When a superhero film is rated R, you know you’re in for quite a ride. For the past decade, Marvel and DC have churned out their products with the PG-13 rating firmly stamped on them. This is to ensure that parents will take their kids to the theater, thus spending more and feeding the Hollywood blockbuster machine a little more every couple of months. The new Marvel action spectacle Deadpool shifts this way of marketing in a way never seen before. Rated R, it is a violent, profane, and occasionally sexual rollercoaster ride that will leave audiences breathless, ADULT audiences. Yes, Deadpool is a superhero/crimefighter but he is not your friendly neighborhood superhero. Created by Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza and played brilliantly by Ryan Reynolds, he is an antihero who, with a bizarre yet thoroughly enjoyable sense of humor, will slice and shoot his way throughout the film’s brisk 108-minute runtime and will leave you with a big grin well after the end credits.
Deadpool focuses on Wade Wilson, a role which seems to have been tailor-made for Ryan Reynolds. Wilson is a sarcastic mercenary who gets paid to protect teenage girls from evil stalkers. He is a pure antihero and his talents are noticed by a shadowy organization that experiments using mutation. When Wilson is told he has terminal cancer, he agrees to undergo an experiment to possibly rid him of the cancer. The experiment works but it leaves Wilson with a disfigured face and body and the ability to regenerate, basically rendering him immortal. The rest of the film follows Wilson as he hunts down the man responsible for disfiguring him, Francis Freeman a.k.a. Ajax (Ed Skrein). He does get a little help from best friend Weasel (a hilarious T.J. Miller), X-Men Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand), and love interest Vanessa Carlysle (Morena Baccarin).
Ryan Reynolds steals the show, through and through. He IS Deapool and his comedic timing, delivery, and physicality propel this movie to great heights. The funny thing is that the character of Deadpool was played by Reynolds back in 2009 in the Marvel dud X-Men Origins: Wolverine and the plot and presentation of the character were somewhat different from we’ve come to see here. There are humorous mentions of that atrocious film and Ryan thoroughly acknowledges that. The rest of the cast here is quite good but most of the praise has to go to T.J. Miller as the dry, wise kicking best friend who just can’t get over Wade’s disfigured face.
Now with a talented cast, solid action, and visual effects, the best thing about Deadpool is the self-referential humor and the occasional breaking of “the fourth wall”. Wade knows he’s in a movie there are moments where the action is slowed down and we get a sort of Zack Morris in Saved by the Bell time pause where Wade comments on the situation and addresses the audience directly. This unique element coupled by the insanely good dialogue by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick and Tim Miller’s sublime direction are what make Deadpool one of the best films of 2016 so far. This is a “superhero” film that doesn’t care who it offends and Reynolds has firmly cemented himself in the role and given adult audiences a fun movie that will continue to surprise with every viewing.