From the very opening of Deadpool, with its joke-filled titles (“Starring God’s Perfect Idiot”; “Directed by an overpaid tool”) set to Juice Newton’s Angel of the Morning, I knew I was in for a very special treat. Ryan Reynolds, whose previous misbegotten superhero film, Green Lantern, is already a bad memory, redeems himself here as the titular character, a mercenary with superpowers who’s better known for his smart mouth than anything else. I’ve never read the comics, but Deadpool was well known for breaking the fourth wall and speaking directly to the reader, which is something that Reynolds’ version does in the film with the movie viewer to great effect.
It should be noted that Reynolds had played Deadpool once before, in another really bad superhero film called X-Men Origins: Wolverine (which was so bad it almost makes Green Lantern look good in comparison…almost). But Reynolds’ part in that film amounted to little more than a glorified cameo, and the Wolverine filmmakers didn’t have a very good grasp on who Deadpool really was–where first time director Tim Miller and writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick so faithfully recapture the essence of this irrelevant character with such fun that it makes their movie a sheer joy to watch.
Another reason Deadpool is so enjoyable is the fact that it’s rated R. Deadpool, along with everybody else in the movie, curses like a sailor, and it works so well you wonder why they didn’t do this sooner (technically, this isn’t the first R-rated superhero movie; that would be Blade, released in 1998–interestingly, Reynolds would later co-star in Blade Trinity, the second sequel). An R-rated superhero film was the next logical step at this rate, and Deadpool’s gritty world, along with his snarky, dark sense of humor, practically demanded the rating.
Reynolds is fantastic here, easily knocking it out of the ballpark. Morena Baccarin, best known from Firefly and Homeland, is perfect as the love interest. Carla Carano (Haywire) is a stand out as Angel Dust, an intimidating enforcer for the main villain. Brianna Hildebrand also stands out as Negasonic Teenage Warhead, the “moody teen” from the credits, and Stefan Kapicic provides the voice for Colossus, a CG-rendered hero from the X-Men who keeps trying to recruit Deadpool. I was very pleased to see this film was a smash hit, guaranteeing more off-kilter adventures of this extremely funny and very likeable hero. –SF