By Bob Bloom
From its opening credits that proclaim that this film was “Directed by an Overpaid Tool” to star Ryan Reynolds continually breaking the fourth wall and making snarky comments and cracking in-jokes to the audience, “Deadpool” defiantly proclaims its fuck-you, thumbing-its-nose attitude.
This latest Marvel movie is an anti-superhero superhero feature, and it’s the most profane, violent and funny production in the history of the franchise.
The movie is gleefully dark and twisted, constantly pushing and daring its audience to hoot, holler or simply try to dismiss it.
All this flamboyance obscures a standard comic-book adaptation origins story of how former mercenary Wade Wilson (Reynolds) was transformed into smart-alecky, wisecracking Deadpool.
The film also wears its heart on its sleeve as Deadpool’s main objection is to find the person who transformed him — and in the process gave him a face that looks like two avocados mated — so he can restore his good looks.
It seems Deadpool-Wilson’s main focus is on returning to Vanessa (“Gotham’s” Morena Baccarin), the woman he loves.
Their relationship, filled with banter and repartee, is sweet. A montage of their sexual antics, with Neil Sadaka’s “Calendar Girl” playing on the soundtrack, is benignly perverse.
The couple’s future was cut short after Wilson was diagnosed with a terminal cancer and, in desperation, submitted himself to an experimental treatment.
That was where the villainous Ajax (Ed Skrein) transformed and disfigured him.
Escaping the lab where he was being held, Wilson vowed revenge and adopted the Deadpool persona.
The storyline, as mentioned, is secondary. It is the attitude that drives the movie — and it does so at a speed that makes NASCAR races look like soapbox-derby contests.
Reynolds’ Deadpool takes a childlike delight in the mayhem he creates. As he maims and kills Ajax’s minions, he continually hurls jibes and insults at them, demanding to know the whereabouts of Francis, Ajax’s real name.
The role perfectly suits Reynolds’ flippant personality, more so than when he donned the tights of another superhero, DC’s Green Lantern.
In “Deadpool,” he’s given free reign to quip his way from scene to scene, nudging the audience as he remarks on whatever situation arises.
When he visits the X-Men’s mansion of Doctor Xavier and just finds two superheroes at home — the CGI-created, steel-bodied Colossus (voiced by Stefan Kapicic) and the tongue-twisting named Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) — he turns to the camera to explain that was all the film’s budget would allow. He continually elbows the viewers in the ribs, winking at them and taking them into his confidence.
Reynolds makes “Deadpool” an audience-participation movie, which creates an intimate bond between the actor and his filmgoers.
Much more so than Marvel’s “Guardian of the Galaxy,” “Deadpool” is a film propelled by swagger, humor and action.
It’s a different direction for the Marvel cinematic universe —refreshing and, most of all, highly entertaining.
Bloom is a member of the Indiana Film Journalists Association. His reviews appear at ReelBob (reelbob.com) and The Film Yap (filmyap.com). He also reviews Blu-rays and DVDs. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ReelBobBloom. Other reviews by Bloom can be found at Rottentomatoes: www.rottentomatoes.com.
3½ stars out of 4
(R), graphic and bloody violence, sexual content, nudity, language