Deadpool Review: An Antihero Having a Laugh at Your Expense, and His

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There are moments in Deadpool that transcend your usual superhero movie and elevate it to something new entirely. Like when the titular character fast forwards his own movie and accidentally lands on a scene of his hand shaking violently down his pants while he clutches a plush unicorn. Our antihero gleefully quips and fast forwards further to the next plot point.

After years of fans, as well as its star, fighting for this thing, Deadpool has finally arrived, and it’s just about everything fans could have hoped for. Self-referential humor? A constant. Stylized violence to the point of hilarity? You bet. Fourth-wall breaking? About every five minutes. Some will complain that the skeleton of this movie is the same as every other superhero movie, and it is. Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) is a mercenary who falls in love and soon after learns he’s dying of cancer. Cue the miracle procedure that not only promises to cure his deadly disease, but give him powers as well. There’s a villain, an origin, a love interest, a goofy sidekick, and the rest of the tropes.

The risk here is Deadpool himself. This isn’t a hero you can give similar pathos to every other hero and call it a day (looking at you, Ant-Man). Deadpool takes a quick yet wildly immature wit. It’s a superhero movie operating on an Anchorman level, filled to the brim, and then some, with intelligent stupidity.

But for all the sharp, lovingly inconsistent writing, Deadpool would be nothing without Ryan Reynolds. This is a star who so clearly loves his character, making this the role he was born to play. Reynolds has made a solid name for himself in Hollywood, but there’s no doubt he’ll be remembered as the Merc with a Mouth.

This first outing for what hopefully becomes a franchise is far from perfect though. Ajax (Ed Skrein), the film’s villain, is a bore. Some of the origin flashback scenes stray too far from the film’s cutting, self-referential comedy. Not every joke of the approximate thousand delivered lands. There’s a general sense that there’s already a much better sequel in the works, limiting the heights this entry can achieve.

Even so, there’s one superhero movie trope here that lands better than it has in a while. The romance shared between Wade and Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) is sexy and oozes with chemistry. The sheer lack of cliche helps more emotional moments, like when Wade finds out he has cancer and Vanessa, as he describes it, is figuring out plans A-Z, land with surprising heft. There’s a realism in how not nice everything is. Then again, in a superhero movie where the hero constantly breaks the fourth wall, something had to feel real.

So, where does Deadpool stand as the eighth(!) movie of this never-ending X-Men franchise? Somewhere in the middle. It doesn’t quite hit the brilliance of Bryan Singer’s first sequel way back in 2003 or the time-travel reboot from 2014, but it’s way ahead of both Wolverine spinoffs and the tragedy that is X-Men: The Last Stand. But, much like how everything in the modest X-Men evolved into greatness with X2, the promised sequel to Deadpool could build on this necessary and very entertaining groundwork to make something even more special. Like chimichangas. Grade: B+

By Matt Dougherty

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