They say that you can’t keep a good man down.
Deadpool, just for clarification’s sake, is not a good man — or at least he’s no Captain America.
The cinematic progeny of a misbegotten “X-Men” spinoff and some leaked test footage, 20th Century Fox’s latest foray into the capes and tights genre opens Friday and centers on the Marvel Comics character colloquially known as “the merc with the mouth.”
That nickname isn’t a misnomer. Deadpool kills people — usually an assortment of crime bosses and assassins — but it still makes him the round peg in a world of square-jawed heroes, like the kind that will hit big screens in next month’s “Batman vs. Superman.”
It helps that this bloody baggage comes attached to a likable face, one that recently appeared in duplicate during a Super Bowl ad for Hyundai.
Fox first tapped actor Ryan Reynolds to play Deadpool for a low-key cameo in 2009’s “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” a mammoth misstep of a movie.
When test footage for an all but aborted spinoff film leaked online in 2014, it was the shot in the arm that Deadpool fans had been waiting for — a red and black clad Reynolds mugging to the camera, dropping f-bombs and using the severed head of an enemy to perform an impromptu puppet show.
The stuff of Saturday morning cartoons it was not.
Internet chatter was so positive that Fox gave the movie a green light just a few days later and now here they sit, the proprietors of the rare R-rated superhero movie that also has the fringe benefit of spotlighting an off-kilter character so devotedly post-sanity that he’s prone to breaking the fourth wall addressing the reader with a barrage of risqué quips and wry observations.
Due to the phrase “an adrenaline fueled explosion of self-reflexive and post-modernist fun” being largely absent from reviews of most major blockbusters, it’s difficult to guess exactly how “Deadpool” will fare this weekend.
The timing seems right. With the tropes of superhero cinema having been so well ingrained in the public consciousness by traditionalists like Spider-Man, the moment seems ripe for someone to come along and start carving away at the genre from the inside — and who better than a guy that carries two swords?
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