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The first ever Marvel movie released was Captain America all the way back in 1944 as a “serial film” which is basically a movie broken down into shorter chapters. Over a span of the next 60 years there were a total of 15 movies made that flew under the Marvel flag. Marvel movies were kind of a thing but not a big thing. Looking at just the last ten years however, there have been a whopping 25 Marvel movies released! Now it’s safe to probably call this phenomenon an actual thing.
Relatively speaking, 20th Century Fox was somewhat of a late arriver to this Marvel comics-to-movies party. The first 20th Century Fox Marvel movie was X-Men (2000). While that particular franchise (including spin-offs) has done very well over over time, the same cannot be said for their other offerings such as Daredevil (2003), Electra (2005) or anything starting with the words Fantastic. As a matter of fact, last year’s Fantastic Four (2015) reboot was so bad that any potential sequels have already been bumped from the production schedule indefinitely. Luckily 20th Century Fox may have an ace up their sleeve with their latest offering, Deadpool. After all, it is another X-Men spin-off.
Ryan Reynolds stars as Wade Wilson, a man with a sketchy past who hasn’t always done the right things for the right reasons. He’s had time to reflect on his past and has improved himself…at least a little. Now, at least, he’s doing some wrong things for the right reasons. Wade performs “good neighborhood deeds” for a price. He accepts odd jobs to rough up those in need of attitude adjustments for various reasons. These jobs are doled out at a local bar run by a guy who goes by the name Weasel (T.J. Miller). It’s at this very establishment where Wade meets a woman who immediately changes his outlook on life. Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) and Wade fall for each other fast and start to see a future for themselves. Unfortunately fate has different plans in store for Wade as he discovers he’s terminally ill. With nothing to lose, Wade agrees to an alternative form of treatment that will change his state of being in fathomable ways. It is here that Deadpool is born.
Speaking freely here, I must admit that I was somewhat skeptical here in regards to how Deadpool would be accepted. Stepping back and looking at the bigger picture, there are more than your fair share of potential red flags. Starting with probably the biggest of them all is the casting of Ryan Reynolds to take on the persona of a masked character with super abilities. The last time Reynolds went that route, everything went up in a giant green ball of smoke which still smolders with disdain and disgust today, almost five years later. Then there’s the studio’s stumble with last year’s Fantastic Four which glaringly demonstrated that audiences aren’t going to flock to these types of comic book movies simply because the commercials tell them to do so. It shouldn’t go unsaid either that this is 20th Century Fox’s first foray into the restricted area as Deadpool is the first rated R Marvel offering that they’ve put out. The last such Marvel movie released was Punisher: War Zone distributed by a different studio back in 2008. It lost more money than Charlie Sheen during a weekend bender in Las Vegas over Super Bowl weekend. Needless to say the odds are stacked high.
The good news is that Deadpool could give two cents about what history dictates. 20th Century Fox made bold decision by giving first-time (at least for feature length films) director Tim Miller a blank check as well as operational freedom to mold this project into the image that he saw fit to lead the studio back into the black. Profits should be realized fairly quickly with action packed Marvel movie that belongs on the naughty list for all of the right reasons. If for some reason it stumbles, it’s because people are just stubborn and refuse to give it a chance. Right from the opening credits it’s vividly clear that all preconceived notions of what a “super hero” film should be are thrown right out of the window. All I will say is that you ain’t in Kansas anymore. Strap yourself in and get ready for a whirlwind ride of wonderful.
The violence is high but not to the point of tasteless gratuity. Everything done has a purpose. The story is engaging and very well laid out, not always in a linear fashion either. The real shine comes from the comedy aspect. Ryan Reynolds just knocks it out of the park. He is a one man laugh-a-minute type of guy. His interactions with a couple of members of Professor Xavier’s mutant X-men team are a pleasure to watch. The continuous banter he and just about anyone that crosses his path is worth the price of admission…more than once. You’ll need to see it multiple times just catch half of the jokes.
The entire encompassing experience of Deadpool is completely enjoyable from the very beginning until the very end. Yes, there is a post-credits scene, actually two of them. Fans will not walk away feeling the least bit cheated in any way. This is money well spent without a doubt. It’s rare for a movie to have this type affect on audiences in February. Though I will say that almost two years ago to the day, audiences were treated to unexpected rated-R delight also released by 20th Century Fox called Kingsman: The Secret Service. So maybe someone over there is onto something. I’m done beaming and gushing for now so head out today and see Deadpool. You can thank me later.

Deadpool is streaming now on the following services:
Movie Reelist Contributor: Carl Wheeler


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