I had the chance to see a press screening of ‘Deadpool‘ last night. This movie has been highly anticipated by fans of comics in general and of the character in particular ever since it was announced. The last time we saw Deadpool on the big screen was when Ryan Reynolds portrayed him in the extremely disappointing ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine‘ opposite Hugh Jackman as the titular character. While the cast of “Origins” was very enjoyable, the script from that movie (which saw a release 7 years ago) was not worthy of the players and it’s treatment of the character of Deadpool in particular was nothing short of dreadful. So when it was announced that Reynolds was getting another shot at playing “the merc with a mouth” in a standalone film, the hope was that it would make up for the sins of the past. Let me just say that it did so in spades!
The marketing campaign leading up to the film’s release had been incredibly brilliant. From billboards using emojis to trailers that make it look like a Nicholas Sparks movie to hilarious commercials featuring Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool breaking the fourth wall, it’s been completely on-point and done the job that it’s supposed to do: get people talking about the movie. Even people who (somehow) have never heard of Deadpool or don’t know much about him are curious to see just what this film has in store for them. Obviously this is what any good marketing campaign should do for a movie. Never has that concept been taken and executed well as we’ve seen done with ‘Deadpool.’ I’ve had people who know I love comics who normally wouldn’t ask me about ‘Batman v Superman’ or ‘Captain America: Civil War’ (because they know they’d be in for a lengthy diatribe about why this or that will or won’t work) ask me “Hey. So what’s up with this ‘Deadpool’ movie? What’s that about?”
As for the movie itself: The minute the opening “credits” start rolling, the chuckles began. It couldn’t have been more like a comic book if it had been actually animated. Ryan Reynolds not only gets his 2nd chance at bat playing Deadpool, he knocks it out of the park for a grand slam. The actor already embodies the sarcastic quippyness of the character to begin with (as we’ve seen in his other roles) but in this movie, he completely gives in to that aspect with an unabashed, giddy, reckless abandon that, to me, defines Deadpool in the comics. The rest of the cast was equally solid. Ed Skrein as Ajax is a menacing villain who masterfully oozes douchey insidiousness without being over-the-top or campy. Morena Boccarin is always a delight to behold and fabulously portrays Vanessa‘s strength and vulnerability in equal measure as the script calls for it. The juxtaposition of Reynolds’ Deadpool opposite the heroic stalwartness of Greg LaSalle (face) & Stephan Kapicic’s (voice) Colossus and the teen ennui of Brianna Hildebrand‘s Negasonic Teenage Warhead (yes, that’s her code name!) was perfection personified. All-in-all, as both a comic book geek and a film buff, I can’t find anything that I really didn’t like about this movie.
The story begins in the middle with the hilariously appropriate flashbacks to what started it all. We get an origin story without a long, complicated, boring narrative which humorously alludes to ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’ while also completely dismissing it as having ever occurred. There are laughs, sight gags and inside jokes a plenty as well as one of the better Stan Lee cameos to date. The self-referential humor is provided in appropriate dollops and the 4th wall-breaking (for which Deadpool is well-known) is used in just the perfect amount so that it’s adequately present while never becoming gimmicky. The violence was very graphic as was the language and partial nudity. While that might bother some movie-goers, true Deadpool fans will be glad to see that the film took full advantage of that R rating that some people actually petitioned to have watered down to a PG-13. Overall I’d have to say that this movie needs to be on the top of everyone’s Must See list especially for those comic book fans out there. In my opinion, this may be the best solo comic book movie since the original ‘Iron Man‘ came to theaters. All thanks to “Maximum effort!” from everyone involved. (Now where are my chimichangas?)