The comic book movie boom is at the height of its popularity right now. Comic book (especially superhero) films are consistently grossing hundreds of millions of dollars apiece. 2016 already has six comic book films slated for this year. Many moviegoers are starting to feel sick and tired of this style of movie, which they feel has no variety and always follows the same formula. Enter Deadpool, a film about a violent and profane mercenary who knows that he’s a comic book character who’s staring in a movie about himself. Is that unique enough for you?
The film follows the exploits of foul-mouthed mercenary Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds), as he seeks revenge against the man who cursed him with nigh-immortality and a gruesome face. Meanwhile, you follow ex-special forces operative Wade Wilson (Ryan Reanolds), who falls in love with his perfect match Vanessa, (Morena Baccarin), and is faced with an impossible choice between facing a deadly disease, and signing up for illegal experimentation that may save his life.
Does that plot sound over-simplistic? Maybe a little cliché? Well the film thinks so too. Deadpool himself frequently clues the audience in to exactly what kind of film they are watching. The character of Deadpool—like his comic book counter-part—has the ability to break the fourth wall. He knows he has an audience and a film with multiple genres. He also knows pretty much everything about the comic-book film industry, the X-Men film universe he’s in, and everything the audience may or may not know about his character.
The back-story scenes featuring Wade Wilson, Vanessa and Miracle-drug administrator Ajax (Ed Skrein), are well acted and engaging, but brief and somewhat dull compared to the scenes involving Deadpool’s quest to find Ajax, no matter how many people he has to brutally murder to accomplish his goal. The plot to Deadpool is better executed than it needs to be, but it’s not the main reason you watch Deadpool. The story is shallow, and there really aren’t any 3-dimensional charters not named Wade Wilson and Vanessa.
In sum, this is film not really for film critics (objectively speaking, it’s not very good). Make no mistake, however: Deadpool is a must-watch. For starters, Deadpool is a summer blockbuster hiding in the slow film-month of February; it features beautifully choreographed and exciting action/carnage. It’s a true popcorn movie. The myriad of other reasons not to miss the film are somewhat hard to define. Well, you can define them, but good luck noticing most of them consciously.
Deadpool flows at a good pace and is loaded with so many gags and in-jokes that fans of the film (and hard-core fans of the Deadpool comics) are still finding all of them. The film gets away with having a meager plot and several under-developed characters because the movie as whole is just flat-out fun. This film was made not for most film critics, but for fans of the wacky comic book and people who just like having a good time at the movies. That being said, the film could plausibly be seen as perfect. All of the film’s objective flaws are completely intentional by the filmmakers, as a noble sacrifice to the real reasons to watch: the fun, the action, the humor and the pitch-perfect performance by Ryan Reynolds.
No other actor could play this character, and no other actor should. Reynolds expertly portrays Deadpool’s amorality and psychotic nature, but makes the character so likeable you can’t help but root for him. Also, the plot is thin but executed in such a way that it feels fresh. Plus, even the under-developed side characters are really fun. The point is that even on the objective level, the film almost holds up. On the subjective level, there’s no other film now playing (besides maybe Star Wars) that offers the pure entertainment and fun you will get from watching Deadpool.