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As far as superheroes go, Deadpool isn’t all that interesting. He’s basically a cross between Wolverine and Spider-man, with the former’s healing power (but not the claws) and begrudging sense of morality and the latter’s penchant for wisecracking – turned up to 11. He’s been a big hit with comic book readers who find Spider-man’s morality – never cussing or swearing or drinking or dating a hooker, and definitely never killing a bad guy – belongs to a world they don’t live in. Guys like Wolverine are dark, moody anti-heroes; Deadpool is a bright, happy anti-hero, who won’t hesitate to shoot a henchman in the head.

That’s what sets Deadpool apart, and an irreverent, meta attitude what sets “Deadpool” (the movie) apart from, say, “Captain America.” This isn’t the first send-up/subversion/parody of the conventions and rules of the superhero genre, (see: “Kick-Ass,” or “Ant-Man,” or “Super,” or, arguably, Joel Schumacher’s Batman movies in the ‘90s) but it might be the best executed. As irreverent and raunchy as it is, as much as it earns its “R” rating, “Deadpool” never feels truly transgressive, and that’s fine with me. I would rather laugh than squirm. And underneath all that language and gratuitous nudity, this is still a film about a good guy rescuing his girl from a bad guy.

Ryan Reynolds is the good guy, Morena Baccarin is the girl, and Ed Skrein is the bad guy. When Reynolds is diagnosed with terminal cancer, he lets himself be experimented on by Skrein, and the result both turns him invincible and horribly ugly. And it hurts a lot. When he burns down the facility and escapes, he’s convinced that only Skrein can restore him to Sexiest Man Alive status, so, before he goes back to Baccarin, he decides to hunt him down and only hurt him a little (or maybe a lot) instead of killing him. Of course, this plan backfires, because if you think the girl you love won’t love you back because you look funny, your plans are bound to backfire.

This is a funny movie, funny like that friend of yours who tells the best jokes when they’re drunk and the filters are off. When they’re trying to be funny, they fall flat; it’s when they’re just reacting to shit that the laughs start flowing. And “Deadpool” is like that – every now and then, it has to slow down, get serious, and pay attention to its (overly conventional) plot. It’s during those times that it shows that really its sense of humor is really all it has going for it. When “Deadpool” is sober, it’s nearly unbearable; when it’s on the juice, it’s a real hoot.

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Posted in All Reviews, by Will Krischke.

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