Directed by Tim Miller. Produced by Lauren Shuler Donner, Simon Kinberg, and Ryan Reynolds. Written by Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese. Release date: February 12, 2016.
Deadpool marks the sixth time Ryan Reynolds has played a superpowered individual in a film. Out of the previous five attempts, not a single one really worked - with the possible exception of the few minutes at the start of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, in which he played Wade Wilson. The movie wasted that performance and turned the character into a silent antagonist, but the couple of scenes near the beginning were golden. Reynolds has, after all, been trying to get a Deadpool feature film off the ground for years. Now it's finally happened, with Reynolds both producing and starring in a film that promises to be much more like the Deadpool found in comic books and less like the Weapon XI atrocity that most people would rather not talk about.
What, exactly, does that mean? Well, if 2016's Deadpool is to believed, it means that the humor will be decidedly juvenile, the dialogue will be profane and filled with sexual innuendos, the violence will be over the top and bloody, the story will be unbelievably generic, even as far as superhero movies go, and Deadpool will break the fourth wall more often than he actually fights people. If that sounds like the Deadpool you know and love from the comic books, well, you're going to love this movie.
The story? Good-guy mercenary Wade Wilson (Reynolds) falls in love with a woman named Vanessa (Morena Baccarin). They spend a significant amount of time together, but find their love cut short when he's diagnosed with terminal cancer. Wilson decides to undergo an experimental treatment designed to unlock his "mutant genes," which make him immortal and self-healing, but also ugly. A betrayal occurs, Wilson is left for dead, but he survives and vows revenge. He can't even reunite with his lovely Vanessa now; he's too ugly.
You've seen this story before, or it certainly feels like you have. It's basic, but that's fine; it's an origin/revenge story, and you're not really here for the plot anyway, right? You're here to watch Wilson dress up in a cartoonish red suit, curse like a sailor, make jokes that are either self-referential or unbelievably juvenile, and then slice up some bad guys. All of that happens here. It's hard to leave the cinema disappointed at a movie delivering everything that you expect, even if in doing exactly that it ignores what could've made it even better.
For starters, Deadpool has only two sustained action scenes, and they're not the most impressive things out there. The first half of the film is mostly just flashbacks, telling us how Wilson got into this situation. Deadpool basically can't be killed, and he's not taking things seriously at all, so why should you? The action is bloody and certainly earns its R rating - if not with its violence, it does with its language and sexual content - but it's technically bland and almost impossible to invest in. The only stakes come when Vanessa inevitably gets kidnapped - because that's not an overdone trope - and even then the film doesn't really do much to make us care.