If you read reviews from other outlets, you’re going to read that Deadpool, the long-gestating, hard-as-fuck R-rated superhero flick that attempts to make up for bad-touching the character in the atrocious first Wolverine, is a flawed film. That it’s uneven, that its plot is thin and its characters underdeveloped, that its humor is needlessly crude, and that some of its flashback sequences (of which there are many) grind the movie to a halt. You’re going to read those comments, and you’re going to feel disappointed and probably feel hesitant to see the film.
Fuck those people, and fuck your feelings.
Go fucking see Deadpool.
R-rated superhero films are few and far between, because they’re too risky, box office-wise. Look at the failure rates of the Punisher movies (although most of those are garbage except for the better-than-average War Zone and if you talk about that Thomas Jane version I will pull your asshole through your ear) for the perfect examples. But there is a time and place for them — see Joe Starr’s excellent breakdown of the mostly-stellar Blade franchise for another great example. We can now add Deadpool to that list, and it’s for similar reasons — first-time director Tim Miller, along with screenwriters Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese (who previously collaborated on the sublime Zombieland) simply took the heart and soul of the character, brought in a suitably enjoyable group of characters and rogues, and abandoned any semblance of restraint. And the result, my friends, is goddamn glorious.
Deadpool, for those who haven’t gleaned it yet, tosses out the origin from the Wolverine film and rewrites history. Wade Wilson is once again played — superbly — by Ryan Reynolds as a wise-cracking, pain-in-the-ass tough guy who fucks people up for money. He meets a hooker with a heart of gold, Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), falls in love, and then life kicks him in the balls by giving him cancer. In an effort to beat his disease, he signs up for a super soldier program that turns out to be shockingly cruel and nefarious, becomes hideously disfigured (“you look like an avocado that had sex with an older, uglier avocado” says sidekick/friend Weasel, played with a hysterical dryness by TJ Miller), goes pretty much insane (to the point where he repeatedly breaks the fourth wall and speaks directly to the camera), but also becomes essentially unkillable. He takes on the name Deadpool, and seeks out the people who did this to him to exact revenge.
It’s not exactly Sense and Sensibility. It’s bloody, gory, spectacularly violent, and generally goddamn hilarious. It’s a breathlessly paced hour and forty-seven minutes consisting of little more than high-speed, terrifically choreographed hyper-violence, peppered with a nonstop stream of supremely profane humor. Sprinkled in are flashbacks that bring us up to speed on Deadpool’s origins, including perhaps the most fantastic sex montage ever, between Reynolds and Baccarin wherein they celebrate every holiday in exquisitely funny and filthy dirty fashion (Happy Women’s Day is a particular treat).
The cast is pretty much perfect with no one doing any serious dramatic lifting and everyone just along for the ride, breezily goofing their way through a script that allows for more comedy than anything else. Ed Skrein and Gina Carano get to chew scenery with glowering vigor as the super-powered antagonists (it’s the perfect role for Carano — limited dialogue, lots of ass-kicking). Baccarin’s is actually a surprisingly solid and reasonably deep character as Wilson’s love interest. The appearance of two random X-Men, Colossus (mo-capped by Andre Ticotin with voicework by Stefan Kapičić) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (cleverly named after a Monster Magnet song and played with wonderfully disaffected wryness by Brianna Hildebrand) rounds things out, as they try to repeatedly convince Deadpool to go on the straight and narrow and join the X-Men. But everyone is just gleefully along for the ride, swearing and fighting and fucking their way through the movie as if box office receipts don’t mean a damn.
It’s the exact right way to make a Deadpool movie, and it just feels right. Does it have flaws? Sure it does. Does that really matter, or in any way, shape or form affect your enjoyment? Not in the least. Deadpool exists for those who like their antiheroes dark, their action fast and brutal, and their humor razor-sharp and occasionally toilet-flushably crude. It’s just straight-up fun, the most genuine fun I’ve had in the theater so far this year. There’s a breakneck, don’t-give-a-fuck joyousness to the film that perfectly encapsulates everything about the character, and is a welcome break from the dour seriousness of most of the Marvel and DC franchises. The world isn’t at stake here. The galaxy isn’t under attack. It’s just a boy and a girl, and a shitload of blood, guts, and dick jokes.
Everything you could ever want or need for Valentine’s Day.