Saturday, February 20, 2016

In theatres: Deadpool (2016)

Marvel Comics rolls out the first of its movies for 2016, this one from 20th Century Fox, as it has its ties to the X-Men franchise.

"Deadpool" has zero to do with "X-Men Origins: Wolverine", which is where moviegoers were first introduced to Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds). In that film, Wilson was part of the same Weapon X program that ultimately created Wolverine. Not so here. Instead, Wilson is just getting to first base with a woman he just met named Vanessa (Morena Baccarin, Gotham) when he learns he has cancer. He signs up for what is promised to be some sort of experiment to give him enhanced abilities and powers, but, because this is a diametric opposite of your average superhero movie, Wade is mutated into, for lack of a better term, a living zombie. Virtually unkillable (we think), with a healing factor to rival that of Wolverine.

Now, and after giving himself his code name, Deadpool goes after the quack that turned him into a poster boy for the Centers for Disease Control, one Francis Freeman, code named Ajax. While he's stronger than dirt, Freeman doesn't have a lemony fresh shine to him. On the other hand, his assistant, Angel Dust (Gina Carano) holds her own with the X-Men's Colossus, who's tagging along for the ride to provide the sledgehammer for the viewer that, yes, Deadpool is part of the X family tree.

"Deadpool" bites the hand that feeds it, parodying every superhero movie trope & cliche you can think of, and still have room for Stan Lee to make an appearance, this time as a DJ at the strip club where Vanessa works. It's Lee's first appearance in a Marvel-Fox movie since "X-Men: The Last Stand" 10 years ago, which tells you something about the corporate discord between Fox & Marvel Studios. Unfortunately, while the trailer ensemble includes "Captain America: Civil War", due May 6, it doesn't include "X-Men Apocalypse", which follows 3 weeks later. Hmmmmm.

Speaking of trailers, here's "Deadpool":

Once upon a time, when he was introduced 25 years ago, Deadpool was conceived as a serious, villainous character. Then, someone thought he might be better served as a comedy character. Sort of like a humanoid Daffy Duck on steroids. After making major moo-lah-dee as "Green Lantern" five years ago, although the movie was critically panned, and after "The Losers" tanked, Reynolds has finally found his comic book franchise. Maybe.

Rating: B-.

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