Director: Tim Miller
Writers: Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza (Character)
Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (Writers)
Ryan Reynolds: Wade Wilson/Deadpool
Morena Baccarin: Vanessa
TJ Miller: Weasel
Stephan Kapicic: Colossus (voice)
Brianna Hildebrand: Negasonic Teenage Warhead
Ed Skrein: Ajax
Gina Carano: Angle Dust
Jed Rees: Recruiter
Deadpool is an unusual movie, particularly for a Marvel production. Note this from IGN:
Deadpool performed incredibly well at the box office on Friday, setting the new record for an R-rated film’s debut day.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Fox’s new film—starring Ryan Reynolds as its smart-mouthed antihero—earned a whopping $47.5 million Friday, putting it among the top 10 comic book movie openings of all time, and at number one for an R-rated feature, regardless of genre. The opening day is also higher than any of 20th Century Fox’s other X-Men-related films to date.
Thanks to its impressive debut, Deadpool is on track to gross $117 million during its first three days and $130 million over the course of the four-day President’s Day weekend. Seeing as how only ten superhero movies have ever crossed the $100 million mark during a weekend debut, Fox is undoubtedly pleased with how its film is currently performing.
Deadpool has honestly earned its “R” rating with semi-nudity, nudity, somewhat explicit sex scenes, blood-slinging violence of the kind normally reserved for Quentin Tarantino movies, voluminous swearing, uncountable sexual references, a masturbation scene, and all manner of uncouth, juvenile bantering and behavior. And it all works. Tragically, very little of the nudity exposes the exquisitely lovely Morena Baccarin, opting instead for quite a few clear shots of Ryan Reynolds’ backside.
In other words, the movie is an easy sell for young men, and Reynolds’ backside and ripped musculature won’t exactly offend their girlfriends and spouses, or at the very least, will help them more or less ignore a bit of the gratuitous bloodshed and generally juvenile grossness. Have I mentioned it works?
This is an origin movie in the Marvel style. Wade Wilson is a former Special Forces soldier who has taken to mercenary semi-good deeds in the style of The Equalizer, except where the Equalizer is taciturn and brooding, Wilson is a loud, crass, wise-cracking show-off. His home away from home is a bar where violence is common, and a running “dead pool” bets on the likely death or survival of various of the regulars, including Wilson. The bartender, Weasel, played by TJ Miller, is as close to a friend as Wilson has, until he meets Vanessa, whose joyful lust for joyful lust matches Wilson’s, and they make and fall into love.
Everything pretty much goes to hell from there.
Deadpool does get the girl in the end (see the movie; there’s a pun there).
And what a girl she is. Vanessa is played by a lean and lithe Morena Baccarin, who displays excellent comic timing, oddly enough, during the sex scenes as well. She’s the good woman that can make even a man like Deadpool be good–sort of.
Deadpool is unique in the heroic pantheon. He is not a hero in the traditional sense, and not quite in the Marvel sense. Marvel heroes often have disturbing backgrounds and constantly struggle with damaged, even disturbed psyches, but they fit, more or less, into the category of “good guys” (and girls, of course). Some are closer to anti-heroes, people who are good only in comparison with the truly good. Wilson himself rejects the heroic label, maintaining that he is a bad man that does terrible things to really bad people, people worse than him, and so he does.
The movie is packed with action, much of it CGI generated, all of which is seamlessly integrated with actual actors. Flashbacks, flash forwards, flashy stunts and fight scenes, all work at breakneck speed, allowing even the most tactically adept to ignore many glaring faults. Wilson, for example, is an incredibly skilled warrior, yet carries no spare ammunition for his two Desert Eagle handguns, and on two occasions, finds himself knowingly going into battle with only a handful of rounds. He carries two Japanese Katana-style swords, yet no care is given to beautiful and effective swordsmanship. Oh well; it works.
Perhaps most impressive is Reynolds’ acting. His head and face are entirely covered by the Deadpool mask much of the movie, so the audience can’t see any facial expression, not so much as a raised eyebrow, yet, through physical mugging, tone of voice, and body language, he manages to express more than adequate emotion and intent. Without Reynolds’ dead-on comic timing, the character would not work. Deadpool’s frequent asides to the audience are wry and effective.
Deadpool is, in a sense, a new age James Bond. He’s not suave or sophisticated. He’s dedicated to Vanessa, and he should be; she’s a remarkable woman, and I’m not referring to her body. He doesn’t know his wines, and could care less about martinis, shaken or stirred. He wouldn’t be caught dead in a bespoke suit, but he’s the man men want to be, and the man women want to be with.
Deadpool pokes delighted fun at pretty much everyone and everything in the Marvel universe, and with whom Reynolds or Deadpool have every associated, including Reynolds. Two of the X-Men, Colossus, and Negasonic Teenage Warhead strive to bring Deadpool into the good guy, X-Men fold, with only glancing success, but they provide necessary help when needed.
Colossus is an entirely CGI generated character, voiced with a vaguely Russian accent by Stephan Kapicic. Brianna Hildebrand as Negasonic Teenage Warhead demonstrates little emotion, but becomes likeable by the end of the movie.
Ed Skrein as Ajax is an appropriately leering, evil bad guy, and Gina Carano as Angel Dust, an appropriately evil sidekick. There’s not a great deal more I can say about these characters without giving too much away. Audiences will recognize Jed Rees who played one of the Thermians in the delightful Galaxy Quest. He too is an evil character, and Deadpool deals appropriately with him.
No one will leave a theater after viewing the movie pondering the complexities of life, but Deadpool is very entertaining, and the kind of movie perhaps best seen on the big screen, though it will easily earn a place on DVD in private collections. It is custom made for sequels, which, considering a sequel is already authorized, is a good thing indeed.
Perhaps Deadpool resonates so well with Americans because he’s the kind of hero we need. Like any self-respecting hero, he’ll always get the bad guys, but unlike most, he’ll do whatever is necessary within the very wide boundaries of peculiar moral code, and when he has a psychotic, murderous bad guy at his mercy, he won’t show any mercy, he’ll finish them, once and for all. The bad guys Deadpool chases won’t get the chance to harm him, or anyone else, ever again. Refreshing,
In an age when the lives of Americans are at risk, and our President is capable of only token gestures against forces that will, if given the chance, obliterate western civilization, that kind of single-minded determination against evil is welcome–and profitable at the box office.
As with all Marvel movies, take the time to watch the credits. There is always a teaser.