DEADPOOL | ★★★½

I cannot think of a film with a better marketing campaign or a more well-timed release than "Deadpool." 20th Century Fox has taken great care to make sure its potty-mouthed protagonist reaches its faithful fanbase and connects with unfamiliar viewers. The film's Valentine's Day weekend release also offers movie-goers a riotous alternative to the imbecilic rom-coms and overly amorous dramas featured during the heart-shaped holiday. "Deadpool" also seeks to separate itself from typical Marvel fare by injecting humor ranging from the irreverent to the meta. It's not exactly a satire, nor was it ever really meant to be, but "Deadpool" is still a fun-filled detour for those who desire more blood and more f-bombs in their superhero movies.

Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) has just met the love of his life, a life that happens to be threatened by terminal cancer. Hoping to cure his illness and spare his girlfriend Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) from the pain of his death, Wade subjects himself to the Weapon X program. The grueling, painful treatment, led by Ajax (Ed Skrein), grants Wade accelerated healing powers, but it also robs him of his good looks with severe scarring. Bitter, vengeful, and now slightly insane, Wade assumes the costumed identity of Deadpool and hunts down Ajax for nearly destroying his life.

Following one of the greatest opening credits sequences ever made, director Tim Miller wastes no time in assuring fans that this Deadpool will be enough to make up for the one that was so horribly realized in "X-Men Origins: Wolverine." Deadpool's own awareness of his disgraceful past makes for a few good quips that will surely erase his previous incarnation from memory. The fourth-wall-breaking habits of the character are used to great effect, as the Merc with a Mouth comments on the inconsistencies of the "X-Men" franchise, chastises Fox itself for previously sewing his mouth shut and even reminds the audience of how sexy Ryan Reynolds is.

Speaking of Ryan Reynolds, let's talk about perfect casting. Not since Robert Downey Jr.'s debut as Iron Man has the superhero genre seen such a marvelous marriage between actor and role until now. It may not have seemed that way during the dreaded "Wolverine" spinoff, but there is no denying that Reynolds was born to play Deadpool. On top of that, his chemistry with the film's lesser known co-stars is just as charismatic. Scenes with Reynolds and Baccarin are appropriately sweet, keeping both Wade and the audience grounded where the film's heart truly lies. The two share of a number of laughable, lovable and wildly sexual moments together, but their flame is best kindled during airtight exchanges of silence.

"Deadpool" acts like it is the first hard R-rated superhero film not meant for children's eyes. For a film featuring a character so hilariously self-aware, it seems to forget that the genre has seen its fair share of adult adventures. Ultimately, the film is actually a middle school boy's dream-come-true; a bloody, gun-toting action flick and a raunchy comedy rolled into one. It's true we've seen this kind of movie before as well (remember "Kick-Ass?"), but with Reynolds leading the way and dropping countless jokes, limbs and heads in every direction, "Deadpool" makes for an exciting (albeit by-the-numbers) origin story.

(7/10)