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There would be little to no objection to the statement that comic books and graphic novels all the most readily utilized source of material for television and films. With the decades-old rivalry between Marvel comic books and those published by DC escalated from colorfully drawn pages to movies that have budgets in the hundreds of millions of dollars garnering profits commonly topping the $1 billion mark. In order to broaden the audience for such films the studios have traditionally instructed the screenwriters and directors to make certain that the film will receive an MPAA no more severe than PG-13. Although much of the original material, particularly stories and characters derived from more mature graphic novels cannot be faithfully translated to the screen with such a restriction the studios had to face a difficult decision. With the release of ‘Deadpool’ in the Marvel comic universe distribution rights have been divided between those owned by Marvel Studios, a subsidiary of the parent corporation, the Walt Disney Studios. The former maintain the rights to such properties as ‘The X-Men’, ‘The Fantastic Four ‘and ‘Spiderman’ with the latter retaining the rights to the characters currently in the highly profitable Marvel Cinematic Universe granting them access to ‘The Avengers’, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ and ‘Doctor Strange ‘among the myriad of other characters. Marvel Studios has decided to utilize the rights to such characters as ‘Daredevil’, ‘Jessica Jones’ and ‘The Punisher’ by developing those properties is television series release through the streaming video provider Netflix. With such profitable income streams there is understandable degree of trepidation and pushing the MCU into the more mature themes that would warrant an ‘R’ rating. For that we had to look to the 20th Century Fox people. With the latest Marvel -based film, Deadpool, would break ground with the more mature themes that are prevalent in graphic novels. The sardonic nature of this character was able to soften the blow of material that would be considered far too adult for anything less than the R rating. With the perfect casting of Ryan Reynolds in the titular role they had an actor who was completely misused in an attempt to bring a DC hero to the screen but has found his ideal niche portraying the Merck with the mouth.

It would not be correct to refer to the protagonist of this film, Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) as a heroic figure, killing his adversaries comes all too easily for him although he typically is utilizing such murders may have to further a just cause. He was highly trained and legal combat techniques as a member of the United States Special Forces. Now discharged Wade guns his income as a mercenary for hire. Like many others with his skill set and displaced from society Wade is prone to hang out in a bar primarily frequented by mercenaries, ‘Sister Margaret's School for Wayward Children’. Despite his extremely misleading name this is a clearinghouse for clandestine, usually a legal and potentially profitable assignments. The bartender of the establishment, Jack Hammer (T. J. Miller), better known as Weasel , is Wade’s best friend on the pause problem display Deadpool which mercenary will get killed first Jack is not against betting against his friend due to Wade’s often headstrong manner. Jack is more commonly known by his nickname Weasel. The only other two people who are consistently in Wade’s is Blind Al (Leslie Uggams), notably blind woman was more than capable of taking care of itself although she rarely leaves the apartment. In the graphic novels this character had been a prisoner who refused to leave even after released. The romantic interest for Wade is a high-priced escort, Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) is ideal opposite Wade’s position as antihero as a character that can only be described as an anti-damsel in distress. Although the relationship started out as professional the click that such a deep level that money was no longer necessary for them to enjoy each other’s company.

The pivotal moment for the story is when Wade is discovers that he has terminal cancer. Soon after he is recruited by mysterious man (Jed Rees) into the highly covert Weapon X program which is designed to combine the use of a special serum in a course of inflicting extreme pain over a prolonged period of time in order to force the mutation of special abilities in the subject. In the graphic novel the mad scientist and a successful example of the program has been amalgamated into a single character, Francis Freeman (Ed Skrein) usually known by his nom de guerre, Ajax. Having gone through the force mutation he has greatly enhanced strength and since the procedure destroyed most of his nerve endings he is unable to feel pain of any sort. His assistant is also a Weapon X alumnus, Angel Dust (Gina Carano) through the treatment procedure has been superhuman strength, stamina and speed. She is completely loyal to Ajax. The Weapon X program is held out to Wade as his only hopes curing the cancer that is slowly killing him. He is placed into a tank filled with fluid and constantly kept that the point of drowning producing a state of unending torment and agony. He finally emerges with the exception of abilities they had hoped for manifesting at a level far beyond the expectations. The one downside is that his body, particularly his face, is massively scarred. He has near instantaneous healing including the ability to regrow amputated body parts since the scars were induced by the treatment they will never heal. Ajax torments Wade, now taking the name of Deadpool, by insisting he’s the only one who can cure his appearance.

Wade has kept himself away from Vanessa allowing her to think that he is dead because he cannot subject her to his appearance as it is. The only one who seems to want him is Professor Charles Xavier, founder of the X-Men. One of the most entertaining attributes of Deadpool in the comics was his penchant for breaking the fourth wall and speaking directly to the audience referring to elements of the story that would not make sense to the characters within context of it. For example when two of the X-Men, Colossus (voiced by Stefan Kapičić) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) tell him they are taking him to The Professor Deadpool asks "which one, McAvoy or Stewart?" A running set of gags throughout the film consistently pokes fun at the fact that the budget was significantly reduced making this the lowest budgeted Marvel film ever. A climactic scene featuring a huge amount of firepower is reduced to a shot of Deadpool feeling a duffel bag with every weapon he can conceivably find only to lose it on the way to the battle. You’re supposed fun at the fact that they didn’t have the budget for any more than two X-Men and Colossus is never seen in his human form. The dénouement is forced upon Deadpool when Ajax and Angel Dust kidnap Vanessa divorce Deadpool to join forces with them. With no other options available to him Deadpool is forced to go to the Xavier mansion and as the only to residents for their help.

While most films would be ruined by such a major reduction in the working budget this one literally turned such an obstacle into a major plot point by having many of Deadpool snarky comments directly aimed at such budgetary cuts. Not only fits in the completely antiestablishment attitude of the character from the graphic novels is ideally suited to Ryan Reynolds. He has always done best when he is portrayed characters reception acerbic wit and complete lack of internal sensor to mitigate what comments he makes. Even pokes fun at the failure of Green Lantern by pleading to Ajax that is costume not be green or animated. Reynolds has been honing his skill set with such an attitude for much of his career. The earliest example I can think of is when he was in a television series initially called ‘Two Guys, A Girl and a Pizza Place’ his character was definitely a prototype for the Merck with the mouth. In the final season they dropped the pizza place from the title and add another character played by Nathan Filion was secured his place in every comic con ever is playing the captain of the Serenity in the brilliant but canceled series, ‘Firefly’.

The stunned work is absolutely stunning with some of the most imaginative use of slow-motion action ever portrayed on the screen. While it is commonplace to have the characters slowdown in midair as they fire off an amazing amount of bullets in this film they use the time for more wisecracks from Deadpool and amazingly entertaining number of sight gags. The movie literally opens up in the midst of such an action sequence that strictly goes into a flashback. The fact that the director, Tim Miller, is able to incorporate such typically overused techniques such as matrix style slowdowns in such a novel and creative way as considerably to the enjoyment quotient provided by this movie. It is a cinematic gem that touches on every single one of the fundamental elements to a good story including such requisite components as, romance, comedy, the sword of Damocles in the ticking clock counting down to doom. This is definitely a film you want to watch repeatedly since there are so many Easter rakes contained within it. One of the more widely publicized is the fact that the final battle takes place on the decommissioned S.H.I.E.L.D. flying carrier. If a studio was going to break ground with the first R-rated comic book movie it’s reassuring that they made certain that throne would be one of the best of the genre.

bulletDeleted/Extended Scenes with Optional Audio Commentary by Director Tim Miller
bulletGag Reel
bulletFrom Comics to Screen... to Screen
bulletGallery (Concept Art, Costumes, Storyboards, Pre-vis, Stunt-vis)
bulletDeadpool's Fun Sack
bulletAudio Commentary by Ryan Reynolds and Screenwriters Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick
bulletAudio Commentary by Director Tim Miller and Deadpool Co-Creator/Comics Artist Rob Liefeld

Posted 05/06/2016

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