The great thing about the Marvel universe is that it is big enough to hold all kinds. And by “all kinds” I mean Deadpool: a completely self-aware, self-referential, wisecracking, sexy, sarcastic bit of tough. Where Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man broke open Marvel for a younger and broader audience, and Iron Man and Wolverine provided some amount of sarcasm and one-liners, Deadpool is definitely fare for the adult crowd. From very first frames you know you are in for something different…
Ryan Reynolds (Self/less) was a perfect pick for a trash-talking super hero, and allowed him to redeem his past mistakes such as Green Lantern both by example and in dialogue. Zombieland writers Reese and Wernick took to shattering the fourth wall cinematicly and in commentary with their script. In fact, it is so densely layered with jokes, I know I’ll need to see it again to catch everything.
Matching him twist for kink in the love interest role is Morena Baccarin (Firefly; I’m aware she’s done a lot more, but this is still my favorite other role of hers). The two work both their hormones and comedy perfectly together.
Coming at them, Ed Skrein (Game of Thrones) and Gina Carano (Haywire) make a fun duo. Skrein has the charisma and poise, if not exactly the lines, to be the villain. It is a tough role when the hero is stealing the screen every other second. Carano was simply good muscle for this film… but that is her purpose, so I’m not going to fault her for any lack of acting here.
In two great, smaller roles TJ Miller (Silicon Valley) as Weasel was fun, but it was Leslie Uggams that caught me way off guard. She totally went for the character, shattering all views of her I’ve ever had.
I have to admit, despite rating this very highly, the movie was both more and less than I hoped for. More, in that they really took to the edges of what was possible to get the studio to agree to story-wise, which was fabulous. I’d have liked more, but was impressed with what was there.
The bit less was more on the production side. As a first time out for director Miller, this is a heck of an achievement. His sense of timing and flow has a bit to go, but he really embraced the silly and dark fun that is our hero in red. It was a risky thing to do, but it is clearly paying off in ways other similarly sensibility films like Kick-Ass, and Scott Pilgrim never really did. Additionally, the sound mixing was really poor at times. Lots of muffled lines (and I wasn’t the only one to say so, so I don’t think it was my ears).
But these gaps didn’t detract from the rollicking good time this film is. Don’t bring the kids (really, don’t, unless you want to have some challenging conversations later that day), but do bring a date or a good friend. This is the cure for all the super-clean super-hero films that have been coming out. They’re fun, sure, but you can’t eat vanilla all the time!