Movie review: ‘Deadpool’ a different kind of superhero movie
–One of the most reliable staples at the movies and on TV are superhero stories. They remain wildly popular and Marvel and DC Comics seem to have an unending supply of stories to tell. But usually they take a similar shape and feel.
One of the reasons superhero films have been so reliable is that they ride the middle when it comes to content, going for PG-13 ratings and attracting mass audiences that include scores of young viewers. When it came to the adaptation of “Deadpool,” the studio went a different way.
“Deadpool” is hardly the first superhero movie to get slapped with an R-rating. But it’s certainly the first to be proud of that rating and to wear it like a badge of honor. But it’s not just the limits of content that make “Deadpool” different from your average superhero fare.
The film centers on Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds), a former Special Forces soldier who operates as a low-level thug for hire. He soon falls in love with a prostitute, Vanessa (Morena Baccarain), and seems to have settled into a groove when the unexpected happens. Wade is diagnosed with terminal cancer.
He gets an offer from a nefarious group to endow him with powers that will help him beat his terminal diagnosis. But the work done by Ajax (Ed Skrein) and Angel Dust (Gina Carano) isn’t as noble as they made it out to be. Instead, they torture Wade to get his powers to activate, hoping to use him as a super-powered mercenary for hire.
Wade escapes in a fiery blast that leaves everyone thinking he’s dead. Instead, he discovers he’s immortal and able to regenerate. He assumes a new identity — Deadpool — and begins tracking Ajax, hoping to exact some revenge.
When Ajax snatches Vanessa, Deadpool springs into action, bringing X-Men Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) along with him.
This film has a light, irreverent tone to go along with its story. Deadpool often breaks the fourth wall, addressing the audience, and makes plenty of contemporary and Meta pop culture jokes. That’s all part of the fun. In fact, the film begins with a main title credit sequence that it’s fair to say is unlike anything I’ve seen in previous films.
And that all works to a certain extent. The story is unrestrained and unfettered, earning its R-rating through overt sexual scenes, graphic language and even more graphic violence. It’s played for laughs most of the time, but it’s certainly different than your typical superhero film.
That’s all part of the appeal. Reynolds is the ideal choice to play the lead role, and he’s said it’s been a passion project for him to get the film made. He has great comedic timing and doesn’t take himself too seriously, all keys to making this film and this character work.
The supporting cast does a fine job, too. There’s not really much in the way of character development for anyone, and the plot is pretty standard. Again, the film doesn’t take itself too seriously, so it points a lot of that out and has fun with its clichés.
We live in a time when superhero films have saturated — some might say over-saturated — the market. In order to stand out you have to have an exceptional story or be something different. That’s the niche that “Deadpool” fills, it’s something different. Not just in its approach to content limits, but in terms of character and story construction, too. It’s not for everyone, but if you’re a fan of the comics or looking for a different kind of “hero” this film has plenty to offer.
“Deadpool” has been rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America for strong violence and language throughout, sexual content and graphic nudity. Enter with caution.
Three stars out of four.