Deadpool, Ryan Reynolds’ second crack at Marvel’s most in-your-face character (following a forgotten appearance in the misbegotten X-Men Origins: Wolverine) is a terrifically faithful adaptation of some awfully obnoxious source material. If you’re a pre-existing devotee, the film’s nonstop assortment of cartoony assholes and elbows to the ribs might very well make your head pop off in a paroxysm of joy. (Seriously, the employees at the crammed preview screening I attended probably wished they had put down plastic beforehand.) Viewers who aren’t quite as in touch with their filthy inner child, however, may find the experience of being ceaselessly clobbered over the head with the fourth wall to be a bit much. One of the things that made Tex Avery and Chuck Jones such geniuses is that they knew to keep it under 10 minutes.
Kicking off with some inspired opening credits, Deadpool‘s flashback-heavy plot follows a wise-ass mercenary whose storybook romance is derailed by a cancer diagnosis. Too late, he discovers his shadowy cure comes with both a mutant healing factor and some nasty cosmetic drawbacks. Cue the guns, swords, and, oh, so many jokes about ball-related trauma.
First-time director Tim Miller, a video-game veteran, brings a nicely bouncy style to the action scenes, especially when a couple of the less-distinguished X-Men are dragged in to be mocked. As great as the splatter often is, however, the relentless superheroic winking and piss-taking would most likely be insufferable without Reynolds, who manages to somehow be endearing even when he’s muffled by spandex. While this ADD do-over ultimately isn’t half as clever as it wants to be, this is the role Reynolds was clearly born to play. (Which is great, so long as he still finds the time for a Mississippi Grind now and then.) If this sounds like your sort of thing, you’re already in line.