Ryan Reynolds in Deadpool.

After a false start with the character of Wade Wilson in 2009’s uneven yet unjustly maligned X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Ryan Reynolds gets another chance at superhero stardom—a decidedly unorthodox brand of superhero stardom, that is—with Deadpool, a twisted film from first-time director Tim Miller.

The movie establishes its weirdness with scathing opening credits that poke fun at Reynolds’ stint as the Green Lantern, and all aspects of the film’s production. It then becomes a consistently funny tragi-comedy involving Wade, a recently smitten mercenary who comes down with terminal cancer, dimming the lights on the future with his girlfriend, Vanessa (Morena Baccarin). He submits to an experiment that leaves him disfigured yet superhuman—and bent on revenge against the criminal who made him this way.

Reynolds finally gets a really good movie to match his charms, and Deadpool gets the nasty film the character needs. The film has an R-rating for many reasons; there really was no other way to make a Deadpool film. It needed to be depraved, and it is.

T.J. Miller provides nice comic support as a weary bar owner, and a couple of X-Men show up in a way that is full-on hilarious.

A sequel is already in the works—and this is a very good thing.

Deadpool is playing at theaters across the valley.