“Deadpool” is a lot like a cute little puppy.
I know, I know, but stick with me here. Puppies can be so loud and obnoxious sometimes, so obsessed with constant attention that they never calm down.
They also tend to splatter bodily fluids all over the place and seem to enjoy doing it.
Despite all of that, they are so good-natured and mind-blowingly sincere that you can’t resist their charm. Their impulsive immaturity and need for affection is what ends up making them so endlessly lovable.
The same can be said for “Deadpool.”
In case you have been living under a rock, or in case you just happen to be older than 30, Deadpool is an R-rated superhero who regularly takes part in graphic acts of violence, sexuality and sarcasm. He is the anti-Superman in every sense of the word.
Other than being grossly inappropriate, Deadpool is also well-known for “breaking the fourth wall.” H is aware of his fictional existence and even speaks directly to the audience about it.
These qualities have made him a subversive, underground icon used for poking fun at the conventions of the comic book genre.
Don’t fool yourself into thinking “Deadpool” is only about being edgy and ironic though. It succeeds where lazy, nerd-pandering schlock like “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” fails. “Deadpool” actually has a soul.
This is in large part due to Ryan Reynolds, who knocks his performance out of the park.
It is rare for someone to own a role as thoroughly as Reynolds does here. It is impossible to imagine someone else embodying the role on his level. Deadpool would be such an easy character to accidentally make annoying, but Reynolds walks the tightrope perfectly.
The rest of the cast is less impressive, but strong overall. The characters of Colossus and Weasel are other standouts, while the villain, Ajax, is one of the disappointments. He is played by the professionally-boring Ed Skrein, whose only convincing performance thus far has been tricking several studios into thinking he will be a viable leading man someday.
The antagonism in the film is a bigger problem here than just Skrein.
Deadpool doesn’t face particularly imposing obstacles, mostly just the standard fare. As outlandish and creative as our protagonist is, the story itself is pretty conventional. We even get a perfunctory origin story that takes up way too much screen time, which is the kind of cliché that Deadpool himself would probably mock in other superhero movies.
These complaints are mostly nitpicks since “Deadpool” works in all the dynamics where it is supposed to work. It is shocking and hilarious and offers a swift kick in the pants to a genre growing overly safe and stagnant.
“Deadpool” earns 8 “guys, a girl and a pizza place” out of 10.