Deadpool opens in a taxi cab. We meet Wade / Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) as he’s fidgeting in the back of said cab. He’s fiddling with the window, raising and lowering the glass. He’s sticking his hand out of the car and playing with the airstream. He’s bored and he can’t sit still. He’s a giant man-child who also happens to have a relentless sense of humor, an indestructible body and a face made for one-liners.
Deadpool makes swift use of his bountiful charm to instantaneously befriend his cab driver, Dorpinder (Karan Soni). It’s a good thing too, because just as swiftly, he’s screwing over his new friend by hopping out of his cab without paying. Wade may have wit, but he doesn’t have the time (or the money) to pay cab fares. What he’s after is our resident villain, Francis / Ajax (Ed Skrein).
Ajax is the guy that did that awful thing to Deadpool’s face and it’s clear Wade wants him to fix it. It’s also clear that he doesn’t own his own car because he just took a cab to a highway shootout. Deadpool is the irreverent, comical and jaded love story of a foul-mouthed anti-hero who finds love, gets terminal cancer and makes one doozy of a life altering decision, only to wind up strange-faced and alone.
Deadpool begins with one of the best opening credits sequences I’ve seen in some time. It’s even better than the tentacle porn at the beginning of Spectre. It’s fun and effectively sets the tone for the next couple of hours (Actual Running Time: 108 minutes). Following this quirky opener, we get a little charming back and forth banter and ultimately, we’re rewarded with what we’ve all come to see: an explosive highway shootout. In this respect the movie never fails to deliver. The action sequences are crisp and jolting. The gratuitous gore is, believe it or not, refreshing. It looks like that R rating actually makes a world of difference.
Tim Miller (Director) does a wonderful job of threading together and balancing moments of extreme action and gory violence with instances of comedy and romance. There’s just enough of everything sprinkled throughout to keep even the most distracted moviegoer from losing interest. The only drawback to this approach was that it was sometimes hard to keep track of the timeline of events. There were a lot of flashback sequences (once you flash backward, you have to eventually flash forward) and sometimes it was hard to tell in which direction I was flashing. Not everything can be neatly categorized as pre or post jacked up face in Deadpool’s world. Fortunately for us, that’s also part of what makes this an entertaining movie.
It appears Ryan Reynolds has officially found himself the right superhero story to tell. Reynolds is great as Deadpool, and his ability to dispense one-liners in record time (and with grating persistence) has never been put to better use. I know that sounds like a backhanded compliment, but it’s not. I’m Team Reynolds, all the way. He is entirely too easy to like and I’m just not going to fight it. Reynolds portrayal of this most disgruntled superhero is essentially perfect.
T.J. Miller as Weasel keeps the one-liners palpable and his deadpan style is an excellent fit for this movie. Every one of his scenes had me laughing out loud. Morena Baccarin as Vanessa (Deadpool’s love interest), in contrast, provides a nice respite from the constant onslaught of comically irreverent remarks. Baccarin’s sincere performance translates into an ironically soothing injection of dramatic tension.
I’m going to level with you here. I love snark just as much as the next person, but moderation is critical. I can roll my eyes only so many times (within a span of 108 minutes) without pulling an eyeball muscle. While I understand that the explosively scattered and relentless nature of a character like Deadpool is meant to be borderline annoying, I couldn’t help but get irritated by it early on.
Through numerous dramatic and romantic flashbacks, Tim Miller slows the break-neck pace at which this story unfolds often enough to keep things interesting. Moreno and Reynolds both deliver excellent dramatic performances in these very scenes and together they give enough of a soul to this film to keep you invested in their happy ending.
While Deadpool doesn’t break a whole lot of new ground in the realm of the super hero origin story, it makes up for that with its R-rated comedy and action sequences. Despite almost ODing on those same one-liners early on, I hung in there. Fortunately for me, my patience was rewarded in the end. It turns out a foul-mouthed and infinitely flawed “testicle with teeth” can be pretty endearing and easy to root for.
To be completely honest, I wasn’t sure if I was going to go with a C+ or a B- for Deadpool. Miller did break down that fourth wall by having his main character address the audience directly a couple of times and I’m not usually into that. On the other hand, lots of the jokes were good and I was literally LOLing. I was torn. Then it occurred to me. When I first sat down in the theater, I had to pee. I intended to put my things down and then head to the restroom, but then the lights dimmed and the trailers started. There was no way I’d be missing the trailers. I live for those. “I’ll just go when I hit a part of the story I’m not 100% invested in,” I told myself as I settled back into my seat. That time never came and so I held it until the credits rolled. In my movie-obsessed world, that counts for something.
Deadpool (2016) – B-
B- =This is a pretty good time, and you should give it a whirl. You never know, you might enjoy it more than you think going in. It has its pitfalls, but overall worth your time.