A welcomed distraction to all the seriousness of the year-end glut of Oscar nominees. Deadpool, and Ryan Reynolds, was a R-rated, irreverent entry to Fox's Marvel Cinematic Universe that was fun but never really laugh out loud funny, violent but oddly gratuitously un-goresome, and towards the end, way too overly self-referentially meta to be effective anymore. The best praise for the film will be that the concept itself would have made for an excellent Netflix series!
T.J. Miller is a competent director and the film went along speedily through it 108 minutes as Rhett Reese's and Paul Wenick's script weaved through time to present an origin/love story for the eponymous character. You know you are in for a different sort of MCU movie when you hear the word "mutant" being uttered (instead of "enhanced" or "inhumans") and when you see your first blood splatter.
Although Miller's opening sequence set the tone for the title character, it also unfortunately set his unoriginal directing style. An over-reliance on slow-mo for the sake of slow-mo with an over-contrasted palette reminiscence of 300. Also, the initial fun and hilarity of having Deadpool breaking the fourth wall slowly became repetitive and annoying, but at least the meta-jokes worked better. Even the use of 80s-era pop songs over key scenes - a la Guardians of the Galaxy - got overbearing towards the end. At least the last song was not "Don't You (Forget About Me)". That would have been too much!
The film strongest element was its cast. And the believable chemistry between Reynolds and Morena Baccarin.
Reynolds, and his voice-acting, really, finally found a franchise worthy of his dashing good looks and brilliant comic timing. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately for Reynolds, as a character, Deadpool was only superficially explored and Miller et al did not really plunged into his madness and angst. The result was Reynolds coming off as more of an insecure wimp with a motormouth rather than a mad psychopath with a broken heart.
Baccarin was a highlight of the film and the mad love affair between her and Reynolds was actually believable. Her heartache was much more palpable than Reynolds', It is a pity then that she winded up as nothing more than a plot device/damsel in distress.
Ed Skrein has a great screen presence and poses as an intimidating villain, but like almost all MCU villains he came across as one-dimensional and over-simplified.
With such rich characters and backstory, and with such a resounding success from Netflix's Daredevil and Jessica Jones, Deadpool and Ajax would have made for great TV. What a shame!
Stay till the end for the end-credits scenes!