A true underdog story just got a very, very happy ending.
Deadpool destroyed the box office during the 2016 Valentine's Day weekend and proved that he is a part of the cinematic A-List.
His movie being the first one to review for this new blogger is an extremely satisfying pleasure.
This entire article is safely spoiler-free.
First of all, a history lesson is in order for anyone who wants to know more about our charming scarlet savior.
Deadpool was co-created by Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza in 1991. He first appeared as an intended bad guy in New Mutants #98.
He was clearly intended to be a parody of Deathstroke, a popular DC Comics supervillain whose fame was largely earned in the 80's as the arch-nemesis of the Teen Titans. After all, Deadpool's real name is Wade Wilson and Deathstroke's is Slade Wilson. Both are skilled mercenaries except that Deadpool is also an unapologetic comedian who never shuts up and really does want to enjoy life's excesses; earning the title, Merc With A Mouth.
As for his origin story, he is a Canadian soldier of fortune who undergoes treatment for a rare form of cancer by participating in the shady top secret government-run Weapon X program; which was previously responsible for bonding an unbreakable alloy called adamantium to the skeleton of another famous Canadian, Wolverine. Due to the high-risk procedure, he was given a healing factor that permanently cured his cancer but severely disfigured him as a side effect. His new ability along with his advanced skills in marksmanship and swordplay were leveraged by the Canadian government after being placed in a covert field unit. After being kicked out of the team for killing a team mate, he was sent to a place known as the Hospice where failed operatives were treated. Realizing that it was actually a secret torture facility (without the Canadian government's knowledge) where the sadistic captors tested the pain threshold of patients to extreme limits, Deadpool eventually escaped and began his new life as a whimsical costumed mercenary. Like many comedians, his theatrical humor and slapstick antics are ways to deal with his tragic past and eternal loneliness (his healing factor effectively prevents his aging). It should be noted that he is an unreliable narrator and the precise details of his personal history keep changing, depending on the writer.....
The character's popularity among comic book readers took off in the late 90's in his ongoing series that was written by Joe Kelly and drawn by Ed McGuinness. By this point, Mr. Wade Wilson had evolved into more of a likable anti-hero as opposed to an outright villain. He was given a compelling supporting cast in the form of Weasel (his best friend and sleazy computer hacker) and Blind Al (his female elderly blind "roommate" who, in an intentionally twisted fashion, is bizarrely both his prisoner as well as bossy housekeeper).
In the double-o-decade, the Cable & Deadpool series by Fabian Nicieza (again, one of the character's co-creators) further elevated his fame. This time around, he had a serious foil in the form of his partner, Cable, the war-scarred time-traveling mutant from a post-apocalyptic future and also son of Cyclops from the X-Men. He also gained a sidekick in Bob, a thoroughly incompetent and non-lethal member of the international terrorist organization called Hydra that Captain America and the Avengers often fight against. His stomach's craving for chimichangas was also confirmed. The shared chemistry with Cable was gold and the grizzled warrior often had little patience for Deadpool's quirky mischief.
Deadpool's most notorious ability is being able to break the 4th Wall, which grants him awareness of his status as a fictional character and thus, lets him interact directly with the readers. This makes him look even more crazy and unhinged to the other residents of the Marvel Universe who sometimes wonder who he is talking to.
Thanks to video games and social media, the mainstream audience slowly grew fascinated with his charismatic personality as well. His over-the-top meta-humor made him into a walking talking meme and internal color commentator for the comic book industry. Marvel had another character that could move loads of merchandise on his own. At almost any Comic Con that I've been to in the recent past, Deadpool cosplayers seem to outnumber the rest.
Fox owns the movie rights to the X-Men franchise that includes Deadpool. So, given his ascending popularity, it was no surprise that he would make his movie debut. Unfortunately, the studio has proven numerous times that it cares little for faithful adaptations. Deadpool's first rodeo in Hollywood remains the worst case example of studio interference butchering a character beyond recognition when he appeared in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Despite being played by Ryan Reynolds whose natural rapid-fire comedic delivery matched that of the Merc With A Mouth's, the god-awful final product rightfully angered many fans (including Reynolds himself!). First of all, his mouth was sewn shut when his talkative nature is one of his defining traits. In addition, he was given strange abilities like being able to shoot lasers out of his eyes and the gruesomeness of popping out swords from his arms. Even Dr. Victor Frankenstein would be horrified of this monstrosity that he was given the derisive nickname online, Baraka-pool (after the Mortal Kombat character).
Reynolds wanted to redeem the character in his own solo movie and fought an uphill 10-year battle with Fox when the project was stuck in development hell. Zombieland writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick eventually wrote a script that was leaked and received positive feedback from fans. Fox then shelled out money for test footage to be filmed. Visual effects specialist Tim Miller was hired as the director. Fox was still dragging its feet and it was not until the test footage was leaked in the summer of 2014 that the project gathered significant momentum. Positive fan reaction overwhelmed Fox and the project was finally given the green light. Reynolds, Miller and the writers were successful at lobbying for an R-rating. They were given a lower budget but as a blessing, there was less studio oversight. As a result, they were able to craft a movie that was highly faithful to the comics. Reynolds proudly admits that this movie belongs to the fans in every way possible and without their loud support, never would have been made. The unique social media marketing campaign also earned a lot of good will.
This just might also be my favorite IMAX poster of all time.
Alright, time for the movie review to commence.
As the 1st movie review for The Infinity Curry, let me start off by saying that I review any movie as a whole instead of nitpicking individual elements. No film is absolutely perfect and plot holes can be found in even the most beloved classics if you want to look hard enough. For me, it's all about the overall packaging and presentation; less so about predictability/originality/perceived cliches. After all, art is a subjective experience. I just want to sit back and be entertained for a few hours by being temporarily transported to a cinematic world full of characters whose journey I want to follow. In a nutshell, I totally dig escapism.
On that note, Deadpool's long-awaited solo movie is an undisputed winner!
I'll try to stick to a simple reviewing format for this and future movies, as can be seen below.
A. Spicy/Medium/Mild/Bland: Spicy!
B. Good Enough for Repeat Viewing? (Yes/No): Yes, absolutely.
C. Explain Yourself, Blogger!:
Without any doubt, the highlight of the movie is Ryan Reynolds. Deadpool is the role that he was clearly born to play. As mentioned previously, the actor's natural rapid-fire comedic delivery is a seamless match for the part. It genuinely feels like the character stepped out of the pages of the comic book. After this movie's runaway success, this will be Reynolds's signature role in the same way that Christopher Reeve was Superman and Robert Downey Jr. is Iron Man. His potential as a dramatic actor is also well-utilized to sell the more intense moments; especially during the flashback scenes that showcase the gradual transformation of a cancer-ridden former Special Forces soldier into his cured (but cursed) fate as a wisecracking costumed mercenary.
That being said, the rest of the cast members also bring their A-game. Morena Baccarin is no stranger to fans of sci-fi and superheroes. She is always a joy to watch and is no different here where she gives quite a bit of depth and warmth to what could easily be a throwaway love interest character as Vanessa Carlyle, an adorably compassionate stripper who falls for our flawed hero. In fact, the chemistry between Reynolds and Baccarin is so sizzling that the resulting love story is what emotionally grounds the plot and convincingly drives Deadpool's actions in his quest for revenge. This is surprisingly (and ironically) a great date movie for Valentine's Day weekend.
T.J. Miller as Weasel is another reliable source for laughter as a world-weary bartender who is Deadpool's best bud. His hacking skills from the comics are not touched upon but there is time for that in the sequels. He gets many of the best lines. Another treat is Leslie Uggams as Blind Al who is the main character's frustrated elderly roommate. It's easy to sympathize when she complains about using Craig's List.
The real scene-stealer for me in every manner of speaking is Colossus. As an impressive looking CGI character, the muscular steel-covered Russian X-Men team member is wonderfully brought to life by the combined talents of Stefan Kapicic (voice) and Andre Tricoteux (motion capture). Aside from this technical achievement that was realized with a limited budget, what really shines is the earnestness of the character. His unwavering morality makes him the perfect foil for Deadpool's violent antics. Despite appearing in three previous X-Men movies, he never received anywhere close to the development in those that he does here. This is the first time ever that he is accurately adapted for the big screen and as a long-time Marvel fan, thinking about it just gives me goosebumps.
Also along for the ride is Brianna Hildebrand as Negasonic Teenage Warhead (NTW), Colossus's young X-Men trainee. Her bored and detached teenage Goth girl portrayal also sets up very witty exchanges with the more zany Deadpool. She is a very insignificant character in the comics with a completely different power set. This gave the film crew more freedom to adapt her for Hollywood and the right choices were made. Seeing her give Deadpool a slight edge over the bad guys is a real hoot to watch.
As a fellow desi, Karan Soni deserves a real shout for his contribution. As sunny cab driver, Dopinder, he takes a common stereotype and adds a few interesting layers as he is tasked with driving his chatty customer, Deadpool, to the major action scenes. One of the movie's best moments is watching both of them talk about the former's girl problems while Colossus and NTW try to weigh in with advice from the backseat.
The bad guys bring the menace despite not having much development as the other characters. Ed Skrein's Ajax becomes very easy to hate early on after seeing his gleeful cold-hearted torturing in action. Gina Carano is given very little dialogue as Angel Dust but her adrenaline-fueled fight scenes with Colossus are a delight to watch.
To compliment the dedicated performance of the actors, Tim Miller's direction is tight. The creative opening sequence alone deserves an award. The humor is so layered and non-stop that it is difficult to take it all in during a single viewing, thanks to the overload of smile-inducing dialogue from writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. The packed audience during my showing was laughing from start to finish. Like his character in the comics, Deadpool breaks the 4th wall and is fully aware that he is in a movie that is being watched by us. Fox executives are a target along with the muddled X-Men movie continuity, Disney, Green Lantern (Reynolds's prior superhero flick that was a massive flop), Baraka-pool and Hugh Jackman's version of Wolverine. His casual pop culture commentary balances the bloody violence on screen. The most important point is that the story drives the amusing gags and not the other way around. The movie belongs to both the action and comedy genres as a faithful adaptation of Deadpool should. Furthermore, it feels like a more accurate X-Men portrayal than any movie in that separate franchise. The overall plot might be predictable but the packaging and presentation make this a blast to watch in a crowded multiplex. The R-rating is earned in every way possible and so, leave the kids at home. Also, remember there are 2 scenes after the credits!
D. Curry Rating: 5 out of 5 Chili Peppers
Let me know of your thoughts about Deadpool's Hollywood success in the comments section below.