Movie review: “Deadpool”

OK so “Deadpool”.

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Attention Ryan Reynolds: your debt is called off. For about ten years, We The People have been force-fed your generically handsome mug in a steady stream of abysmal romantic comedies, all predicated on the promise that One Day, We’d See It! You Were A Leading Man—Promise! You just needed the right script, the right character, the right opportunity, the right director, the right phase of the moon for whatever bloodletting/goat sacrifice ceremony you performed to get Blake Lively to look twice at your bland Canadian ass—wait, I’m getting sidetracked. Where was I? Oh right. So, ten years of awful movies later, we were getting pretty fed up. You weren’t delivering. Sure, you were delightful on late-night television, but no one pays ten bucks to sit with their shoes in a sticky puddle of Coke for late night television, Ryan. They do that for movies, and I am sorry to inform you that yours have pretty much sucked. Until now. You did good, kid. “Deadpool” is a delight. YOU were a delight in it. Tell the nice men at your door with baseball bats and brass knuckles that we say you’re all settled up. You enjoy your evening.

Everyone else: go see “Deadpool”, wouldja? I promise, it’ll wipe “The Proposal” clean out of your memory banks. “Deadpool” is a refreshing blast of hysterical, profane energy, a fire hydrant of action with no cap. Just trying to keep up with Reynolds’s motormouthed monologues is a challenge—in the audience I was sitting with, people were visibly shaking with laughter, rocking in their seats, but silently, because if they laughed out loud, they would miss the next joke. And with a script like this, no one wanted to risk it: two minutes after the credits rolled, I was ready to go back into another showing—with a notepad. (One never knows when the next chance to call someone a bag of dick tips will occur, but in an election year, it’s good to be prepared.)

It’s no coincidence that “Deadpool” referenced “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” multiple times: the two movies share more than just a transparent fourth wall. Watching “Ferris” for the first time around age thirteen, I remember being blown away by the novelty of a movie in which nothing much happened at all: the only point was to follow this cool, glib, quotable kid and his two best friends through their day. The movie was a hangout, and this one is too—it’s no more about Deadpool’s quest for revenge against his sadistic maker than “Ferris” was about evading an overzealous principal. So, sure, the villain is unmemorable and the theme is threadbare: they’re just the pretext for us to get in the car with the coolest kid in school. And his friends are all cool, too: a CGI’d Colossus who still comes off as loveable, like a gigantic Russian Groot. The tiny, owlish Brianna Hildebrand (she looks like a female, teenaged version of Adam Scott) as Negasonic Teenage Warhead, a superhero whose name I cannot pronounce but whose personality I grasped within fifteen seconds of her appearance onscreen. And best of all, here’s the chronically underutilized Morena Baccarin as Wade’s hooker girlfriend Vanessa, tart-tongued and crackling with fun, so engaging and clever that I didn’t even mind her placement as a damsel-in-distress at the end of the movie. She’d more than kept up with Wade throughout, and she never felt like a victim, even as she was being victimized. Such are the pleasures of this movie: the characters are so well-rounded and charming that the movie simply sidesteps the entirely valid criticisms that it is plotless, and profane, and kind of clichéd and thematically lacking. These crits are all true, but they’re not the point. Which is that I love all these characters, and I just met them. I can’t wait to hang out with them again in the parking lot instead of going to PE.

How long till Deadpool 2?

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