3 ½ stars
[Non-comic nerds can skip to the second paragraph if you are so inclined…]
I must admit that I hated this character when he first came out in the comics in the early nineties. My favorite comic book series of the eighties The New Mutants was basically ruined by the writer/artist who created this character. Rob Liefield took over the book in 1991 and transformed a fascinating and daringly drawn book about teen mutants navigating an adult world of superheroes into a ridiculous hyper-violent mess. Deadpool was one of his first creations and I admit my hate is mostly by association with Liefield; later on I bought the first issue of Deadpool’s own series and enjoyed it immensely, though by then my comic collecting was on the wane.
Happily I can report that the movie version is highly enjoyable. Ryan Reynolds, who played a version of the Wade Wilson character before in the best-forgotten X-men Origins: Wolverine returns for the fully fleshed out version. He is perfectly cast as the wisecracking mercenary who volunteers for an experimental procedure to cure his cancer that leaves him with a Wolverine-like super-healing ability, plus a super-ugly skin condition.
Also perfectly cast, for a change, is “British villain” Ed Skrein who I was beginning to feel sorry for. His part as Daario in Game of Thrones recast in favour of the more conventionally handsome Dutchman Michiel Huisman, his hoped-for star turn in The Transporter Refueled a flop, he has taken this third pitch and knocked it out of the park. Those creepy-hot looks (admit it, sometimes it’s the best kind of hot) burn up the screen and he and Reynolds seem to have more sexual tension than the latter has with his actual romantic interest.
On the comedy side, the movie gets a lot of mileage out of throwing in a couple of B and D-list X-men for Deadpool to mock. Colossus, here a completely-CGI character, is a towering Russian goody-two-shoes persistently trying to get Wade to turn hero. Meanwhile, goth-girl Negasonic Teenage Warhead (yes, it is indeed the coolest superhero name ever) steals her scenes with every eye-roll. And bringing this review back to the comic-book nerds, you will notice that Negasonic in fact has the powers and the costume of the New Mutant named Cannonball. Dare we hope that this means a New Mutants movie is on the horizon?