It’s the Merc with a Mouth…actually with a mouth this time! Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) works as a mercenary, a relatively neutral guy who makes a living on doing sometimes crappy tasks for bad people. His whole life has been kind of crappy, but he finds a woman, escort Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), whose life is just as crappy as his. Immediately, the two fit like jigsaw pieces.
Life is looking up until Wade is afflicted with cancer. He’s mentally prepared to die, but loves Vanessa too much and is willing to do anything to rid himself of it, including undergoing a not-sanctioned-by-the-government dangerous experiment led by Ajax (Ed Skrein). The experiment rids Wade of cancer, but also makes him extremely erratic mentally, and unrecognizable physically. Driven by revenge, and armed with accelerated healing and a vulgar mouth, Wilson—code name Deadpool—goes on his
merry little f**ked up way of dealing a dish best served cold.
As a God of War fan, watching Deadpool is probably the closest I’ll ever get to seeing Kratos and his blood-soaked Greek epic on the silver screen. And let’s face it, with the piss-poor track record that video games turned into big-screen adaptations have, it’s probably for the best. What yours truly is trying to say is that Deadpool, though probably not as ruthless/sadistic as Kratos, isn’t all that far off. It isn’t often that a chaotic neutral character is the sole protagonist in a feature, but that is exactly what 20th Century Fox and director Tim Miller choose to do here.
Despite what the character says about his own film being a different kind of superhero story, at the heart of it, Deadpool is still the basic type of superhero story. It is a basic origin story featuring a character with a rough upbringing/life, some mutation/experiment, and trying to get revenge on someone that wronged him. And of course, there is a love interest.
Where Deadpool does break away from the typical superhero mold is how its story is told. Yes, this is an origin story, but not from our hero’s inception, à la Peter Parker or Steve Rogers. Deadpool—not Wade Wilson—is the first person seen, and gradually through nonlinear storytelling that intersplices the first half’s action scene, it is introduced as to how Wilson became the Merc with a Mouth. In the eyes of yours truly, this method actually accomplishes two things: Giving the people what they want with enough Deadpool time, yet still showing enough of his alter ego to build a good character.
Years down the line, Deadpool will not be remembered for its well directed (and super-hyperactive) action, or its eclectic soundtrack and balls-to-the-wall score composed by Junkie XL (Mad Max: Fury Road). Nope, what people are going to remember most will easily be all of the fourth wall breaks that address everything in the superhero universe (X-Men Origins: Wolverine for example) to even anything outside of it (Limp Bizkit’s contribution to 90’s music), along with crude one-liners that have no shame in picking the low hanging fruit. Can the vulgarity and meta-ness feel a little too much at times, even like a crutch? Yes, but more times than not, it is legitimately funny.
The jokes are written well, but I’d say the delivery and commitment to them is even better. This recent incarnation of Deadpool has been Ryan Reynolds’ passion for a while now, and it shows in his performance here. There may have been a few others who could play the role, and it is easy to say this after seeing his full work as this particular hero, but it just feels like this is the role he was born to play, combining his chiseled physique with a quick wit and simple likability. The latter is the most surprising, as he does give Deadpool some emotional notes instead of a straight killing machine.
He and the love interest, played by Morena Baccarin, are effective as a romantic tandem. The rest of the characters are as one-dimensional as the opening credits suggest, but are equally effective. TJ Miller serves one purpose as a nonviolent comedic sidekick to Wade. Ed Skrein isn’t memorable as the big bad, but does his job in getting the audience to hate him. A CGI Colossus is great fun, and fellow X-Men member Negasonic Teenage Warhead gets a little time to shine. It wasn’t in the budget to feature A or even B-list X-Men, but the usage of less familiar ones adds to the movie’s subversiveness.
When in doubt, it isn’t a bad thing to stay close to the source material. Even a non-comic book nerd can see that while the Deadpool character himself represents reckless abandon, his treatment by his movie studio doesn’t. Who knows where the sequel will go from here, but I’m sure that The Merc with a Mouth will touch himself every night from now until then.
Photo credits go to galacticnewsone.com, thecriticalcritics.com, screenrant.com, and redcarpetrefs.com.
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