Marvel's SuperHero template is now so standardized & rigid, this recent addition to the product line can toe-the-line even as it razzes the formula. Or so it would have you think. It’s really kidding on the square, finding new paths to old profitable verities. Right from the opening credits, a self-reflexive gag that lists character types in place of specific people, it’s raunchy & relentless, grabbing laughs with the pacing and rat-a-tat-tat rhythms of an insult comedian, pummeling us into submission. (Hey, Mr. Deadpool! You win already!) For non-fanboys, the structure can feel off-balance: an origin story about a Special Forces Mercenary-turned rechargeable SuperHero that hits the ground running in its second act before falling back to the beginning to play catch-up. Happily, newbie director Tim Miller & his team know that sometimes less is more, turning in a film nearly half an hour shorter than your average Marvel Man at just 100 minutes. It’s almost as fit & lean as Ryan Reynolds, showing lots of appeal (and ass) as the Motor-Mouth Wonder Boy. Good thing, too, since the rest of the film consists of him playing various games of catch with an assortment of lesser supporting players: sidekick, cabbie, lover, baddies and some pleasingly farfetched CGI ultra-violence. Maybe the next chapter will have more in the tank than wiseass wisecracks to offer. (Plus an equally tight budget to keep the creatives from spoiling the child.)
SCREWY THOUGHT OF THE DAY: Kudos to whomever came up with that well chosen ‘oldies’ song list. And, speaking of oldies, for casting Leslie Uggams (Leslie Uggams!) as Deadpool’s Blind Housekeeper.