Nutshell: Want a great family-friendly superhero film to watch with your loved ones to this Valentine’s Day? Stay at home and re-watch Avengers. Want an over-the-top gorefest that is full of crass, inappropriate humor, nekkidness, ultraviolence, and a cast that’s game for whatever crazy stuff comes next? Line the hell up. Wade Wilson may not take himself seriously, but this film is serious fun. THIS is how to do an origin story. Pass the chimichangas. Grade: A+
“From the studio that inexplicably sewed his fucking mouth shut the first time, comes… me!”
Yes, the marketing for this film has been off the chain. Absolutely top-notch. In fact, I’m betting marketing execs have been fired for not coming up with stuff this sweet for other super-movies. Or at least been moved to that office with the copier and microwave. But how does Deadpool stack up as a movie and not a marketing juggernaut? Damn fine, thanks for asking.
By now, anyone who’s reading this review knows that Deadpool is the story of Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds, ICYMI), a guy that makes money by bringing the pain to people who deserve it. He’s got a touch of the usual heart-of-gold – he won’t take money from a young girl who asks Wade to scare off a stalker – but he’s no altar boy. Wade finds the yin to his crazy yang in Vanessa (21st century’s genre queen Morena Baccarin), a hooker who’s just as damaged and off-kilter as he is. Fade to happy-ending credits? Nope. Wade is diagnosed with cancer, and given a very short time to live. But there’s a guy who’d like to give Wade the opportunity to kick that diagnosis to the curb, if Wade is willing to sign on…and end up looking like “an avocado had sex with an older avocado”. Yeah, the mutant gene can play hell on your looks sometimes.
Between dodging X-Men Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Stefan Kapicic and Brianna Hildebrand, acing their straight-men roles), trying to figure out how to tell Vanessa he’s not dead, and carving out “quality time” with his Crocs and stuffed unicorn, it’s tough trying to track down the “shit-speckled Muppet fart” who did this to him. But Wade – as Deadpool, the Merc With A Mouth – is gonna try. Even if that means killing every scumbucket in his path. Especially if it means killing every scumbucket in his path.
Director Tim Miller seems to know that the way to get birth a cool superhero movie is to let the writers and actors off their leashes. And that’s exactly what happens here. Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick take a comic book character and keep him true to his origins. Fans of Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza will see the same level of fourth-wall busting, insane antics, and snarky comments about the entertainment industry, Marvel, and of course Deadpool/Reynolds’ prior time on the silver screen. Deadpool also knows the way to get an audience into the vibe is by coming at ’em right out of the gate. The opening credits do that perfectly. This is one of the very rare instances where I ask – nay, implore – you to read them. Pop open your Twizzlers and nacho cheese before the room gets dark. You can thank me later. BTW, the end credits are a hoot, with great art, and the usual post-credits funtime. (Though there’s a second post-credits scene that nobody’ll get to see ’til the movie officially drops. Yeah, like I wouldn’t go back regardless.)
As you’d expect, visual and special FX are top-notch, and editing keeps things moving nicely while keeping things from becoming a blur. Art direction is fantastic, with lots of Easter Eggs for fans to cackle over. Then there’s the music. Oh yeah, baby. Juice Newton’s “Angel of the Morning” plays during a particularly violent throw-down, and that justaposition is perfect. Did I already mention that this film is hella bloody? It is. And blowing off steam by cracking lewd jokes, or dropping a 70s power ballad into a prime butt-kicking scene lends a bit of balance to the festivities. Junkie XL nails it with a soundtrack that’s just crazy enough to stand up to what’s going on onscreen. Wham, Neil Sedaka, DMX, Salt-N-Pepa…yeah, it’s all over the place. And the music amps the movie up to 11. Or, maybe considering the level of crazy, up to 12 or 13. Yeah, that sounds about right.
All that said, the question on some idiots minds is this; “should I bring my kid to see Deadpool?” Absolutely not. Well, actually…it depends. Do you mind your Special Snowflake seeing [RADIO EDITED SPOILER] Ryan Reynolds get owned by a strap-on? Ready to have that conversation with widdle sweet pea? Well, then do you. Seriously, this ain’t a “padded to an R” R rating. This is a “probably had to trim it down from an NC-17” R rating. So kids below double digits should definitely stay at home. Tweens? As I’ve said before, depends on what they can handle, and how much raunch, blood, and mayhem you can handle your kids putting their eye-parts on. Me? I freakin’ loved every second of it. But I’m a grown-ass adult. My 8-year-old nieces, however? They’d have so many questions, and all of them would probably be aimed at the brand-new therapist they’d end up seeing. Potato, po-ta-don’t-do-it.