About the only good thing that came out of X-Men Origins: Wolverine was that Ryan Reynolds as Wade Wilson seemed to be about as perfect a casting decision as it gets in the genre. The film may have not have been very good, and the fate of Wilson at the end miserable, but the serendipity of Reynolds as the “merc with the mouth” may have been the most brilliant bit of casting in a comic book film ever. Fans were thrilled and the idea of Reynolds in a solo film as Deadpool seemed out of reach given the fairly pedestrian manner of the genre. Reynolds would go on to headline comic book flops The Green Lantern and RIPD but the thought of Deadpool always loomed over.
Would they make an R-rated film for the character? And more importantly … would it be any good? If Deadpool is any indication Marvel might be looking at their first R-rated franchise of significance. It also might be the kick in the backside that Marvel needs as 20th Century Fox now holds the distinction of being perhaps the best Marvel Comic book film outside of the Marvel Studio system.
Simple premise. Wade Wilson (Reynolds) is a mercenary committed to doing one thing: kill Francis (Ed Skrein). Francis was head of a team that offered Wilson a Faustian bargain. He was to get super human abilities that would cure his cancer … unfortunately they came with a cost. Scarred and seemingly immortal, Wilson makes his life’s mission to track down Francis and end him. When Francis winds up kidnapping Wilson’s girlfriend (Morena Baccarin) it becomes personal.
But it’s not the film’s plot that demands attention nor drives its quality. It’s Reynolds being given seemingly free reign to uncork upon the screen with the sort of comedic performance we’ve been waiting for from the actor. He’s brilliantly funny in a film that deserves it for once. Reynolds is on point as this was the character he was born to play. Deadpool is an eccentric, over the top character that violates all of the usual comic book tropes for heroes and Reynolds (even under a mask for the most part) brings something special to the character. This is Iron Man; it’s hard to imagine anyone else but Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark in the same way it’s hard to see anyone else as Wade Wilson after this.
The film’s main problem, if you can call it that, is twofold. The first is that the plot is incredibly scattershot. It can be hard to keep track of as it bounces all over the place. It’s by design, to keep up with the comic book, but it leaves a fairly thin plot exposed significantly. Reynolds keys it together, of course, but the film suffers because it’s a patchwork of a lightweight story with a gimmicked storytelling manner.
The other is that there isn’t a strong villain for Reynolds to play off of. It seems to be a trait of all Marvel films to start off with weak villains in their first films, it seems, and Ed Skrein’s Ajax/Francis is an interesting villain but doesn’t have much depth to him. This is the Deadpool show, nothing more, and this is a film that needs a big villain to play off of Reynolds’ big personality. It doesn’t have it and the film suffers from it.
Deadpool isn’t a brilliant film … but it’s a damn good one.
Director: Tim Miller Writer(s): Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick based off the Marvel Comics character of the same name Notable Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, T.J. Miller, Gina Carano, Leslie Uggams, Brianna Hildebrand, Stefan Kapicic