Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Review of Deadpool

Like its comic book character, the movie version of Deadpool is like a cockroach that just refused to die.  The movie version of Deadpool first showed up in X-Men Origins: Wolverine where the character ended up with it’s mouth sewn shut and it’s head chopped off.

However using the Days of Future Past reset, director Tim Miller with writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick totally ignore the version in X-Men Origins and created a version far similar to the character’s comic book origin. As the box office shows, it worked! With a total gross of over US$600 million worldwide, Deadpool is a huge gamble that had paid off handsomely for 20th Century Fox.

Reprising his role in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, actor Ryan Reynolds is Wade Wilson. A former Special Forces operator who now works as a mercenary in New York City, Wade meets escort Vanessa Carlysle (Morena Baccarin) at a local bar and they become romantically attached. One year later, Wade proposes to her and she accepts. However Wade is diagnosed with terminal cancer and though Vanessa chose remains by his side, he does not want her to watch him die and enter a secret program that offers a possible cure for his cancer.

At a laboratory, Wade met Ajax (Ed Skrein) and Angel Dust (Gina Carano) and discover the program he signed up for was an experimental one where they try to awaken the latent mutant genes within the subjects. To do this, the subjects are subjected to days of torture to induce stress and to trigger the mutation. Ajax also reveals to Wade their true purpose: to make super-powered slaves to be sold to wealthy customers.

After horrendous torture, Wade develops a healing factor that cures his cancer but also leaves him severely disfigured as a side-effect. He escapes and attacks Ajax but hesitated when told that his disfigurement can be cured. Using the moment of hesitation, Ajax manages to defeat Wade and impales him with a bar. He then leaves Wade for dead in the burning laboratory.

Of course, Wade survived and after consulting his best friend Weasel (T.J. Millar), Wade decides to hunt down Ajax and have his disfigurement cured. He becomes a masked vigilante and takes the name of (you guess it) "Deadpool". His confrontation with Ajax leads to a huge battle along an expressway which got the attention of two X-Men, Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead.

Ajax escape from Deadpool and goes on the counterattack. He goes to Weasel's bar with Angel and learns about Vanessa. In response, Weasel calls Wade and tells him Vanessa is in danger but they were too late. Ajax and Angel kidnapped Vanessa and Deadpool is forced to enlist Colossus and Negasonic to help him rescue her.

As I said earlier, Deadpool was a huge gamble. One of the reasons it was considered a gamble was the simple fact that it was an R-rated superhero comic book adaption. There’s just not many of those around. Luckily the brutal combat and foul-mouth antics gives the film a crazy energy that fits the character to a T and film-goers are lapping it up.

A lot of the credit has to go to Ryan Reynolds. I will admit I’m not a big fan of the actor. His CV has far more misses than hits and I never understood why he’s considered a big movie star. Deadpool makes me “get it”. I finally understand why people in Hollywood like him so much. His performance here proves to me he can be great if given the right role and this, Deadpool, was a role he was born to do. His winking while breaking the fourth wall was especially effective.

The movie was also gleefully irrelevant. It doesn’t take itself seriously and it more interested in creating a fun movie. That it does manage. Deadpool is fast, funny, and mercilessly not family-friendly. The encouragement Deadpool gave his Indian taxi-driver was hilarious, totally unkid-friendly and has some of the best scenes in the movie.

Of course, the movie is not perfect. For a movie that’s so wonderfully non-standard, the ending was very much so. A damsel-in-distress, a tortured hero, and a happy ending; been there and done that. It just doesn’t gel with the rest of the movie.

Also, I never felt there was any danger to Deadpool. Ajax and Angel were just not creditable threats to a guy who can regenerate a hand that’s been chopped off. This is one movie that required a bigger badder villain than what was on offer. On the power meter, Ajax and Angel just weren’t on the level of Deadpool and that was a problem.

However, I would still recommend the movie. The movie is a breath of fresh air much like Guardians of the Galaxy, and I think that’s a good thing for the superhero genre. Deadpool is very much a black comedy and one that works. Come on Cable!

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