On Friday, that ritual goat sacrifice Ryan Reynolds partook in years ago  finally pays off when Deadpool hits the big screen. Our very own Lesley Coffin didn’t like it, but I’m prepared to be the Goofus to her Gallant—Deadpool definitely falls on the Goofus end of the spectrum—and defend the superhero feature. Is it perfect? No, but it’s still pretty good, especially for a Hollywood February release. What else are you going to watch? Gods of Egypt?
Fans of the Merc with a Mouth will be pleased to know that first-time director Tim Miller and writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (Zombieland) have doubled down on the comedy quotient, packing Deadpool’s 1 hour and 48 minutes with enough fourth wall breaks and meta references to fill … well, to fill a Deadpool movie. I don’t want to spoil any of the specifics for you, but suffice to say the presence of Hugh Jackman looms large, and X-Men Origins: Wolverine does not escape unscathed. From the very first minutes, where a faux opening credits segment tips its hat to, among others, “Some Douchebag” and “The Real Heroes Who Wrote This Thing,” Deadpool cracked me the hell up. The jokes fly fast and furious, if with a distressing lack of Vin Diesel, and its soundtrack game rivals that of Guardians of the Galaxy.
Ryan Reynolds was born in a damn lab to play this role, and T.J. Miller is equally good as possibly the most realistic superhero sidekick ever. I will take any opportunity to watch Gina Carano be badass, and she does it well here as the terse, super-strong mutant Angel Dust. (Deadpool went the Haywire route and wrote Carano’s character such that she doesn’t actually have to, y’know, act much. Good call.) Morena Baccarin, as sex worker-turned-superhero fiancée Vanessa (VAANNNESSSSAAAAA! Sorry, that’s a reflex ever since I watched Daredevil) is … fine. There’s nothing wrong with her, but Deadpool does fall into the all-too-familiar trap of having its female lead not do much of anything aside from sit around, look sexy, get rescued, and serve as a walking, talking manpain-generator. To Deadpool‘s credit, I wasn’t keeping track, but I think we may have seen more of Reynolds’ ass than Baccarin’s, and there’s a pretty excellent pegging joke. The humor does venture into the bro-y at times—in Deadpool, I know, how shocking!—as when Deadpool, addressing the audience, says ““You’re probably thinking, ‘My boyfriend said this was a superhero movie.’” Reese and Wernick! It is the year of our Lord 2016! Women go to superhero movies a lot, and you should stop.
Also: Petition to create a special edition of Deadpool where Deadpool doesn’t say, “M’lady.” He doesn’t say it in a neckbeard-y context, but that word is just like nails on a chalkboard at this point.
So, yeah, Deadpool ain’t perfect. Its main problem is that it spent 95% of its brainpower on jokes and like 5% on things like “plot” and “story.” Look, I don’t expect deftly-plotted brilliance from big-budget Hollywood extravaganzas, but when Every. Single. Plot. Beat. is visible from a mile off, proceedings can get a bit tedious no matter how many fourth wall breaks there are. Matters aren’t helped by the fact that a good third of the movie consists of flashback segments explaining how Wade Wilson came to be Deadpool—cancer, secret government (whoops, not government!) agency, naked manfighting in a burning building—and most of it (naked manfighting aside) just isn’t that interesting. So much of the tone of Deadpool is all about giving us things we haven’t seen before, and I just wish the rest of the movie had followed suit.
Ban Origin Stories 2K16.
But, at the same time … look, Deadpool is not a particularly ambitious film. It wants to be a profane, R-rated action comedy, and it pulls that off. There are elements that don’t work, but it’s fun, which (I suspect) is more than I’ll be able to say for the next superhero film to hit theaters, March’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. It’s February. It’s hideously dreary outside, and we still have three months until Civil War. Deadpool is what I needed.
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