Deadpool is a generic superhero movie given a fresh coat of red paint that happens to spell out a four-letter word.
Deadpool had all the opportunity in the world to make us care, too. At its core is a pretty sweet love story - no, seriously - and if that was given more focus, the climactic action scene would feel like more than a farce. But that's out of the film's depth, and I can completely understand why the filmmakers didn't want to go there. This is a film you watch for a few good mocking laughs. You're not here for emotional depth. You want to hear Ryan Reynolds mock Green Lantern a few times. Bringing in emotional resonance might ruin the light, jokey tone of the film.
Another missed opportunity comes from its supporting hero cast. Two X-Men, Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand), show up to assist Deadpool, while also giving him other characters to play off. Colossus is the stand-in for "generic superhero," who wants to convince Deadpool to join the X-Men, while Negasonic Teenage Warhead is a snarky teenager who's already outgrown Deadpool's routine. Both of these character types offered so much potential, but they don't show up until more than halfway through the film, and even then they don't get a whole lot to do - especially in this regard.
I feel like I'm being way too negative here. I wager it's because there isn't really a whole lot to the film, which means you're going to find problems or missed opportunities if you start looking. Most of these don't become issues while you're watching the film. Most of what comes out of Deadpool's mouth is humorous - he'll get a lot of chuckles and a few big laughs - the action is violent enough to make it feel different from most other superhero movies, and ... that's about all you need.
Ryan Reynolds has been trying to get a Deadpool film done for what feels like forever, and now that it's here, I can see why. This is the perfect type of role for him, letting him showcase his natural charm and wit. He fits perfectly. None of the supporting cast can live up to him, nor are they given anywhere close to enough to do in order to even attempt it. Everyone's fine - Brianna Hildebrand and Morena Baccarin are most noticeable - but Reynolds is clearly the star.
Deadpool is a generic superhero movie given a fresh coat of red paint that happens to spell out a four-letter word. You've seen it before, it doesn't do anything new, but it has the energy, humor, and violence to make it worthwhile. It's not trying to be anything more, which is unfortunate as there are a few areas in which it could have improved and made itself into a genuinely great film, but it's got a tone and a low standard to achieve - and it does both just fine. It's fun, it's funny, Ryan Reynolds is great, and it's worth seeing.
Bottom Line: Hindered by limitations it placed upon itself, Deadpool is still a very fun, very vulgar movie. It gets the character, and that's what it needed to do.
Recommendation: Like Deadpool as a character? Like a lot of jokes, many of which are of the dirty variety? Like R-rated superhero violence? You're in the right place. Go see Deadpool.
If you want more of Matthew "Marter" Parkinson, you can follow him on the Twitter @Martertweet and check out his weekly movie podcast.