Ryan Reynolds and director Tim Miller have been teasing the possibility of a Deadpool movie for years. Then a piece of test footage leaked out and went viral, prompting the studio to gamble on something so edgy as a hard-R film about a fourth wall-breaking, foulmouthed, katana-happy superhero. Now that the film is actually coming to theaters, is it everything fans hoped it would be?
The short answer is yes, but the long answer is meh. Here’s why. The marketing campaign set some pretty high expectations; Reynolds has been entertaining to watch as he jokes about testicular cancer, online click baits, The Bachelor, Golden Girls, and that smiling poop emoji, to name a few. According to EW’s Chris Nashawaty, the gags riffed in the film itself don’t always land.
“The jokes in Deadpool are delivered with such a sly, smart-aleck wink that it takes a while to figure out that it’s selling a jokey tone rather than actual jokes half the time. But it’s got the perfect salesman in Reynolds.” he writes in his B review. Despite the more critical reactions, it still seems to check off all the boxes on fans’ wish lists: raunchy, bloody, and entertaining.
Read more from Nashawaty’s review below, in addition to other critical receptions.
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Chris Nashawaty (Entertainment Weekly)
“Even with a face that’s been horrifically crispified into what his pal (Silicon Valley’s T.J. Miller) likens to the offspring of an avocado that had sex with an older avocado, Reynolds and his character are a blast of laughing gas in a genre that tends to take itself way too seriously. Deadpool may not be a cutting-edge comedy, but it is a cutting-edge Marvel movie. And right now, that’s something.”
Justin Chang (Variety)
“Fast, ferocious and inevitably a bit too pleased with its own cleverness, this Fox-produced offshoot of the X-Men series nevertheless can’t help but feel like a nasty, nose-thumbing tonic next to the shinier delegations of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as represented by Disney’s Avengers franchise (and its various subfranchises) and Sony’s not-so-amazing Spider-Man movies. Better still, Deadpool knows exactly how to use Reynolds, an actor whose smooth leading-man good looks have long disguised one of the sharpest funnyman sensibilities in the business, as fans of The Proposal, Definitely, Maybe and the underrated Just Friends can attest.”
Todd McCarthy (The Hollywood Reporter)
“The final showdown is very small potatoes by Marvel standards and, of course, predictable, but compensates with humor, which is what floats the entire project. The script has the feel of something gone over again and again and yet again to double the number of jokes each time. The machine gun approach doesn’t always hit, but it does enough so that, in the end, the number of laughs is pretty high.”
Peter Bradshaw (The Guardian)
“The whole feel of Deadpool and the way it is written and directed is in many ways like something by action maestro Shane Black, who sent up his own tropes amusingly in the film Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. The problem is that by letting Deadpool be both the good guy and the bad guy, by letting him have the bad guy’s prerogative of making acidly witty remarks, there isn’t all that much for the actual bad guy to do.”
Alonso Duralde (The Wrap)
“Deadpool is one of those movies that’s all the more successful for how easily it could have gone so very wrong. It’s suffused with an arch, self-aware wit – its titular hero violates the fourth wall more than Groucho Marx, Bugs Bunny and Ambush Bug put together – yet it takes its romance and revenge storylines just seriously enough to keep us engaged.”
Jonathan Pile (Empire)
“It’s at its best in its moments of meta-humor — Deadpool wondering whether it’ll be James McAvoy or Patrick Stewart in charge at the X-Mansion, or bemoaning the budgetary reasons that mean the only two X-Men he ever gets to actually meet are metallic giant Colossus (Stefan Kapičić) and sullen youngster Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand). But its comedic currency tends to the less cerebral, and your reaction to the relentless stream of jokes about masturbation and oral sex will depend how high Van Wilder: Party Liaison is on your list of favourite Ryan Reynolds films.”
Robbie Collin (The Telegraph)
“The fourth-wall-smashing is fun in a Ferris Bueller kind of way, but it’s never pulled off with the devious panache of Blazing Saddles, let alone Funny Games or Hellzapoppin’. Since it’s this stuff, rather than the ongoing thud-thud-thud of bad language and gore, that feels mould-breaking, it’s a pity Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick’s screenplay doesn’t have the courage to experiment a little more.”
Kate Erbland (Indiewire)
“Reynolds is at his best here as Deadpool (and, alternately, as Wade), all snappy jokes and sly one-liners. He’s genuinely fun (he’s funny, too, sure, but really, he’s fun) and he seems to relish the chance to give his chimichanga-loving hero the main stage that many people have so long desired. In a landscape where superhero roles are too often seen as paycheck parts, Reynolds breaks the mold. Too bad his film doesn’t.”
Overall Metacritic rating (1-100): 66
Rotten Tomatoes: 100 percent
Length: 108 minutes
Starring Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, T.J. Miller, Ed Skrein, Gina Carano, Brianna Hildebrand
Directed by Tim Miller
Distributor: 20th Century Fox