Posted by Joel Copling on February 11, 2016

We are introduced to an everyman who slaps on a red-and-black suit to protect the woman he loves. We see that hero face off against a villain who did him a personal and terrible wrong. The hero has comic relief both outside and inside the suit in the form of a best friend and a pair of mutant superheroes. Indeed, Tim Miller's "Deadpool" is, on the face of it, only unique in two areas. One is a structure that deviates from the generic, A-to-B-to-C plotting to start somewhere just past the middle, then backtrack to the beginning before merging seamlessly with a third act that does, it must be admitted, cave to the same old stuff. The other is a lead character who is truly one of a kind, which he will constantly remind the viewing audience.

This is an origin story of the familiar kind, so the screenplay by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick is where the variation on the formula exists: Our "hero" is a psychopathic deviant who cuts through every potential cliche with acid and humor that will turn many people off. He is also played by Ryan Reynolds in a performance that is so committed to the character's off-putting personality that he is somehow ruggedly likable. Even as he skewers and lops the heads off his attackers with a pair of kitana swords, plays a blackly funny game with the number of bullets in his magazines, and generally causes vehicular damage at high capacity, the character is strangely compelling and immediately ingratiating.

Deadpool begins as Wade Wilson, a contractor of sorts whose job is to intidimate the stalkers and offenders of his clients into leaving them alone. He attracts the attention of Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), a worker at a strip club who is his equal at jokey quips and in the sack. The two fall quickly in love, which is unfortunate for Wade, who soon finds out that he is suffering from late-stage cancer. Accepting an offer for the cure to his illness and for immortality (which he initially dismisses for being on the level of a Shake Weight infomercial) at the expense of leaving Vanessa to spare her the burden of dealing with a fiance who will die, he soon learns that Ajax' (Ed Skrein) real plan for him is to become a slave to the British villain's organization.

A daring escape leaves Wade left for dead and with a mind for vengeance, which means the film must continue with the formula it has established already. There is a pair of showdowns with the primary heavy of the piece. One is an extended set-piece on a stretch of suspended highway that also acts as a framing device surrounding flashbacks that offer the brunt of the expository information regarding how Wade became Deadpool. The other is a scuffle set in a junkyard that's basically just a slight variation on the factory-set climaxes of action movies from years previous. Wade and Vanessa's romance is both aggressive and adorable, thanks to Reynolds and Baccarin, whose explosive chemistry is infectious and lends the climax some pathos.

The introduction of two other superheroes into the mix (X-Men team members Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead, played by Stefan Kapicic and Brianna Helgeland) is cute, especially considering her shaved-head appearance is the inspiration for jokes about Sinead O'Connor and "Alien 3"-era Sigourney Weaver from Deadpool, but the "merc with a mouth" is the real star here. His brand of cynicism, consisting of fourth-wall breaks (including one that occurs within another), references to the very franchise to which he belongs (Hugh Jackman and his popular character Wolverine get some serious deprecation thrown at them, and two previous failed superhero movies starring Reynolds have targets painted on their backs), and non sequiturs about the situations in which he finds himself (emasculation of every male henchman Ajax possesses, for instance), slices through the kind held by the movie's existence as yet another superhero movie. "Deadpool," like Deadpool, is jovially irreverent.

Film Information

Ryan Reynolds (Wade Wilson/Deadpool), Morena Baccarin (Vanessa), Ed Skrein (Ajax), Gina Carano (Angel Dust), T.J. Miller (Weasel), Stefan Kapicic (Colossus), Brianna Hildebrand (Negasonic Teenage Warhead).

Directed by Tim Miller and written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick.

Rated R (violence/language throughout, sexual content, graphic nudity).

108 minutes.

Released on February 12, 2016.