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USA 2016
Directed by
Tim Miller
108 minutes
Rated MA

Reviewed by
Andrew Lee
4 stars


Synopsis: Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) is a mercenary with a heart of gold, ...well, of pyrite maybe . When he discovers he has cancer, he submits to an experimental procedure that mutates him into a super-soldier, and makes him fugly in the process. Pissed off, he hunts down the man responsible in the hope he can get his old looks back.

Opening with a credits sequence that calls out every cliché of the superhero genre, plus a bunch of in-jokes at the expense of the star and the filmmakers, the tone is pretty well set that what you’re about to see is going to be thoroughly conventional, but funny. And so it is.

Deadpool, plotwise, is pretty much a by-the-numbers origin story but there’s method to the mundanity, as the filmmakers proceed to skewer (in the case of at least one hapless villain, literally) many of the tropes of the genre. You get all the expected plot beats including the hot-chick love interest who becomes a motivator for the hero. But in this case, their meet-cute is him paying her for a date and then both trying to claim they had a more abusive childhood than the other. Written out like that, it sounds like an awful idea but it works. Did I mention that this is a very dark comedy? It’s really black and so very, very wrong. Yes it’s juvenile, but it’s done so well you won’t care. This is an excellent comedy.

Deadpool is also an excellent action film. Violent and bloody, as well as bloody funny. When your hero spins in midair, severs the head from some poor flunky and then kicks it into another disposable lackey to knock him unconscious, you either stepped into the wrong cinema, or you laugh out loud. The set-pieces are filmed in a frenetic, but entirely coherent manner. It’s refreshing to see action executed so well.

If you had to sum up Deadpool in a word, that word would be personality. Ryan Reynolds has wanted to do this film for years, and you can understand why. He gets to show off his comedic and action chops and make fun of all his cinematic missteps. He gets to have fun in a completely unhinged and unrestrained way that is incredibly rare to see in a superhero franchise film. While the Marvel films are slowly getting more and more risk-averse, Deadpool is a breath of fresh air that hopefully does well enough to encourage filmmakers to take more risks and have more fun.

And stick around until the end of the credits. For once, it’s worth it.




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