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Movie Review: Deadpool

Dwight Brown | 2/10/2016, 11 a.m.
If you’re looking for an unconventional protagonist, with a potty mouth and devilish mind, fly to the theaters to see ...
Ryan Reynolds stars in Deadpool. (Twentieth Century Fox)

“I’m super, but I’m not a superhero,” clarifies Deadpool, a petulant mutate. Yes, he has mighty powers, but no pretense about being a nice guy. If there is ever an Avengers Hall of Fame, he’ll never get there; they wouldn’t even let him clean the latrines. If an Avenger ever makes it on to the front of a Wheaties box, it won’t be him. But he’s OK with that. He’s OK with being in his own skin, even though it’s a disfigured mess. If you’re looking for an unconventional protagonist, with a potty mouth and devilish mind, fly to the theaters to see Deadpool. Or at least walk.

Marvel Comics originated the snarky character, concocted by writer Fabian Nicieza and artist/writer Rob Liefeld, in 1991. He appeared in the series The New Mutants. Back then he was a mean, villainous bastard. He’s come a long way. Now he’s an unstable mercenary with no direction in life.

Screenwriters Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick, who made a name for themselves with their first feature collaboration Zombieland, can take a big bow. Few scribes could write the edgy, sour, filthy, graphic, rapid-fire dialogue that so consistently spews out of Deadpool’s mouth like sewage into a drain. Their words carry this movie along for 108 minutes.

Ryan Reynolds can take credit for turning their writing into biting satire that he hurls like a dagger. And director Tim Miller, an animator, creative director and visual effects artist, who marks his feature film debut, orchestrates the madness like a wizard on hallucinogens and crystal meth.

The film opens with a still motion, multidimensional scene (think Matrix) that appears to be a car crash in progress. Bullets are flying, men are being thrown out of windows, and someone is biting another man’s underwear. It’s a visually stunning (Ken Seng cinematographer, Project X) and ingenious sight. You watch aghast and know at some point this stagnant moment will go into high gear. It does.

There’s a backstory, which is told in bits, pieces and flashbacks, never intrusively or in an indiscernible way: Wade Wilson (Reynolds) is a former Special Forces operative. He becomes a mercenary content to do small, petty acts of revenge, like intimidating a pizza delivery boy who demeaned a high school girl. He is a complete loner until he meets a sexy, cynical stripper named Vanessa (Morena Baccarin). Lust fuels their sarcastic barbs. He has met his match. They go home and have mad, freaky sex, like Kanye West and Amber Rose; only Vanessa doesn’t tattle.

All is well until Wade comes down with a major illness and seeks the help of unorthodox scientists for a cure. One such character, Ajax (Ed Skrein, The Transporter Refueled) promises Wade immortality, through a risky experiment, but nearly tortures him to death in the process. Wade survives, endowed with an incredible power to accelerate his healing process. The downside is he is scarred severely, head to toe, making him look like a chiseled, muscled mass of walking vomit. So why is Wade in the middle of a car crash at the beginning of the film? He’s on the road to revenge and this is merely a way station.