Thursday, February 11, 2016
Smart Mouth Much?
Alright, Ryan Reynolds. Five years later, all is forgiven for Green Lantern.
That, of course, is the obvious thing to say after watching Deadpool, R2’s long-awaited superhero do-over helmed by Oscar-nominated short film-director-turned-feature-film-director Tim Miller. The movie’s already a word-of-mouth success thanks to its charismatic headliner’s social media efforts and a rare milestone that necessitated that People magazine’s Sexiest Dad Alive – now a thing, evidently – relinquish his DOA starring role in one of the first offerings of a once-not-yet-coalesced DC Comicsverse and keep the faith that everything was going to turn out A-OK.
Which it did.
Reynolds never had to revisit Hal Jordan again. He got to keep Blake Lively and spawn a baby girl with the actress. And he got to have a shot at winning America’s heart and good will back this weekend, which he will.
Bonus: He gets to be a cheeky, fourth-wall-breaking sunovagun while doing so, ohyeshedoes.
Deadpool, you see, is a blockbuster like no other.
It is the Guardians of the Galaxy of the Xverse in that it is offbeat (by this kind of production’s standards and because, well...you’ll see) and super-surprising and, again, a sure-to-be instant hit that ought to leave both critics and audiences alike satisfied – trust. And get this: It is a movie about how the worst thing that can happen to Ryan Reynolds is, no, not Green Lantern (let’s just never mention that one again) but going ugly, and the best thing that can happen to the guy is have us willingly go along with the notion, not realizing how ridikolous the idea is until it’s too late ’cause you’re in like Flynn. He’s hooked you. He’s reeled you in, and guess what. He’s already munching on ya.
An origin story that starts in the middle (and in the middle of a bullet-ridden, blood-spattering fight; I told ya this was quote-unquote offbeat), which is totally meta because Reynolds as Deadpool ain’t something new (alright – let’s just never mention X-Men Origins: Wolverine, either), the movie centers on his self-admitted anti-heroic Wade Wilson, a former Special Forces who’s rather aloofly disillusioned by his life and, yet, brazenly matter o’ fact about maintaining his forward motion.
Wade lives openly and loudly in the shadows, has a smart mouth, and works as a mercenary of sorts – ergo his Merc with a Mouth nickname, which I don’t think anyone actually gives him, not even T.J. Miller, who pops up as Weasel, his buddy from the underground. Wade threatens and roughs up people som’in’ fierce for others who can’t fend for themselves but are willing to pay for the service. He romances a cool-chick hooker-ish toughie with an equally checkered past named Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), who gives as good as she takes, and he falls prey to a number of manhood tropes that manifest only after he gets a terminal cancer diagnosis that sends him looking for alternative treatments in order to spare his love the pain of having to witness him die a slow death.
Enter Ed Skrein (the original Daario Naharis of HBO’s Game of Thrones) as Ajax, a merc in his own right who gives Wade a free treatment that costs him dearly (his health is restored with some cool extras, but his looks, man...).
The stacked Britsh-born actor plays Deadpool’s nemesis in a serviceable manner that is hard to take serious because, yeah, he’s totally underwritten and, somehow, also just a bit overwrought, but also because the movie has this tone that begs that we don’t. Deadpool is gonna be fine, and so is the franchise that will surely be built around Deadpool, for when Reynolds isn’t helping to tell stories with Hugh Jackman & Co.
The movie proves that A) Reynolds is an ace comedian (and unafraid of giving us a peek at why Blake Lively is probably so lively as his wife), and B) that this was the role he was born to play. Or the role that he knew he could knock outta the part for Hollywood, if only Hollywood had had the balls to do it right the first time.
Because this superhero cusses. He kills indiscriminately and graphically. And he is aware that he is in a movie with some licensing limitations (X-Man Colossus pops up...but he is not played by Daniel Cudmore; his somewhat-awkward presence and that of a fairly obscure female X-Teen struck me as a careful show of faith in the product by its own powers that be).
It is all good, different entertainment, and well worth the price of admission. If you don’t believe me, then take Betty White’s word for it.
My Rating ***1/2
Photo: 20th Century Fox.