a critiQal film review Deadpool (2016)

Plot: Former Special Forces operative turned mercenary Wade Wilson (Reynolds), after being subjected to a rogue experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers, adopts the alter ego Deadpool. Armed with his new abilities and a dark, twisted sense of humor, Deadpool hunts down the man who nearly destroyed his life.

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Ryan Reynolds, who portrayed a nearly unrecognizable version of the character in X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), returned to try to do right by fans with Deadpool. Judging by the response at the box office, his return to the character was a resounding success. Having wanted to see the film but never getting around to it, we couldn’t wait to get our hands on it now that it’s on Digital HD and DVD. Would Ryan Reynolds return to the “merc with a mouth” be as much fun as people have been saying? Or would we be disappointed yet again?

Deadpool has been Ryan Reynolds pet project for a bit, and it shows. While he’s not quite as good without the mask, once he dons the spandex, he’s spot on. Hilarious, physical and just plain kooky, this is the character that finally lets Reynolds have free reign, and he proves over and over again why that’s a good thing. It’s the character he was born to play, and viewers will be clamoring for more even as the credits roll – and the post credits sequence, which pays homage to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986), just won’t be enough.

Ryan isn’t alone in the film either. Morena Baccarin, as Wade’s love interest, does a good job, but is mainly here, as most damsels in distress usually are, as eye candy. And yet, the sequences between her and Wade when he’s diagnosed with a terminal disease are poignant and sweet – a big surprise in a crass film like Deadpool. Ed Skrein (The Transporter Refueled (2015)) isn’t that exciting as the bad guy, but he’s not bad either. Brianna Hildebrand, portraying Negasonic Teenage Warhead, gets a few brief moments in the sun, as do Gina Carano (as a muscle-bound villain), TJ Miller (as a friend) and Leslie Uggams (as a blind, patient, roomie).

Unlike many other superhero films, Reynolds’ Deadpool manages to be the whole show all by himself. Breaking the fourth wall and running his mouth nonstop, he’s as fun to watch as expected, and the movie keeps it’s focus on him. While the plot does fall along the lines of a typical origin story, Deadpool’s irreverent wit and obvious glee as he delivers mayhem and destruction (all while knowing he’s being watched by an audience, and preening at that fact) manages to deliver a solid antihero film even while poking fun at the superhero genre. Deadpool never takes itself too seriously, and viewers will enjoy the refreshing attitude adjustment.

Stylized violence is the name of the game in Deadpool, from the crazy opening sequence (set to the soothing sounds of Juice Newton’s “Angel of the Morning”) all the way through the over-the-top battleship-toppling finale, the action is fast, furious, and sheer, utterly enjoyable, mayhem. The gore isn’t quite as over-the-top as expected, but there’s enough to get viewers to realize Deadpool’s healing powers are just a bit stronger than what they are used to.

Full of pop-culture references, oftentimes crude, and full of zany mayhem, Ryan Reynolds has returned to the character he nearly destroyed in X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), pulled out all the stops, and created a character viewers just won’t be able to get enough of. Deadpool is a hilarious, violent, irreverent take on an antihero, hopefully paving the way for more offbeat comic book characters to be themselves in future films. Check it out today, and see the role Reynolds was born to play, done right.

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