I should probably start off this review by stating that if you’re a fan of the character, you’re probably going to love Deadpool. Ryan Reynolds has been working to get this character properly adapted to the big screen for years now and it’s just as juvenile and profane as fans of the comic would expect. But for non-fans, this sporadically entertaining film is essentially one joke stretched out to 108 minutes. This could have been fine if the humor had been more successful or the action scenes more interesting, but both those aspects of the film fall flat on their face. Directed by Tim Miller, Deadpool isn’t nearly as funny, clever or violent as it thinks it is; it feels like the equivalent of watching an 8-year-old who just learned how to swear.

Before becoming Deadpool, Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) worked as a mercenary for hire in New York City, where he fell in love with a prostitute named Vanessa Carlysle (Morena Baccarin). Just after proposing to her, Wilson collapses and soon discovers that cancer has ravaged his body. In a last ditch effort to save his life, Wilson signs up for an experimental treatment led by Ajax (Ed Skrein), who puts his patients through severe trauma, hoping to unlock a mutant gene within them. Never losing his sense of humor, Wilson angers Ajax and is forced into an oxygen deprivation chamber as a result. This ruins his physical appearance, but gives him the ability to heal almost any injury possible. He escapes from the lab and sets out on a mission to seek revenge on his captor.

With its vulgar character who continually breaks the fourth-wall, Deadpool is admittedly different from most superhero flicks, but instead of feeling like a breath of fresh air, it’s a decidedly more eye-rolling experience. There are so many attempts at humor throughout the film that fall completely flat and we’re expected to laugh simply because it’s coming out of Deadpool’s mouth. When Deadpool says that his costume is red so enemies don’t see him bleed, he praises an adversary for wearing brown pants. Not only is this joke older than dirt, but writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick seem to think that’s it’s actually funny and not just funny in an ironically bad way. The film probably makes close to 500 attempts at humor and only five or so are actually successful. That’s a weak ratio for a film that prides itself on the humor of its lead character.

Maybe this could have been forgiven if the film’s core as a superhero movie had been better, but there’s not much interesting here when it comes to the story or the action either. The plot feels like a lame superhero origin story from the early 2000s and the action isn’t much better. Miller’s direction is competent, so the action certainly isn’t terrible, but it’s horribly underwhelming. There are essentially only two major action sequences, which bookend the film and aren’t particularly memorable. The first action scene is essentially a remake of the Deadpool test footage which leaked a few years ago and the climactic sequence takes place in one of the most unoriginal action locales: a scrapyard. Maybe these fight scenes would have been more fun if the film had done more with the violence; for a film that seems to thoroughly embrace its R-rating, it’s hardly as violent as it could have been.

Props definitely need to go to Ryan Reynolds, who gives the film everything he’s got, but all of his effort doesn’t amount to much. Aside from a few clever jokes and some fun appearances from X-men characters Colossus (Stefan Kapičić) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand), this is basically a feature-length risk that doesn’t pay off. I suppose it could have been worse, but if the humor had been more clever and the action sequences more interesting, Deadpool could have been so much better.

Deadpool receives 1.5/4

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