Beneath the crude jokes and over-the-top violence lurks a serious film. Okay, maybe not, but Deadpool walks a tonal tightrope with no safety net.
Ryan Reynolds stars as Wade Wilson, a former special forces operative turned mercenary with a heart of bronze. After finding happiness with the girl of his dreams, Wade learns he’s developed terminal cancer. A mysterious organization promises a cure. Wade accepts, but the cure carries a steep price. Presumed dead, Wade sets out for revenge, complete with running commentary.
Deadpool plays as a self-aware comic book film. On my first viewing, I laughed so hard I missed most of the jokes. Besides the non-stop non sequiturs, the script proffers jokes about the plot, the other X-Men films, and the limited budget. They’re not belittling the genre, just mining it for laughs.
And said laughs come wrapped in a solid origin story. Credit to Reynolds. He propels the film along with his effusive charisma, his deadpan comedy proving the perfect fit for the character’s gallows humor.
There’s an adage that one can mark a genre’s end when it devolves into comedy, as Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein ended the Universal Monsters era. But Deadpool proves otherwise, delivering engaging narrative and emotional stakes and a liberal dose of comedy.
Followed by Deadpool 2.