Perhaps I should start by reminding you how sick I've grown of superhero movies over the past several years, and how—before I saw Deadpool—I would've confidently stated that if I never saw a dude with "special powers" in a colorful skintight outfit again it would be too soon.
But from the first second of this film I was laughing; it was clear Deadpool was going to be different. I won't spoil the excellent opening sequence for you (my far-and-away favorite in recent memory), but I will say that it manages to poke fun at pretty much every superhero-movie convention while also ripping on its lead and his, uh, not-so-successful past in the genre. (But hey, he did get a hot wife out of the whole Green Lantern fiasco, so the joke's on us.) Maybe the power of the title sequence stems from director Tim Miller's experience; this may be his first feature film, but in the past he was responsible for the opening scenes of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Thor: Dark World, so strong first impressions are kind of his thing.
At the outset we find our masked antihero Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) in the middle of a violent car-chase-turned-car-wreck-turned-shootout, complete with gratuitous slo-mo and a thumpin' soundtrack. What's unexpected (for those unfamiliar with Deadpool's comic-book roots) are all of the wisecracking and fourth-wall-breaking asides in the midst of the chaos, as if Deadpool didn't have a care in the world. But before we can really get our bearings, much less see how all of the mayhem ends, we're taken back in time to learn how Deadpool became Deadpool... and what exactly his deal is.
So, yeah, it's an "origin story" as expected, since this is the first Deadpool spinoff and everyone wants to pretend like the character's scenes in X-Men Origins: Wolverine didn't happen. (There are some hilarious jabs about that whole mess of a movie as well; Deadpool is at its snarky best when it's giving the middle finger to other superhero movies, and specifically the X-Men franchise.)
Deadpool's nonstop banter, vulgarity, deprecation and audience-talking could've easily come off as annoying if not executed perfectly, and then the whole film would've been a bust. Instead it's the only superhero movie since the original Iron Man where I walked out of the theater feeling like I just saw something new. I've enjoyed a few other superhero films (all Captain America installments) and tolerated the rest, but for the most part I usually get the sense that I'm just watching the same movie over and over again with a new bad guy in the mix each time.
With Deadpool, though, the characters and their conversations felt fresh despite the familiar Wolverinesque origin story and the by-the-numbers ending, so I still must give credit to screenwriters Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese (the same writing team behind Zombieland). We learn that "the Merc with a Mouth" (as he's known in the comics) used to be Wade Wilson, a loner smart-ass with a special-ops background and just one loner smart-ass pseudo-friend (Weasel, played by the perfectly cast T.J. Miller of Silicon Valley) until he finds his match in Vanessa Carlysle (Morena Baccarin), a hooker who can go toe-to-toe with Wade's crudeness and sarcasm. Their "meet-cute" consists of a I'm-more-damanged-than-you faux-pity-party competition, followed closely by a month-by-month sex montage that is, well... perhaps this is the place to point out that you should NOT bring your kids or nephews and nieces to Deadpool unless you want to have some reeeeeaaaaaalllllly uncomfortable conversations on the ride home. This warning also applies to adults who are obscenity-adverse; you are guaranteed to be offended within the first 5 minutes. Unlike other superhero films, this one is rated R, and it's no joke.
So Wade meets Vanessa, they fall in love... and then he finds out he's going to die. Cancer is everywhere in his body. He doesn't want her to see him fade away, so he takes a really shady guy up on an offer to subject himself to torturous treatments that will "force a mutation" and cure his cancer. Yes, that means that Wade/Deadpool might make for X-Men material one day. But not just yet. Not before he can completely and utterly diss the residents of Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters several times over. And exact revenge upon the guy who ran the experiments that left him horribly disfigured... with regenerative healing powers.
Will you get all of the jokes if you're unfamiliar with superhero movies? Probably not. But you'll still get the rest, and my bet is that—again, only if you have a high tolerance for extremely naughty stuff—Deadpool will win you over, too. Be sure you stay for the end credits, which any child of the '80s will appreciate. Apparently there is also a second end-credit scene that was not screened for critics, so if you're already hanging out in the theater afterward, you'll be treated to that as well.