In the Marvel Universe, there really isn't anyone like Deadpool. Created in 1991 by extremely terrible comic book artist Rob Liefeld, Deadpool (real name, Wade Wilson), began his comics career as a villainous killer-for-hire in X-titles like "The New Mutants" and "X-Force." He's a ripoff of DC Comics' villain Slade Wilson, also known as Deathstroke, with a rhyming first name and same last name, just because Liefeld and initial writer Fabian Nicieza are kind of the worst.
Subsequent appearances pulled Deadpool out of the basic villain category and into anti-hero territory. By the time he had his own title in 1997, he was a wise ass, fourth-wall breaking mercenary who had an uncontrollable urge to be seen as a hero every once and awhile. Deadpool still killed people, but they mostly deserved it and he found himself teaming up with the X-Men more often than trying to kill them.
It was 2009's "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" that attempted to put the character to film the first time. In this attempt, they made one great decision and one terrible one: They cast Ryan Reynolds, but then they sewed his mouth shut. This is a character that exists almost specifically to talk shit while he is creating havoc, and they took away his mouth. This was such a deep misunderstanding of the character that any solo Deadpool movie ideas were lost in development-hell for years.
Reynolds had been currying favor to play Deadpool since 2004 when, in an issue of "Cable & Deadpool," the merc with a mouth describes himself as "Ryan Reynolds crossed with a Shar-Pei." After the financial success but massive critical failure of "Origins: Wolverine," Reynolds never gave up on doing this character justice. Flash to 2014 when test footage from a 2012 attempt at a "Deadpool" film leaked online and went insanely viral overnight. The footage was so popular (and badass) that the film was given the green light a few weeks later. Now, in February of 2016, we have an R-rated superhero flick that shouldn't exist. Wouldn't all of that work be terrible if the movie was garbage? Amazingly, it's not. It's pretty great.
"Deadpool" tells a very basic origin story for the character, but fills every frame with jokes, sight gags, great acting and a complete disdain for the conventions of the superhero genre. Ryan Reynolds owns this role from the ground up and the fact that he can be so charismatic behind a mask is a testament to his talent. He has been box-office poison for the last decade, so it is nice to see him finally have a breakout hit on his hands.
The action is crisply shot and very violent, the humor is juvenile and mostly hilarious (although with a few clunkers in the bunch) and the romance is surprisingly affecting. Morena Baccarin (Inara from "Firefly") is Vanessa, Wade's girlfriend before he becomes Deadpool. Though there are some typical damsel in distress beats for her to play, Vanessa is smart, tough and not to be taken lightly. She is a stronger female character than any that have come out of Marvel Studios so far and gives Marvel a higher bar to aim for going forward.
The movie isn't perfect. The budget is lower than the average Marvel flick, so some of the computer graphics (CG) are wonky and look straight from network TV. The humor is goofy, crude and somewhat aimed at teenage boys, but keeps the audience laughing hysterically multiple times throughout the film. Regardless of its faults, "Deadpool" is ridiculously fun for every second of its running time. It even ties Deadpool into the "X-Men" films, so let's hope we can see him team up with Wolverine again in a film befitting their massive...talents.
Dir. Tim Miller
Now playing at Old Mill Stadium 16 & IMAX