Ryan Reynolds Returns As Deadpool
Deadpool says he's not a hero, and he may be right for the most part. In the film that bears his name, Ryan Reynolds stars as the title character, a mercenary whose real name is Wade Wilson. When not on assignment, he makes New York home, and frequents a bar where his friend and weapons supplier Weasel (T. J. Miller) serves as the bartender. The other mercenaries come there, too, as do their groupies, such as Venessa Carlyle (Morena Baccarin). As much as Wade loves to run his mouth and dispatch his assignments, he loves Vanessa. Complications arise, though, as he prepares to propose to her. He collapses, and learns he has a cancer that will kill him shortly. While talking about his prognosis with Weasel, a man approaches Wade with a claim of a cure. He takes up that offer, leaves Vanessa, and goes to a secret lab where Ajax (Ed Skrein) and Angel Dust (Gina Carano) put him through many rigors and inject him with the serum that's supposed to eliminate the cancer. When Wade makes fun of Ajax when he learns of Ajax's real name, Ajax puts him in a chamber with a limited oxygen supply. During that process, Wade gets the strength that cures his cancer, as well as an ability to heal any wound.
The treatments, however, have left Wade disfigured, and unwilling to return to Vanessa. He shares an apartment with Blind Al (Leslie Uggams), an elderly sightless woman who offers him a dwelling. In their last meeting, Ajax indicated he had a way to cure Deadpool's disfigurement. Wade wants that cure, and wants Ajax to give him that cure. Ajax, though, has a different approach - and Deadpool knows that Ajax's agenda includes building a mercenary army which Deadpool will not join. Therefore, Ajax has ordered his troops to kill Deadpool. They fail, and lead to a showdown between Deadpool and Ajax that gets interrupted by Colussus (Stefan Kapicic), a member of the X-Men who wants Deadpool to join their ranks. With him is Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand), who like Colussus, lives at the Charles Xavier institute. The interruption allows Ajax to escape, and soon kidnap Vanessa, who now works at a strip club. Ajax and Angel Dust set up a showdown with Deadpool at a scrap yard, and Deadpool doesn't come alone.
Deadpool marks a departure from the usual fare of Marvel action films, but Reynolds's smart-alecky fighter and Spider-Man ripoff costume left me very unimpressed. Deadpool also fills itself with all sorts of pop culture references, from Wham to Hello Kitty to Ferris Bueller's Day Off. As I watched Deadpool, I wondered how quickly the pop culture that Deadpool embraces will seem dated to future generations of movie viewers. The movie glorifies the violent nature of the man, especially in an early sequence as Deadpool does a henchman killing countdown as if it were some warped version of American Top 40. For a guy who says he's not a hero (and does very little in the way of heroic deeds), he certainly revels in his ability to eliminate any threat. Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick certainly have written interesting supporting characters, but forgot to do the same for the lead. Tim Miller gives viewers a fast-paced film in his feature debut - and in less time than the more recent successful films of the Marvel franchise. The brevity came as a relief to me.
I've seen Reynolds's Deadpool act done before - and much better. Reynolds, to me, is the poor man's Bruce Willis. On the big screen, Willis has been the wise-cracking New York cop John McClane, who always has the last word with the bad guys. On the small screen, he was the wise-cracking private detective David Addison on Moonlighting. These characters have an appeal Deadpool does not. In the moments where Deadpool breaks the fourth wall, as Addison did many times, I was hoping to find a brick mason in the audience. For someone like Deadpool, who thinks highly of himself, I was especially irritated with the self-pity he displayed when he was cured, but scarred. Reynolds, who first played an unmasked Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, gets outshined with every interaction by the supporting cast. Baccarin does a fine job as Vanessa, who accepts the dark side of life - and Deadpool as well. Miller adds solid support as Weasel, who helps Deadpool with certain aspects of his missions, and ultimately gets him on the right track, so to speak. Kapicic is funny as the metallic Colossus, who wants Deadpool to watch his language and is apparently oblivious to Deadpool's encounter with Wolverine. Hildebrand also has fun as a girl who lets her actions do the talking, and gets bored by actual talking. Skrein and Carano are enjoyable as a sadistic duo who try to keep their agenda secret from their recruits. Uggams has a way of putting Deadpool in his place with her perceptions of the man.
I like that Deadpool takes the Marvel Cinematic Universe in a different direction and doesn't take the film to epic lengths. My biggest complaint about the film is Deadpool himself. He has about as much appeal to me as the pop culture he embraces. The best thing about his costume, in addition to covering his face, is that he can't kiss himself in the mirror. Mirror makers everywhere should be relieved.
On a scale of zero to four stars, I give Deadpool two stars. A Deadpool with dead weight.