Deadpool’s Dead Cool Debut

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Despite spending over a decade in development, Deadpool finally arrives in theatres and the big question on everybody’s mind is, “Was it worth it?”

Short answer, yes! It’s nice to see a superhero movie fully embrace everything that a solid R-rating (14A in Canada) affords with all the blood, guts, and nudity you’d expect from Deadpool. Especially if you’re starting to get bored of the bright and squeaky-clean image of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or the dark and brooding direction DC has decided to go with their movies, which includes the upcoming Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice.

If you’ve been longing for a superhero movie that’s gratuitously gory and violent, yet somehow light hearted and hilarious, well, here it is.

Due to studio property rights, the Deadpool movie is a spin-off of 20th Century Fox’s X-Men film franchise, as you may remember Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but the less said about that, the better. The new movie is a reboot and a massive improvement over Deadpool’s previous onscreen portrayal because this time, it’s actually faithful to the comics. The ‘Merc with the Mouth’, famous for never, ever shutting up, has finally got his mouth, and groove back.

Ryan Reynolds (whose alliterative name by the way already sounds like a superhero’s alter ego) plays Wade Wilson, better known as Deadpool. A former special forces operative, he signs up for an experimental procedure to try and cure his stage four cancer (check out Deadpool’s PSAs for testicular and breast cancer), which leaves him horribly disfigured, with a healing factor that rivals Wolverine’s (effectively keeping his cancer at bay). Left for dead, he sets out to get revenge on the sadistic scientists who did this to him.

Deadpool is famous for his constant fourth wall breaking, which means he’s aware that he’s in a comic book (or in this case, film), and they waste no time from the opening credits, which instead of names, is full of sarcasm (ie. starring “Hot Pretty Idiot”), amid shots of Hugh Jackman’s and Ryan Reynold’s People magazine covers for Sexiest Man Alive.

The movie has an undeniable connection to Vancouver, having been shot here and starring one of our very own, and it’s a fun game spotting all the familiar streets and landmarks and being able to yell (to nobody in particular) “I’ve been there!” Especially prominent is the Georgia viaduct, which commuters may remember being closed for a couple weeks back in April 2015 for shooting.

That Georgia viaduct action set piece is a highlight of the movie, and you may never look at it the same way ever again. We can take comfort in the fact that whether the viaduct stays or goes, at least it has been immortalized in film. Another Vancouver ‘landmark’ that makes an appearance is the No. 5 Orange, the (in)famous strip club at the corner of Powell and Main St.

Speaking of the No. 5 Orange, there is a ton of nudity, but don’t despair, it’s not just boobs. In the name of equal opportunity, Reynolds goes full frontal, in a fight scene in a burning down building, along with a sex montage to Neil Sedaka’s “Calendar Girl” that covers all the holidays, plus some pegging. Kinky stuff.

The laughs fly as fast as the bullets, and it’s amazing how well they got the tone right, dropping F-bombs like they’re hot with a litany of masterful masturbation jokes and the merciless mocking of Reynold’s previous superhero portrayals (such as Green Lantern and even his Deadpool from X-Men Origins: Wolverine). The violence is also comically over the top, full of limb amputations, decapitations, stabbings, and blood galore.

The plot and story are relatively by the numbers because at this point, we all know the beats for a superhero origin story, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing when it’s so much fun. Ryan Reynold’s is clearly having a blast, and with that kind of enthusiasm it’s hard not to get infected yourself. The advance screening was packed full of the Comic Con crowd, with multiple people cosplaying in full Deadpool outfit, and based on audience reaction, they loved it.

If you’re easily offended, this movie’s not for you. If you’re unsure, for a quick litmus test take a look at Deadpool’s emoji billboard. If you liked it, Deadpool should be right up your alley.