DEADPOOL: THE AFJ MOVIE REVIEW! *RED BAND EDITION!*
By Jarrett Kruse
I just walked in from a relatively packed Thursday night screening of the long anticipated DEADPOOL movie and wanted to immediately get my thoughts down on paper. Its pretty damn hard to ignore that DEADPOOL has become a one-man comic book entity since his introduction to the MARVEL Universe back in 1991 in New Mutants #98. Anyone that collected comics in the 90's knew that the name Rob Liefeld was one that to say the least was one spoken with ire and disgust. He was Voldemort before their was a Voldemort. Basically for the Junkies that don't know, Liefeld was a bit of a self-aggrandizing type who many blame for the mess the comic book industry was in during the 90's. By all accounts, the 90's are a decade Liefeld would love to forget most likely as he was ripped apart by Fanboys & girls alike before that moniker existed. His abnormal artwork, particularly in the 1996 "Heroes Reborn" debacle, was lauded by critics and he saw his MARVEL contract get terminated after just six issues of what was supposed to be a twelve issue run. He was brash and bold and along with household names like Lee & McFarlane founded the IMAGE Comics shingle but that's not what he will be remembered for. His legacy, along with Fabian Nicieza, is DEADPOOL, the Merc with a Mouth. And after years of gestation in Hollywood, fans finally get the solo comic book movie we have been waiting for. They finally got it right and let me be the first to say, it was totally fuckin' worth it.
Every Junkie worth their membership knows the story how Wade Wilson was a bit of an homage to Slade Wilson, aka Deathstroke from the DC Universe who Nicieza was working on at the time Liefeld brought his new character to his industry friend. Putting the awful and disavowed appearance of DP in the 2009 film Wolverine: Origins aside, it is important for Junkies to go into the film erasing that debacle from your mind. Pretend you have one of the Men in Black flashy things that erases your memory. We all know it was just that bad so put it behind you. But man, does this movie make up for it in spades all the while poking major fun at Wolverine, comic book movies, MARVEL, FOX and of course Hugh Jackman. Its the R-rated fun-fest that we have been craving for and to be honest it surprises the hell out of me that FOX made this film happen.
Ryan Reynolds has made a career of playing Ryan Reynolds and fans were giddy when he was cast as DP in Wolverine: Origins. But it was a travesty, a total abortion, and it took years to right the ship for Reynolds to get the risky solo film that was actually faithful to the comic books. The film has a simple enough narrative to follow and from the opening credits that are laugh out loud hysterical (Yes, the opening credits are an absolute gem), we are given two hours of sheer Deadpool fun. Morena Baccarin (Inara from Firefly) is the love interest Vanessa and she is just as wildly attractive as she was as a "companion" on Mal Reynold's ship Serenity. As you know, Wade is basically a dishonorably discharged guy with major skills of the worst kind getting by with his rapid fire wit and operating out of a bar collecting money on small time stalkers and such. Its a far cry from the countless kills he had under his belt as a decorated soldier. When he makes the mistake of falling in love with Vanessa, it becomes the first time he has really put himself out there for someone else. It is the first time he has enjoyed being loved and he has the Voltron ring to prove it. They are kindred spirits and as they say in the movie, puzzle pieces that fit, despite their incongruity. It is almost frightening how perfect Reynolds is for the role of Wade Wilson and you almost feel cheated we didn't get this movie sooner. Just when Wade has something good in his life, he is given a death sentence with late stage cancer in pretty much every vital organ. Not wanting to put Vanessa through the pain of watching him die, he opts to take a stranger up on an offer to become a superhero. However, the program he is in is not exactly Captain America's Project: Rebirth. It's a fucking sideshow of horrors.
Let me clear a little up that we don't really get this all until almost the second act of the movie. The first is a wildly entertaining, violence filled chase scene with Deadpool going after the main asshole by the name of "Ajax" that made him look like what comic relief T.J. Miller's "Weasel" says, "You look like Freddy Krueger face-fucked a topographical map of Utah." Miller, the Second City alumni from the friggin' hysterical HBO hit Silicon Valley, is priceless and has a big future ahead in the movie business. In the opening battle, we also get to see the X-MEN's Colossus and spitfire Brianna Hildebrand as Negasonic Teenage Warhead. Later, we even get treated to seeing the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters, so the film really touches all the right MARVEL buttons fans hoped for. I actually could not believe that this was a FOX/MARVEL film because it was so dead on balls accurate. I won't ruin Stan Lee's cameo but I think you will agree that it is far and away his best yet.
Reynolds is having a blast playing Deadpool whether it is talking to cab driver Dopinder who kidnaps his romantic rival at Wade's suggestion, or breaking the fourth wall several dozen times. He even breaks the sixteenth wall at one point which you have to see to believe because it is totally trippy and all together meta. The fight scenes are orchestrated with the precision of a Matrix movie (NOT Revolutions) and I love that they did not screw with the costume even a little bit. We do see a montage of shots as DP finds his mojo in several different suits before settling on his trademark red and black duds with samurai swords on his back. The film is absolutely unapologetic for everything they are pulling and you almost feel astonished that the movie you have been yearning for, and deserve, is finally here. I'm talking decapitations, heads rolling around, rapid fire one-liners, blood splattering everywhere. It is fucking glorious.
Reynolds is not just playing Deadpool, he is Deadpool. It doesn't even seem like acting because he is taking you on this sick and twisted journey and constantly updating you like its a PSA busting down walls and rules of what is "proper" in a comic book movie. More than anything, DEADPOOL is genuine and like nothing we have seen before especially from MARVEL. This is not the flick to take kids to but the awesomely cool Dads definitely will. I know mine would have if this was 1986 instead of 2016. Some may argue that Deadpool has been over-saturated in the last decade with way too many appearances in an inordinate amount of iterations in comic books. Whether it is a solo book, a team-up, Deadpool Corps, Lady Deadpool, you name it. Its been kind of like Mel Brooks' Yoda-like character "Yogurt" from SPACEBALLS who in one scene pedals all sorts of merchandise of himself.
The production gets by with a narrative device that is really a tough one to pull off where it takes you back and forth from middle to beginning eventually ending an epic battle. Most of all, and this ironically times in for Valentine's Day, the film has a real heart. It is a love story that you can con your girlfriend or wife into seeing even if she only has the slightest interest in your passion. Their is even a classic Junkie sight gag with the awful Deadpool action figure from Wolverine: Origins where the character is bare chested with paint, claws and sewed up mouth. It absolute buries that celluloid atrocity and gives fans what they so very much deserve; 108 minutes of sheer badassery with a sharp script that delivers actual R-rated laughs all the while maintaining the integrity of the wildly popular character. This is a comic book movie that takes the chances you only wish other properties would take. And it does it all with a shit eating grin with Ryan Reynold's saying, "watch this."