Cinematic Releases: Deadpool

Deadpool finally hits theaters next week on February 13!
The Movie Sleuth has the early review!

Seven years after X-Men Origins: Wolverine butchered his character beyond all possible recognition, seventeen months after the test reel got us all geeked to see him back, and after one of the most ingenious marketing campaigns in recent memory, Deadpool is about to arrive in cinemas in all his R-rated, fourth wall-smashing glory. The "merc with the mouth" doesn't have a fan base on par with a Man of Steel or a certain web-slinger, but this is no Saturday morning cartoon character, and he is no superhero. You can just ask him.

You're wondering if it's itchy. It is.
Deadpool delivers on all of the promises laid out in those hysterically funny red-band trailers, and even throws a few more at us that we may not expect. It's ripe for good box office and bursting at the seams with four-letter profanity, hyperkinetic violence, Jackson Pollack splatter paintings of gore, enough naked strippers to fill the extras casting on a Michael Bay film, and the single best Stan Lee cameo ever. Deadpool is everything we wanted. Ryan Reynolds fulfills all of the hype he and his co-producers have spent careful months and years building, anchoring the film with a towering performance of boundless charisma. He proves what we have all long since suspected since the disappointing X-Men: Origins and the equally disappointing Green Lantern. Reynolds was made to play this role in the same way Robert Downey, Jr. was meant to be Iron Man.

Kicking off with the best and funniest opening credit sequence outside of a David Fincher movie, the tone that director Tim Miller strikes for the film is perfect. He wastes no time before plunging us into the heart of one-liner spewing absurdity, and he conducts the pacing and visuals with a touch that feels surprisingly hand-crafted for a picture that feels no shame -- and pulls no punches -- in pointing out that it's an off-shoot of Fox's X-Men universe. It even gives us two foils from that series who provide some of the film's biggest laughs.
You wanna put balls in holes?

In the middle of the plot centrifuge is a love story between Wade Wilson (Reynolds) and Vanessa (Morena Baccarin). It's the chocolate center of a blood-soaked Tootsie Pop, but it's never sickly sweet, and gives the film just enough dramatic pull to round out some of the rougher edges in the script. Not many guys I know would fathom the idea of proposing to a sex worker with a Ring Pop, but the chemistry between Reynolds and Baccarin is spot-on. Their relationship never feels forced, contrived, or there just for the sake of narrative convenience, as it is so often in lesser films whose characters are at the mercy of a clockwork plot. So when Wilson makes one bad decision that lumps him in with the likes of Ajax (Ed Skrein), we buy it, and the story of Deadpool is off and running.

As I'm mostly unfamiliar with the origins of Deadpool in the comics, I can't speak for this as a comic-to-film adaptation, but as a fan of movies, I can't see how this could possibly disappoint. This is every bit the hard R-rated ecstasy we were all praying for. If they pushed on that envelope much harder, the next installment could be called XXX-Men. Tim Miller's directorial debut shows that he has a deft touch at dealing with both action and comedy, and he clearly has no pretensions about his work; he knows that this is Reynolds' film from beginning to end. There's a free-formed vibe to the whole affair that makes this studio comic book movie play like an improvisational indie comedy. Deadpool has more laughs per capita than most comedies and more bloodshed per capita than most horror films. And it has Ryan Reynolds doing what he does best. His performance won't win him any Oscars, but it will win him generations of adoring fans. It may have taken them seven years to fix the wrongs committed by Gavin Hood, but they finally got it right.

Deadpool Tickets

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- Blake O. Kleiner