Sandy Roffey was surprised by the amount of heart in DEADPOOL. Read her spoilery terrific review of this raunchy R-Rated masterpiece!
(If you haven’t seen Deadpool there are minor spoilers ahead)
Deadpool, the R-rated Superhero Comedy Action Thriller directed by Tim Miller, had me at the first scene, where Ryan Reynolds’ Wade Wilson confronts a stalker over a box of pizza. The result is slapstick funny. But I already knew that a Deadpool movie would be funny–that’s the essence of the Rob Liefield and Fabian Nicieza-created Marvel character, along with irreverence, athleticism, and an ability to heal almost any wound. From the moment old test footage hit online back in 2014, everything about this film screamed hilarity. Even the marketing team for the Rhett Rheese- and Paul Wernick-penned movie has been killing it, marketing as a comedy slash action flick but then brilliantly re-branding near their Valentine’s Day opening weekend as a love story that everyone really knows is an action movie.
Because of the marketing, I expected Deadpool to be funny, and I expected it to have some romantic nuances, but despite the amount of campaigning and effort Ryan Reynolds has put into getting this character and this movie to the big screen the right way, I didn’t really expect it to have heart.
The smooth special effects are what give the movie its superhero feel, despite its well-deserved (and fought for) R rating and clearly adult themes. Between the stunts and stop-action scenes and the impeccable motion-capture used for Colossus’ face, I could have been turning the pages of the latest Marvel title.
Deadpool’s interactions with the rest of the cast–and the audience, as he breaks through the fourth wall the way only Deadpool can–are pure gold. Ed Skrein’s villainous Ajax gives you a real reason to root for Deadpool, and Brianna Hillebrande’s Negasonic Teenage Warhead lives up to her name on all counts. TJ Miller shines playing that one friend we all have that knows you well enough to bet against you for money.
Colossus, in the thick Russian accent provided by Stefan Kapicic, says in the movie that it only takes four out of five moments to make a hero. I disagree. I think it takes one. I think it takes one important event to make the hero believable and to make us want him to win.
Before you jump to the conclusion that I’m talking about Wilson’s romance with Morena Baccarin’s Vanessa, let me first say that while they were both hot and sweet together, not to mention honest–something I consider necessary for any successful romance in real life–the romance wasn’t the actual heart of the movie. Yeah, the romance was endearing, though I’m not the kind of girl who cries at a ring pop engagement ring delivered in the semi-nude (even if that semi-nude included an unabashed offer of sex by Baccarin and a close-up view of Ryan Reynolds’ derrière.)
No, the next scene is the one that did it. After reminding us that life is one explosion after another broken up by happy little commercial breaks, Wade is given the news that his commercial break is over–he has cancer, and it has spread everywhere. While Vanessa is asking about every option, Wade is memorizing every detail of Vanessa’s face.
That’s the part of the movie that took me by surprise, and yes, as someone whose life has been profoundly affected by cancer, even made me cry. The scene where Wade finds out he’s dying could have been done in a comedic way, and in doing so it would have demeaned the experience of the millions of people who have suffered from end-stage cancer. As a comedy, it could have gone for the quick joke, but Instead it’s a poignant scene that gives the rest of the movie its heart. Wade’s actions going forward all stem from that one moment–it’s what makes him decide to take the drastic step that leads to him becoming Deadpool, and it’s what takes the movie from action comedy flick to true superhero film. A raunchy, funny, romantic, action-packed, heartfelt, R-rated superhero film.
A former Special Forces operative turned mercenary is subjected to a rogue experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers, adopting the alter ego Deadpool.
Deadpool stars Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, TJ Miller, Stefan Kapicic, Ed Skrein, Gina Carano, and Brianna Hildebrand. Rated R.
all art~20th Century Fox