This review contains mild spoilers.
This past Thursday I did something I rarely do–I went to see a blockbuster film on opening night. I honestly would rather go see films like this a little later on when I don’t have to deal with crowds and whatnot, but for this one I just couldn’t help it. I had to see the 20th Century Fox’s latest X-Men installment, Deadpool. It didn’t help that it was my best friend’s birthday and Deadpool just happens to be his favorite comic book character. I have to say, though, that it was totally worth it–for two reasons. First, the smile on my friend’s face, and second, the movie is a solid 5/5 and one of the best adaptations I have ever seen.
A quick run down of plot: Deadpool/Wade Wilson (played by Ryan Reynolds) is on a revenge-fueled rampage in this, the character’s origin story. The film kicks off with our “hero” laying waste to a group of vehicles full of mercenaries led by Ajax/Francis (Ed Skrein). Deadpool, of course, wins the fight and has Ajax at his mercy when Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) intervene. Deadpool and Ajax both leave Colossus in the dust as they flee the scene in different directions. During the opening fight and while Deadpool is getting away he flashes back to what led him to this point. We see Wade Wilson doing odd mercenary jobs, interacting with his friend Weasel (TJ Miller) and falling in love with Vanessa (Morena Baccarin). After proposing, Wade learns that full-body cancer is well on its way to killing him.
After an encounter with a shadowy man-in-black (“Agent Smith” to Wilson) he decides to enlist in a cloak-and-dagger program that might be able to save his life. This is where he meets (a euphemism for “gets tortured by”) Ajax and his assistant Angel Dust (Gina Carano). Through a series of gruesome experiments he has his mutant powers unlocked, and after presumably months of torture he finds he is able to heal from pretty much anything, but his face and body are disfigured as his healing factor interacts with the cancer in a grotesque way. This, understandably, provokes him into a hate-fueled revenge rampage as he hunts down Ajax in hopes that he can reverse or fix the damage to his face and body.
The plot of this movie is your generic hero origin plot, even including the kidnapping of the hero’s love interest. The reason this movie is so good is that the writing team (Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick) have perfectly captured the character, and Reynolds has flawlessly brought that character to live-action life. There honestly is no other person on this planet that could ramble non stop for 108 minutes and hold your attention every step of the way. This movie, of course, had more than earned its R rating even before it went into production–the Merc with the Mouth needed to be uncensored, and the fact that Fox okayed such a move makes this the most unhinged, beautifully executed piece of superhero-comedy insanity in recent memory. Seriously, I can’t emphasize enough how well this movie showcased its title character. Every little piece of Deadpool mythology was in here, and the 4th wall breaks were especially satisfying and hilarious.
The addition of Colossus to the film’s lineup made my day as Colossus is my favorite X-Man. This is the first time I have seen him portrayed in any way that gave the character justice. He was gigantic, Russian, and a gentle giant, just as he is in the comics. The most satisfying moment in the movie for me was seeing him toss Deadpool about and stand there as Deadpool breaks his arms and leg trying to hit him, followed closely by Negasonic Teenage Warhead, Colossus’s student, appear in the comic-accurate yellow and black uniform. Finally, we have X-Men who look like X-Men. I was also presently surprised by the fact that Colossus is in a good chunk of the movie and even has a one-on-one fight with Angel Dust.
The director, Tim Miller, did an amazing job with this movie. I honestly hope he does more work with Fox on future X- Universe properties beyond Deadpool because, like I said, here we finally have X-Men who look and feel like X-Men. He did a better job in one movie that didn’t focus on the X – Men then Bryan Singer has done in five real X-Men films, and Singer would do well to take note. I also understand that, according to producer Simon Kinberg, Deadpool is supposed to be a part of Fox’s shared X-Men franchise world, but I honestly don’t see how it fits. None of the X-Men stuff here looks like any of Singer’s work, thankfully.
This movie is easily 5/5 and a breath of fresh air in the superhero world. It is as funny as it is violent and as awesome as it is accurate to the character. Thank you, Fox, for finally putting out a film that properly adapts the X-Men source material.