Pop quiz - do you know how much revenue this latest offering from The Marvel Comics Studio generated on it’s opening weekend last month? Answer – over $100 million, making it the first R-rated film ever to reach that box office milestone and now on its way to a $500 million take worldwide.
This satiric riff on the plethora of “super hero” films that have graced the world’s movie screens in the wake of StarWars headlines Ryan Reynolds, the personable 40 year old Canadian who has appeared in romantic comedies (The Proposal) action films (R.I.P.D., The Green Lantern) thrillers, (Safe House) and dramas (Woman in Gold, Mississippi Grind). His career thus far has made him a relatively well-known actor; this vehicle turns him into a star.
Tim Mitchel, Deadpool’s first time director, has already amassed an impressive career in his own right as an animator, visual effects artist and Oscar-nominated creator of short films. He collaborates here with screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, who previously partnered on the script of Woody Harrelson’s Zombieland, a deadpan takeoff on the horror genre. With tongues firmly in cheek, this trio turns the genial Reynolds into Wade, a foul-mouthed former Special Forces operative bent on revenging himself on those responsible for turning his battle with terminal cancer into a bizarre experiment that’s left him with super powers and the worst case of facial psoriasis vulgaris ever seen on the big screen.
The Reese/Wernick dialogue is consistently vulgar, intermittently witty and exhaustively focused on a target audience weaned on B-grade television series and outdated comic book characters. Mitchel propels the movie’s maniacal action sequences with crisp visual imagery and the supporting cast has cool names like “Negasonic Teenage Warhead”. The result is compulsively frenetic, technically impressive and above all, shrewdly aimed at those pop culture aficionados who’ll take great pleasure in unearthing the hidden cultural nuggets in the storyline’s subtext.
The Verdict? Fast, loud and gleefully vulgar – but hard to understand, let alone appreciate, if you’re over 40.
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