Review: Crass. Violent. Silly. It's everything 'Deadpool' needs to be.
Just when the current golden age of comic book flicks started to feel stale, along comes "Deadpool" (opening in theaters nationwide Feb. 12). After the mediocrity of "Avengers: Age of Ultron" and "Man of Steel," this insanely fun and violent R-rated romp is exactly what the aging genre desperately needed.
In short: Diagnosed with late-stage cancer, Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) undergoes an experimental treatment that gives him superpowers -- but also leaves him a disfigured and mentally unstable mercenary. Morena Baccarin, T. J. Miller and Ed Skrein also star. (Watch the trailer)
First and foremost, Reynolds is perfectly cast as the unrelentingly annoying and absurd antihero who simply does not shut up. None of the gratuitous and graphic violence would work without the boyish silliness Reynolds brings to Deadpool. He readily admits that he is not hero - but his pure likability lets Deadpool get away with dealing out untold levels of carnage.
And unlike the toothless 'happy violence' in every other PG-13 comic book flick, "Deadpool" goes all in with the violence. To be clear - this level of over-the-top violence will not work with every other comic book franchise, but it works with "Deadpool" because the character's joyful and wanton penchant for violence is in perfect sync with the film's silly tone.
"Deadpool" immediately establishes its offbeat and absurd tone with its uber-meta opening credits, which features the People Magazine cover proclaiming Reynolds as the 'Sexiest Man Alive' and lists its cast as "a hot chick" and "god's perfect gift." And so begins a flurry of meta swipes at the entire comic book film genre. Like the comic book character, Deadpool also occasionally breaks the fourth wall, directly addressing some of the most ridiculous aspects of what's going on in the movie.
"Deadpool" isn't merely a counterculture comic book movie - it's a loud and gleeful middle finger to the formulaic comic book movie machine. We live in a world where "The Dark Knight" somehow managed to get an R-rating - even though its villain shoved a pencil into a mobster's skull. If the genre hadn't glossed over the violence inherent to their stories, there simply would not have been a need for the swift kick to the head that "Deadpool" all too happily offers.
This fun, odd flick has the joyful exuberance of the senselessly violent '80s action movies. And for better or worse, this new type of energy is at least different from the homogenized, sanitized PG-13 action of so many modern comic book movies.
Final verdict: "Deadpool" is an immensely entertaining and refreshing jolt the lumbering comic book film genre needs.
"Deadpool" opens in theaters nationwide Feb. 12. This crass comic book adaptation is rated R for strong violence and language throughout, sexual content and graphic nudity.