Made in: USA
Language: English
Director: Tim Miller
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, Stefan Kapicic (voice), Brianna Hildebrand, Gina Carano, T.J. Miller, Jed Rees, Karan Soni
Year: 2016

Synopsis: Wise-cracking Wade Williams (Ryan Reynolds) is a former special ops veteran. But after a dishonorable discharge, he now makes a living as a mercenary roaming the seedy underworld amongst fellow hired guns. He lives a life of violence and cynicism, but deep down he's got a sense of justice and tries to help the "little guy."

One day, he finally meets the beautiful Vanessa Carlysle (Morena Baccarin), an escort with a past as troubled as his own. But a year later, just as he's about to proposer to her, Wade discovers he has terminal cancer.

As he's about to accept his impending demise, Wade comes across a mysterious recruiter (Jed Rees) who offers him an opportunity to be cured. Highly suspicious, Wade eventually accepts the offer only for the sake of his beloved Vanessa.

He's brought to a secret, dungeon-like laboratory, where he meets the sinister Ajax (Ed Skrein) and Angel Dust (Gina Carano). But Ajax turns out to be a mad international terrorist! And the procedure that's designed to "cure" Wade is actually meant to him into genetically enhanced mutant. And from there, Wade is to be forced into service as a human weapon to carry out Ajax's evil plans.

After becoming physically disfigured but gaining the power of accelerated healing, Wade manages to escape the lab and destroy it in the process. However, Ajax and Angel Dust escape.

While trying to locate Ajax, Wade dons a mask and fancy costume, then takes the name Deadpool. A violent, profanity-laced adventure ensues as Deadpool works tirelessly to exact revenge. Along the way, he is met by X-Men superheroes Colossus (voiced by Stefan Kapicic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand), who try in vain to encourage Wade to become a "proper" superhero.

When Ajax manages to kidnap Vanessa, Deadpool's deadly antics kick into overdrive as the story reaches its loud and messy climax.

The Good: Ryan Reynolds is excellent as Deadpool, and as fans will remember, he is reprising the role after first playing the character in the dismal X-Men Origins movie from 2009 (see clip below)

He runs his mouth just as promised, and does a great job bringing the crazy comic book anti-hero to life. One of the movie's biggest strengths is a backstory that's compelling without being drawn out.

The rest of the actors are solid as well, and despite the many wisecracks and quick jokes, there are a few genuinely emotional moments that give the characters some more depth.

The story is clear and straightforward, and despite the mayhem-filled action set pieces, the movie fortunately stays on track without getting carried away with itself.

The stunts and action are slick and creative, with Ryan Reynolds serving up plenty of quick one-liners and raunchy analogies. Many of the self-referential jokes are smart (with plenty of playful jabs at Hugh Jackman), and the signature "breaking of the 4th Wall" is well-done without being overused.

Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead of the X-Men provide enough balance to Deadpool's insanity, and their back-and-forth is pretty entertaining. 

The Bad: Although the clever self-referential jokes and breaking of the 4th wall does justice to the character as seen in the comics, it's a strategy (or gimmick) that's already familiar amongst today's action movie and comedy fans. The references to action movie and Hollywood cliches are smart and probably accurate, but then Deadpool goes on and shamelessly participates in them anyway. 

Maybe that's the point, but I was expecting some sort of twist on the genre. In the end, however, it's all pretty predictable.

Also, following the release of Netflix's Daredevil and Jessica Jones, the gritty or R-rated superhero story seems more trendy than groundbreaking. 

Who would like this movie: This one is clearly for fans of the Deadpool character, pop culture, and of course, those familiar with Marvel comics. The story is well structured from a narrative standpoint, there are some creative moments. The characters are reasonably well-developed, and likeable. Ryan Reynolds does a great job bringing the foul-mouthed protagonist to life, definitely says some funny stuff, and is perfectly suited for the role. 

Interestingly, a good number of jokes seem directed towards old farts my age (who grew up in the 70s & 80s), and may be lost on the movie's intended demographic.  

The violence is unsurprisingly graphic and cartoonish, but at times the gross-out factor (both visually and verbally) seemed a little too self conscious.

And overall, the story, although focused and coherent, is pretty formulaic. Hopefully a sequel will be more daring.

3 out of 4 stars

Review written by: Joe Yang

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