Arts & Entertainment, Features

REVIEW: “Deadpool” does franchise justice, gives story new vitality

Ryan Reynolds stars as Marvel’s new, highly aggressive superhero Deadpool in the new R-rated dark comedy opening Friday. PHOTO COURTESY TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX
Ryan Reynolds stars as Marvel’s new, highly aggressive superhero Deadpool in the new R-rated dark comedy opening Friday. PHOTO COURTESY TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX

There are so many ways in which a superhero movie can go wrong.

The director can try to make it too gritty and serious or, alternatively, too lighthearted and ridiculous. The writers can completely miss the point of certain characters or shoehorn in a love interest out of nowhere and then just outright kill the love interest for added angst. The art department could make the costumes completely unlike the iconic colored tights audiences know and love.

These tropes have become so common in the superhero film genre that it isn’t even necessary to namedrop some of its major offenders.

Marvel’s “Deadpool” does none of that.

The long-awaited film “Deadpool” features all the madcap, self-referential humor of the original franchise and main character, but it never tries to be too funny. On the other hand, “Deadpool” also has all the hardcore action of its original franchise, but never tries to be too gritty.

It has the perfect balance of both in a way that reflects Deadpool, the titular character. He goes from referencing “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” in one scene to gleefully eviscerating enemy henchmen in the next, all while poking fun at just about everyone from Fox Studios to the scriptwriters and director.

“Deadpool” has a little something for everyone, of course provided that they’re 17 years old or older, because Deadpool more than earns its R-rating. Despite this, the humor, sex and violence never manage to be too distasteful or offensive, once again being just the right amount for a typical Deadpool story.

The film centers around Deadpool, also known as Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds), and follows his life beginning before he donned his classic red and black suit to the moment where he declares vengeance on those who made him put it on in the first place.

Deadpool’s origin story, which for the most part is unknown in the comics, goes through a major revamp in the film, but becomes neither bland nor boring. Wade is finally given a life before becoming super, as well as a plausible origin to his superhero alias. Most importantly, Deadpool is given a love interest, Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), who is much more fleshed out than her comic book counterpart and never falls in the generic mess of male-written “strong” female characters.

Rounding out the cast are the villains Ajax (Ed Skrein) and Angel Dust (Gina Carano), who don’t have much to offer in terms of depth but do add to the story and give it some amazing fight scenes to boot. Wade’s friends, if we can call them that, Blind Al (Leslie Uggams) and Weasel (T.J. Miller) make an appearance alongside cameos from the X-Men Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand). Even a certain someone we’ve come to expect from Marvel movies makes a surprise appearance.

Deadpool’s quest for vengeance against Ajax and his cronies never goes stale. Where most action movies would have a lull for exposition or pointless character development, “Deadpool” takes breathers only to proceed into more action.

Even though a good chunk of the movie is Deadpool’s origin story flashback, it weaves into the story perfectly and does not detract from it at all.

In fact, what makes Deadpool so different from other superheroes is that despite excessive use of violence and foul language, we root for him. His origin story, riddled with pain and loss, puts the entire audience on his side and makes us want to see him win for once (and the fact that he’s actually funny helps too).

So before you go off to watch “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” or “Captain America: Civil War,” give “Deadpool” a chance. Goodness knows February is generally a weak month for movies, so “Deadpool” really needs a chance if fans want to give the “Merc with a Mouth” the movie franchise he deserves.

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