Another I am late to the party on is Deadpool. One of the few R-rated superhero movies, Deadpool ended up as one of the top grossing comic book movies ever made, with great critical and audience response (84% and 90%, respectively, on RottenTomatoes). Ryan Reynolds had been trying to get the movie made for many years, and we all had to suffer through the atrocity against the character perpetrated in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. But finally we got the "merc with a mouth" onto the big screen in all his fourth wall breaking, bloody, profane glory. I gotta say though, my response was...meh.
We're given some nice story layout, as we begin in the middle of the movie, jump back through Deadpool's sardonic flashbacks, and then pick up and charge towards the end. We see Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) fall in love with Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), an escort with a heart of gold. We see Wade's cancer diagnosis which leads him to the extreme experimental treatment that ends up turning him into the seemingly indestructible Deadpool. Along the way he meets famed X-Man Colossus (Stefan Kapicic), a childhood favorite character of mine, as well as Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand), who is Colossus's protege. There's also the standard villains, main guy Ajax (Ed Skrein) and his sidekick Angel Dust (Gina Carano).
First time director Tim Miller shows a fine command of the unfolding of the story, and a terrific incorporation of Colossus, an entirely CGI character. But despite the bawdy humor, language, and fourth wall breaking, it all feels pretty standard. There weren't any surprises. Some of the jokes work, others don't. Some of the action is engaging, some isn't. The arc of the story is one we've seen before, even if the characters are just slightly different. I really get the feeling that this was hailed as something new simply because superhero movies have become such well trod ground that anything that's even surface level different feels monumentally different in comparison.
That said, the actors are all quite engaging and easily watchable. Reynolds is an actor I've liked since I watched him on Two Guys, a Girl, and a Pizza Place in the late 90's. He was made to play a role like this, and is one of the few times he's seemed well used in a movie. Morena Baccarin (or Moreno Baccarat as my auto correct keeps wanting to change it to) is wonderful as the sexy and strong Vanessa, who is less of a damsel in distress than most girlfriend characters in these movies tend to be. I also liked Brianna Hildebrand as Negasonic Teenage Warhead a lot. I'd never heard of the character before, though from what I've seen she's much changed from the comics and was mostly used for the name. Colossus was nice to see, although they twice show him eating even though it's established in the comics I read growing up that he doesn't need to eat or drink anything when in his metallic form. But minor childhood nerd quibble aside, he works in the context of the movie very nicely. Skrein and Carano as the villains are just kinda there. They don't really make any impression. This is really Reynolds' show.
Who knows what we'll get in the next incarnation, but this movie was enjoyable if still a letdown from all the hype that's been built up about it. Reynolds is engaging and the fourth wall breaking was a nice change up from the standard superhero stuff (the self aware opening credits were probably my favorite part of that though). So, good stuff, but not a movie I would've ever seen and thought would be the runaway success it has been as the highest grossing R-rated movie of all time ("except for Jesus", as Deadpool himself pointed out in the Honest Trailer for the movie, The Passion of the Christ is still #1).