Deadpool Movie Review (Spoiler-Free!)

Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool
Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool. 20th Century Fox

Way back in college I started my (expensive) mission to collect every issue from Deadpool's first ongoing series. I know Wade Wilson can be polarizing, but he quickly became one of my favorite Marvel characters. His third volume - by Gerry Duggan, Brian Posehn, and several awesome artists, like Mike Hawthorne and Declan Shalvey - has only boosted my love for the anti-hero. So, why am I telling you this instead of immediately sharing my thoughts on the movie?

I mean, that's what you're here to read, right? It's because I want to let you know that I went into this film with very high expectations.

I didn't want just over-the-top violence and comedy from Deadpool. I was actually feeling skeptical about the movie because I was worried it would focus too much on earning its R-rating and not enough on giving us a strong emotional connection to Wade. All of the best Deadpool stories contain some big laughs and entertaining action, but they also hit you with some really powerful moments and they can get really dark.

The best Deadpool stories always remind you that just because he's laughing and running his mouth, it doesn't mean the guy is happy, or even remotely close to being happy. He wears a mask to cover his scarred face, but he also uses humor as a mask to cover just how broken and hurt he really is.

Deadpool being one of my favorite Marvel characters made me excited to see the film.

Finally having a seemingly faithful adaptation of Wade appear on the big screen is just so surreal to me, and the fact there's potential for sequels and more (R-rated X-Force by Matthew Vaughn, please) makes me so incredibly happy. But Deadpool being one of my favorite characters also means I went into the movie being far more critical of it.

If the movie's claiming it's giving us the Deadpool we've always wanted, you can bet that I have some pretty high standards. Okay, saying "high standards" and "Deadpool" probably seems really odd to many people out there, but you likely get my point. Thankfully, I'm beyond happy to tell you that I had such a great time watching director Tim Miller'Deadpool.

First and foremost, it's refreshing to have a comic book movie that has so much faith in its source material. Yes, there are noticeable changes throughout the movie, but it's so blatantly obvious that the creation of Deadpool is the polar opposite of what happened with 20th Century Fox's Fantastic Four reboot. Look, I'm not here to bash that movie, but the final product makes it clear there were major creative differences behind the scenes. With Deadpool, it's obviously a passion project for everyone involved. I mean, you've seen the movie costume, right? (It's right there at the top of this review!) For the most part, they took Deadpool's design straight from the comics, and that's not something you see very often, especially from the X-Men movies. And yes, there's even some lighthearted jabs at the studio in the movie! You can likely predict what those jokes are about, but I guarantee you won't see them coming.

Seeing as there's also jokes about the people involved in the project (right in the terrific opening sequence), you can tell everyone embraced the fact Deadpool was going to be a really fun movie, and very few things are probably off-limits. It's not mean-spirited in the way it calls a few things out, either.

Ryan Reynolds was solid as Wade Wilson in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but then, as you likely know, that movie took his character in a totally different - and very disappointing - direction. In Deadpool, Reynolds gets to finally unleash as Wade Wilson, and I loved it. He absolutely nails the different kinds of comedy and, best of all, he really delivers on the few emotional scenes. In fact, I think the two more serious scenes with him left the strongest impression on me. They're both brief, but thanks to his performance, they're really effective.

I'm guessing there are some people out there who think Deadpool's comedy will be limited to dick jokes, non-stop cursing, and goofy slapstick. First and foremost, what's wrong with that as long as it's handled creatively? Is anyone really expecting highbrow from Deadpool? And secondly, that isn't the case. Yeah, there's a lot of good laughs that revolve around violence, sex, and cursing (there is a hilarious sex montage, after all), but there's also a good amount of really clever comedy that doesn't rely on those things. Deadpool's relationship with Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead is not only amusing, but it's also a great way to further show just how different Deadpool's morality is from (most) of the X-Men. As expected, there's also some good use of breaking the fourth wall, and there may or may not be a nod or two to another familiar face. 

Co-writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick's comedy - and Reynolds' improv - is practically non-stop, and thanks to the variety of gags, Deadpool doesn't become annoying and the jokes don't begin to feel repetitive. Will everyone laugh out loud and think the movie's hysterical? Obviously not. But if the trailers and marketing have made you smile, I'm willing to bet that you're going to be laughing a lot. Oh, and you're definitely going to have at least one song stuck in your head when you leave the theater.

Remember when I spent a silly amount of time talking about why I love Deadpool back at the beginning of this review? One of the many reasons I left out is that the dude's an excellent combatant. His accelerated healing factor means some writers enjoy throwing him into the meat grinder a lot, but he's a really agile and dangerous guy. That's something this movie understands and most definitely highlights. The shots can get a little rough at times, but Deadpool's melees are still such a blast. His impressive agility is brought to life really well and there's one especially brutal fight - they did a good job making sure the tone of it was noticeably darker and the choreography was more savage.

 

Colossus has appeared in multiple X-Men movies before popping up in Deadpool, but he was never given proper credit in those previous films. Even in the fantastic X-Men: Days of Future Past, the guy says one line and then we see him get wrecked twice. Basically, the big man's received no love in the X-Men Cinematic Universe. Deadpool changes that. Thanks to actor Stefan Kapicic, Colossus finally has a Russian accent, and he has a ton of dialogue, too! Deadpool's still at the stage where he has no interest whatsoever in being a hero, so Colossus is used to portray a more traditional hero - you know, a good guy. This of course leads to some really funny conversations between the two of them.

It's so great to see Colossus finally get some respect. I'd say his personality - his lovable, admirable personality - plays a bigger role than his jaw-dropping might, but thankfully, his strength also gets some much-deserved love! Due to his kind heart, you can always tell Colossus is a man who shows an exceptional level of restraint. Don't worry, you will get to see him unleash, and when he is at a noticeable disadvantage, it's because his kindness has left him vulnerable. He's also used for some really, really enjoyable physical comedy. Colossus is a great addition to the story. It seems like we never see him in his human form because of the way the role was handled during production, but if there is a next time around for the strong and durable hero, it would be cool to see Kapicic voice Colossus and act as the mutant when his powers aren't activated. Seriously, the actor is 6'4"! I do have a very, very minor complaint about Colossus, though. Without spoiling anything, I'll just say I think he really overreacts to one moment. His response is obviously there for a laugh, but if the dude's an X-Man and constantly fighting evil, it just doesn't seem like an in-character response.

The villains, Ajax (Ed Skrein) and Angel Dust (Gina Carano), aren't one of the movie's highlights. It's nothing against Skrein and Carano's performances, it's just that their roles are very limited. You can really tell those two are there to just further build Wade Wilson. They're bad simply because, well, they are, and there isn't much motivation or depth there. Not everyone needs an elaborate back story, but there isn't much to them. A vast majority of the film is dedicated to developing Deadpool, and that decision absolutely pays off. It just leaves these two feeling like pretty generic foes, though. For the most part, Ajax's relationship with Deadpool from the comics carries over, but comic fans will notice that someone else who played a big role in Wade Wilson becoming Deadpool is missing in the movie. It looks like part of that character's role was added to Ajax - I'm guessing that was done to keep the story more concise. If they really wanted to, they could still easily introduce this missing comic book character in a future movie.

Morena Baccarin's Vanessa has good - and, of course, often hilarious - chemistry with Reynolds' Wade Wilson. She's just as funny as he is, and she adds a little more emotional weight to the story. She's hardly some helpless character and that's proven early on, but she does basically end up becoming a damsel in distress. She has a badass moment or two in the film and she has some really fun back-and-forth banter with Reynolds, but just like the villains, she's a little underutilized. Based on some of the trailers and TV spots, it seems like there's a deleted scene with her that could've expanded just a bit on her time with the villains. T.J. Miller's Weasel is pretty much just more comedic relief - awesome comedic relief, that is - and so is Leslie Uggams' Blind Al. Neither receive any insight or have enough screen time to have a really meaningful bond with Deadpool - they just occasionally add to the hilarity. Basically, if you're not Deadpool, you're just along for the ride. But hey, everyone's buying a ticket to see Deadpool and his bloody and funny adventure, right? So I'm doubting many people will care about that. 

The overall story probably isn't going to drop your jaw because that's where things feel more like traditional and predictable storytelling. Maybe it's because I know the guy's history pretty well, but I'm guessing many viewers won't be too surprised by the plot points that are supposed to be twists. Plenty of the humor is clever and there's a ton of legitimate surprises that are there for laughs (like a certain development with the taxi situation), but when it involves stuff like the villains making a move, it isn't nearly as interesting or surprising as the jokes are. These are the kind of moments when the movie momentarily loses its overflowing creativity and goes for a more standard approach to the plot.

The Merc with a Mouth can finally be called the Merc with a Movie, and it's a movie that was definitely worth the wait. The overall story may not blow your mind, but the non-stop comedy and action is so much fun and there's just the right amount of emotion as well. Ryan Reynolds said he'd like to play Deadpool for the rest of his life. If the studio continues to allow this level of creative freedom, then I really hope Reynolds gets exactly what he wants.

Deadpool's such a ridiculously fun time at the movies and I really hope it makes enough money to earn a sequel. I still can't get over the fact that I'm writing a glowing review for Deadpool. If only I could go back in time and tell this to the younger me back in college - I'd love to see his reaction to hearing that the future really does have an awesome Deadpool movie in store for him. Thank you for making up for "Deadpool" in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Fox. This fan forgives you for that.