero that is well outside of the regular fare they’ve given to the masses. But the biggest risk may have been taken by FOX with their X-Men universe offshoot Deadpool.
After seeing the finished product though, I can say that this is a risk that looks to pay off with huge dividends.
Comic fans are familiar with Wade Wilson, a.k.a. Deadpool – the fourth-wall breaking, sword-swinging, gun-toting, chimichanga-loving mercenary that kills as much as he quips. He’s probably Marvel’s second most popular mutants (right behind Wolverine). Movie fans (so far) have only seen the bastard version of Deadpool that was shown in X-Men Origins: Wolverine (which was an abomination of a film and an atrocity against the character), which was also played by current leading man Ryan Reynolds.
Thankfully RR saves face and redeems himself in this raunchy and raucous action flick that has heart (and every other body part flying around after being severed). Reynolds shines as the titular merc and it shows that he has a real appreciation and love for the character and material. Relishing in every innuendo and reveling in each drop of blood spilled, Deadpool is a character that you come to root for even if he might be the most morally corrupt person in a ten-block radius.
DP’s supporting cast performs admirably and with aplomb. Morena Baccarin as the non-damsel-in-distress eye candy Vanessa and T.J. Miller as the comic relief / reluctant sidekick Weasel are both worthy additions to mutant movie universe. Ed Skrein’s Ajax is a villain that’s so smarmy and smug it makes you just want to punch him in his chiseled jaw (if you weren’t afraid of breaking your hand). Even Gina Carano’s few scenes as the menacing Angel Dust are worthwhile.
The actual members of the X-Men team (and subsequent way to tie Deadpool into that universe) both surprise and disappoint. I found it impressive that the filmmakers managed to take a character that was a throwaway in the comics like Negasonic Teenage Warhead and re-invent her to the point that she was most likely everyone’s second favorite mutant on the big screen. Colossus however was a bust. He felt more like a caricature of a Russian person. I half expected him to say something about “Moose and Squirrel” for a hot second.
The film sets up a fairly typical origin story, but the atypical way in which writers Paul Wernick & Rhett Reese and director Tim Miller attack the narrative is what sets Deadpool apart from your usual superhero fare. Jumping from the current day back to where Wade met Vanessa and turned his life around from just being a “bad guy who fucks up worse guys,” you almost feel like you’re a passenger IN the main character’s manic mind – just a jumble of thoughts and impulses punctuated by the occasional one-liner and burst of cartoon-like violence.
Miller’s feature film directorial debut is a solid effort and I’d love to see FOX focus on a character like Deadpool to fill the sizable gap that will be left when Hugh Jackman finally sheaths the claws once and for all. This is a character people can get behind, and the crowd that was present when I saw it was wholly supportive of the violent non-superhero clad in black and red.
Today’s movie-goers have proven that if there is an R-rated film worth going to see, whether it be drama, action or comedy, then they will go see it. Deadpool could turn into that adult-oriented comic book franchise that we’ve been waiting for.