***1/2 out of ****
Deadpool is a welcome February release because it’s a movie the studio probably considered to be “risky.” This isn’t because it’s bad like so many other beginning-of-the-year releases. Despite the built-in audience for comic book movies, R-rated films that wield child-like escapism for the sake of displaying gruesome violence starring amoral heroes who display dark humor (that is often in very bad taste) has the potential to upset some people.
Tim Miller’s debut film fulfills this potential in ways that should make the likes of Kevin Smith and Robert Rodriguez very envious. It’s fearlessly filled with the unfiltered aggression of an angst-filled young man without the slightest concern for who may be turned-off by the smartass anti-hero that is Wade Wilson… aka Deadpool.
With temptation to see the broadly appealing Zoolander 2 or even the progressive chick-flick How to be Single over Valentine’s weekend, I shamefully decided to favor the guy-centric comic violence filled with perfect trope-bashing voice-over narration by the film’s star Ryan Reynolds - which may rival Robert Downey Jr.’s in the very similar film, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.
Following some of the funniest opening credits I’ve ever read (next to Monty Python andthe Holy Grail's), the movie introduces our unethical superhero in the midst of a huge carnage filled freeway chase that is broken up by flashbacks explaining his origin and the deranged part of the Marvel Universe where he lives.
Wilson was a dirty-work mercenary for hire who met the love of his life (the lovely Morena Baccarin) shortly before he was diagnosed with a terminal form of cancer. Wilson was then recruited by a sinister organization that promised him a cure along with extraordinary powers if he worked for them. Needless to say, Wilson is deformed in the experiment and the organization turns out to be evil beyond anything he can abide. Assuming the name Deadpool, he goes off on his own and vows to destroy the organization that created him.
Even if the plot sounds familiar, this is a comedy movie and a very funny one. The soundtrack is filled with some hilariously strange song selections for a comic book movie, the pop-cultural references speak to an entire generation of moviegoers and the PS at the end of the credits is the first time I’ve seen a spoof of another film’s PS.
It’s easy to withhold top recommendations for a snarky carefree movie and if it weren’t for a few places where this film’s energy felt tiresome, I would call it a great film. It certainly is a breath of fresh anarchistic air when compared to the current climate of “universe-building” that dominates the world of big-budget filmmaking. Deadpool is a gleefully free movie in all of its cinematic playfulness.
While Kingsman: The Secret Service was not among my favorite films last year, I'm glad that along with Deadpool, it shows evidence that Twentieth Century Fox is willing to take their Marvel properties in an adult direction, rather than follow the other studios in the pathetic attempt to capture Disney's broad age-range crowd.
With that being said, let me stress that you don’t bring your grandparents or your little kids to this movie you idiot.