Yes, I was 12-years-old once. But I haven’t been that age for a long time. And I’m just not very impressed with “Deadpool”. Oh, I can admire a certain level of the film’s smarminess and self-proclaimed (constantly) anti-establishment bent. But you can’t spend an hour and 45 minutes mocking the conventions of an entire genre, and then slavishly follow those very same touchstones for the majority of your running time. In other words, “Deadpool”, and its creative team, are nowhere near as clever as they appear to think they are. In fact, when you begin to repeat your pop culture references, I’ll surmise that you’re not very clever at all. This new Marvel franchise appears to be singing to middle-aged men who still live in their parents’ basement. And there’s only so much 1980’s mainstream trivia porn I can stomach.
Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds, in solid comic form) is a former military operative living in New York City. He supports himself as a mercenary, and soon meets (and marries) Vanessa (Morena Baccarin, who hits her marks while wearing a garter)–a hooker with a heart-of-gold. Then Wade is diagnosed with terminal cancer, and he runs away so that Vanessa won’t be able to watch him die. When approached by a mystery man, to participate in an experimental procedure that could cure his disease, Wade accepts. Soon, he discovers that he’s being used for nefarious purposes. While locked in an oxygenated chamber, his cancer is indeed wiped out. But he also develops incredible healing powers. However, it also leaves him constantly disfigured, with a body full of burn-like scars. And he’s pissed.
Okay…it’s not all bad news. Mr. Reynolds is winning as the title character, and his timing is razor sharp. Hey, good for him that he got another shot at a superhero franchise, after the disastrous reception given to 2011’s “Green Lantern”. Of course, this is something that the fourth-wall-breaking “Deadpool” riffs on–more than once. Ha ha. It’s so darn self-congratulory. Experiencing the renowned Leslie Uggams chew scenery as a profane, blind, elderly sidekick is pretty cool. Plus, is it a spoiler if I say that there’s a Stan Lee cameo? I just don’t believe first-time feature director Tim Miller brings very much to the table here. It’s like, when in doubt, pipe in a Wham! song. Of course, it’s been a gigantic worldwide smash. But I hope the confirmed sequel is an improvement over Round One.