If ever an actor was born to play a superhero, it was Christopher Reeve to play Superman.
If ever an actor was born to play a motormouthed, juvenile masked creep, it was Ryan Reynolds to play Deadpool.
Such is Reynolds' head-spinning, jokes-piled-upon-jokes delivery that even with his 2010 People Magazine Sexiest Man Alive mug covered in spandex, his personality manages to shimmer through and own the film with the bloodthirsty vengeance of the deranged anti-hero he plays.
Deadpool is a refreshing change of pace from morally tortured, laconic comic book heroes that usually hog the silver screen. He's just about the only one among the moody group of stretch pants-wearing do-gooders who actually enjoys what he's doing. Rather than kvetch over his plight or the moral implications of capital punishment, he's got no problem whipping out a nine and shooting his enemies dead -- "I only have 12 bullets, so you're gonna have to share," he quips to a group of baddies.
The crimson-clad indestructible ninja sees the world as a Rorschach test, with everything looking like a sex toy to him. Armed with dual blades, semi-automatic handguns and an attention span half that of a Vine viewer, he speaks and acts rather thank waste any perfectly good time thinking. He's happy to tell you about every deranged thought that flutters through his thin skull.
Deadpool, who often stops and talks to the camera like Zack Morris on "Saved by the Bell," tells us more than once that he is no hero at all. Just a bad guy who gets his rocks off by going after worse guys for money. Blessed with the ability to withstand any amount of pain and heal from injuries, he revels in his ability to play through life as a sex-and-violence-filled video game on god mode.
With this movie, director Tim Miller has made the raspberry-court jester of the Marvel comic book movie kingdom. From the opening credits, which replace the usual solemn titles of producer and director with words that would have gotten your mouth washed out with soap in third grade, he sets the tone for the fresh hell to come.
The movie has no point other than to sponge the maximum amount of Ryan Reynolds out of Ryan Reynolds, then spray it all over the screen with #nofilter, daring the audience to laugh, wince or leave. Woe be to those who mistake this for another Captain America or Wolverine with their 10-year-old son in tow.
Miller, who gives Reynolds free reign to skewer pop culture, comicdom, the audience and himself, pushes the character farther than the comics ever could. Before this movie, the closes thing to the pure essence of the character was the 2013 video game, which was mostly about Deadpool mocking the game developers. In the movie, he pushes that fourth wall pulverizing further -- at one point, he declares he's breaking 16 walls -- letting the audience in on the joke of his stream-of-consciousness inanity.
There is something of a plot in the movie, with your typical damsel in distress, British villain and comic relief sidekick, but they exist only for Deadpool to complain about. At one point, he muses that it's odd that only two X-Men show up in the movie, wondering if it has to do with the pathetic production budget.
Whatever money Miler and crew had was well spent. "Deadpool" is one of those rare movies that is nothing like anything else out there. It set a bar, then limboed under it before slashing it to pieces with twin katanas rather than try to clear it. Superman should be jealous.
RATING: 3.5 stars out of 4
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