I had my doubts. Usually February is a dumping ground for films unworthy of both award or blockbuster status. We’re beginning the closest thing to an offseason for Hollywood and 2016 looks typically dismal. My skepticism of Marvel Comics & 20th Century Fox’s Deadpool goes far beyond its release date. As a spin-off of the X-Men franchise, Deadpool has some pretty big shoes to fill, especially as a lesser known property. However, anyone that’s moderately familiar with ‘The Merc with the Mouth’ should be as concerned as I am that Fox could ruin this franchise in a similar fashion to ‘The Fantastic Four’. So what is it then? Did Fox sacrifice story for profits, or did they alienate a portion of the audience by making the ‘R’ rated film Deadpool needs to be. Or, is Deadpool not good enough to hang with the boys of Summer, in this increasingly crowded field of superhero films?
But first…We join this chase, already in progress.
Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) is on the hunt for a man named Ajax (Ed Skrein), who ran a secret facility that would give desperate humans mutant abilities. Wade Wilson was that desperate person. His life was pretty rough overall, but other than dating the beautiful Vanessa Carlysle (Morena Baccarin), Wade’s life sucked. The ex-special forces operative, works as a small time thug out of a seedy dive bar ran by only friend Weasel (T.J. Miller), Wade is approached by The Recruiter (Jed Rees) who claims to have a cure for his terminal cancer. Out of time and options, Wade finds The Recruiter and enlists in the unknown program. With things actually being too good to be true, the cure for cancer is to introduce mutant genes and combine it with Wilson’s DNA. The only way to do that (apparently), is to subject the body to great stress. The process leaves Wade hideously disfigured, but his new mutant abilities give him regenerative powers and increased agility. Too ghastly to be seen in public, Wade dons the red masks and goes on the hunt for the called ‘Ajax’ also known as Francis.
The first of eight (American) superhero movies to be released this year, Deadpool has set the mark high. From the tongue-in-cheek approach to the main titles, to the inspired post credits stinger, Deadpool is the benchmark for both superhero films and ‘R’ rated action comedies. It’s as close to perfect as Fox has been in the comic/superhero genre. Almost making up for the injustice that was Daredevil or The Fantastic Four movies. (and I mean all of them) My only fault is how the film strays a bit too far from the origin story than I would’ve liked. Characters in the film aren’t properly introduced, but the changes aren’t too egregious. Casual fans and newcomers to the series won’t know what I’m talking about, but I was a bit annoyed that Weapon X wasn’t mentioned by name. I know, I’m nit-picking but it’s a potentially vital piece of business that would help continuity between X-Men and it’s spin off series.
Overall, there aren’t any major complaints, making Deadpool the first film in a while that requires a second viewing. There are so many pop culture references; different sections of the theater were laughing at different things on screen, only hearing every other punchline. I was beginning to lose interest in the superhero film genre. Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe had a great, unprecedented decade long run before tiring; X-men even longer. But Deadpool is invigorating and a need change of pace from a genre that was growing stale.
Rated: R @ 108 Mins
Note: In IMAX Where Available