‘Deadpool’ delivers


Joe Lederer

DEADPOOL Ryan Reynolds is Marvel Comics’ most unconventional anti-hero, DEADPOOL. Photo Credit: Joe Lederer TM & © 2015 Marvel & Subs.  TM and © 2015 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.  All rights reserved.  Not for sale or duplication.

After years of trying without success, Ryan Reynolds has finally brought to screen the beloved Marvel character Deadpool in his intended form: violent, vulgar and funny. This isn’t the first time Reynolds has portrayed the character on screen; he first played the Merc with a Mouth in the 2009 film “X-Men Origins – Wolverine,” except without the mouth. The character was radically different from his comic book manifestation, upsetting many fans; but Reynolds has put their complaints to rest in this new R-rated film, true to the character’s source material.

Wade Wilson is a dishonorably discharged veteran with over 40 confirmed kills. He makes a living as a mercenary in the streets of New York City. After threatening a teenage stalker in one scene, Wilson refuses to be paid, showing that he works for good, despite his less than reputable methods. Wade meets Vanessa Carlysle, played by Morena Baccarin, at the bar where he finds work. They fall in love, and soon after, he discovers that he has terminal cancer. He goes to a mysterious doctor who offers to cure him and ends up with a massively scarred face and the mutant ability to regenerate.

“Deadpool” is not the typical superhero film. While it has all of the necessary ingredients, including an origin story and a love interest, it goes where no superhero film has gone before. Deadpool uses guns and two swords to violently dispatch one of his enemies, and almost all of his quips (and there are a lot) are dark and raunchy. It is definitely not for children.

Deadpool’s most interesting ability is not that he can regenerate, but that he can break the fourth wall. In other words, he knows that he is a character in this film and often speaks directly to the audience. This is where the film does its best work, often poking fun at the superhero film formula and the superhero film franchise itself. When speaking with two other Marvel Universe characters, Deadpool asks why they are the only two that he sees and guesses that “the studio” couldn’t afford another character. It speaks to the irony of a largely connected superhero universe that is divided by corporate ownership of characters, but mostly it makes audiences laugh at his self-awareness.

With the recent spate of superhero movies, “Deadpool” was a breath of fresh air from the typical formula. The hero gains his or her powers, falls in love and encounters a villain who threatens to harm the hero’s loved ones. “Deadpool” lacked none of these things, but it arranged them in a manner that was fresh, weaving back and forth between his current mission and his origin for the first half of the film.

Origin stories become dull fast after watching four or five superhero films, but this film was able to fight that pattern. The film is the most entertaining after the origin concludes. The costume is donned for the rest of the time, and the jokes and action roll on continuously without hindrance. Given the character’s personality, this was the best Deadpool film that could have been made, but not necessarily the best film that could have been made.

After two hours, the dirty jokes and killing began to wear thin; but despite the overt silliness, I still felt moved by the film’s more serious moments, but only slightly. The film is not meant to teach anybody anything, besides that looks aren’t everything.

Rather, it’s meant to give a larger stage than the character has ever had, and it does well in that regard. But maybe, if you look closer, it does have a greater meaning. Just because a film has superheroes doesn’t mean it’s for children.

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