For an action movie with a foulmouthed blabbermouth antihero, it’s pretty good. The opening sequence let’s you know right away (and any parents who may have foolishly brought their little ones expecting Spider-Man, Iron Man or Captain America fare) what the nature of this movie is going to be about and what kind of content you can expect. The opening credits laced throughout that first sequence are written in Deadpool’s unique perspective, which also informs the flavor of this raucous, ultra-violent movie. Right away we see Deadpool doing what he does best, delivering graphic and gruesome punishment to bad(der) guys, all the while quickly rolling off a litany of witty, wisecracking one-liners off his swift tongue for all the chuckles, usually in voice-over or while looking right at us, breaking the fourth wall. The camera angles in these first few sequences are daring for great comedic effect. You come to realize without a doubt during this first zippy action sequence that that Ryan Reynolds is the ideal actor for Deadpool.
Storywise, I think my favorite aspect was the choice to go non-linear with the narrative. I’ve preferred in-media res (starting in the middle) storytelling since I was a teenager first studying the art and craft of fiction. I think most of us prefer the immediacy of what’s happening now to start things off before we get into the why and how of it. At this point it’s become the formula for these kinds of movies and I’m good with that, all things considered. Since this is Deadpool’s first solo outing, it’s ultimately an origin movie.
So just as we’re getting into the rising action, the narrative shifts right at the perfect time to Deadpool’s past as Saskatchewan, Canada’s own Wade Wilson, an ex-Special Forces operative now working as a mercenary who’s just bad enough to kill the even worse guys who deserve it when the job calls for it. These narrative flashback sequences – merged seamlessly with the present-time narrative – offer us what is effectively a love story, and a potentially tragic romance, which is my favorite kind. The pleasant surprise comes in the arrival of the always wonderful and oh-so-lovely Morena Baccarin as his lady love, Vanessa. As lovers ,Wade and Vanessa have that perfect — if unlikely and rare — connection where their past psychological baggage is nearly equal in bleakness and volume, and they also just totally get and complete each other.
And therein lies the typical catalyst for a Marvel comics character: love, or the loss of it, is the main impetus for springing our would-be hero into action. But not before we see the events leading up to all of that – the torture at the hands of the villain Ajax (aka Francis) that brings about Deadpool’s apparently latent mutation, making him the badass ultra-healing human killing machine with an never-ending mouth to match. The Merc with a Mouth. His mission is to find and ultimately kill the bastard who made him what he is (through the ruse of curing his terminal cancer). Once the life of his lady love is seriously threatened, it’s really on. With the help of two sidekick X-Men characters in the classic Colossus and newcomer Negasonic Teenage Warhead (!), who would rather he join their motley band of heroes, Deadpool ultimately triumphs — the ugly guy gets the girl back. The movie ultimately satisfies while not overachieving.
Since the movie’s record-breaking opening at the box office, much chatter has been made about the freedom a rated R “superhero” movie has in regards to language, sexual content and violence. In mainstream movies that aren’t exclusively adult in nature, I always say that less is more because it’s more impactful when it does occur. Deadpool is no exception, but it tries too hard to walk that edge, making some of the gags feel forced in my opinion. In effect, each timely F-bomb, witty sexual reference and gruesome dismemberment becomes overkill once they get well past the half-dozen quotient. But true blue — er — red Deadpool fans certainly won’t be bothered and will likely expect even more of the same in the imminent sequel. Hell, the studio may even go for an NC-17 just to prove the point they made with the R rating. I’m mostly kidding.
CBF Grade: B+
— Brandon L. Rucker