Starring Ryan Reynolds. Rated 14A.
It’s not normally a recommendation when you say that a movie peaks during its credit sequence. And as far as that goes, people who like their films with mature and intelligent themes, good taste, and a hero they can admire should probably look elsewhere.
But we are talking about Deadpool here, the Merc With a Mouth, arguably the quirkiest character in Marvel’s comic-book lineup.
He’s the most incorrigible sort of criminal: a killer for money. His Wolverine-like healing factor makes him almost impossible to kill, so there are no real physical stakes. As he’s a meta-aware, relentlessly facetious chatterbox who knows that he’s a fictional character, any plot built around Deadpool seems arbitrary and mostly an excuse for gags.
All of that is on the page. The shock and glory is seeing this loopy sensibility transferred to the screen with little softening and no apology. That’s one reason why Deadpool seems to start with its best material: a really terrific sequence in which an ambush turns into a car chase whose numerous moving, bleeding parts explain the lengthy shutdown of the Georgia Viaduct last spring. Director Tim Miller, who comes from an effects background, has a great eye for details, most of them also pretty good jokes.
I didn’t enjoy the hard turn into the origin story, which stops the narrative cold and is based on the unwelcome realism of a character getting cancer. However, it does let us see Ryan Reynolds flirt with Morena Baccarin as they make dark banter and generally look unreasonably attractive together as two well-matched ruffians.
Then there is the scene in which Wade Wilson (Reynolds) is engineered into being Deadpool, a process involving comic-book science and some not very charismatic villains in Ed Skrein and Gina Carano. But they do give Deadpool a justification for his odd fashion choice of 1911s and crossed katanas.