Oh, hello. I know, right? Whose balls did I have to fondle to get my very own Ryan Reynolds article? Only kidding, but seeing as I’m here already why don’t we take a look at the back catalogue of Ryan Reynolds, star of the forthcoming Deadpool sequel, and try to knock out a top five of his best film performances? Maximum effort!
After working through teen soap operas and made-for-TV movies, Reynolds found a vehicle for his talent in romantic comedies and later on in more action-based films. In a parallel stream of light-hearted rom-coms and more serious action-thrillers he managed to keep his name in the spotlight but never quite managing to be in the leading light until eventually Reynolds eased towards another burgeoning market: Comic book films.
His none-too-serious tone would work wonders for his placement in these types of films that were just taking off around this time. However, whilst mostly known for his larger than life performances and deadpan comic delivery, Reynolds has also chosen some more serious roles to get his teeth into, to good effect. So, without further ado here we go, in no particular order…
Coming off the back of films such as X-Men Origins: Wolverine and The Proposal, this film is so different in tone and style that it stands out. Set almost entirely within his tight wooden confine and with only a few implements to hand, Reynolds is left trying his hardest to escape, find out where he is and get help.
The intense close examination of Reynolds as we are situated in the box with him, with no alternate distraction for the entire 95 minute runtime, brings a level of tension that was previously alien in a Reynolds film but he manages to carry Buried superbly well. Being able to convey the emotion and increasing desperation as his options dwindle and his hopes rise and fall. A fantastic little film and a great, almost solo, performance from Reynolds.
Deadpool is really Reynolds’ rocket ship to super stardom. In bringing the Merc with the Mouth to life, he is perfectly cast being able to juggle the action with the wit. This has been a passion project for both Reynolds and director Tim Miller and you can fully see the effort that both have put into the finished product. Thankfully this incarnation of Deadpool wipes the abomination of Weapon X (from X-Men Origins: Wolverine) out of memory!
The script and, mostly, the delivery from Reynolds is fantastic and really brings the character to life in the best possible way and feels close to the source material. I can think of no other actor who would embody Wade as well as Reynolds.
Another one that is off the Ryan Reynolds beaten track. Marjane Satrapi’s black comedy The Voices has Reynolds playing Jerry, a worker at the local bathtub factory who lives above a bowling alley with his cat and dog. Being a schizophrenic, Jerry should be taking his medicine but enjoys the delusions that abstaining from it gives him, including having his dog, Bosco, and cat, Mr Whiskers, talk to him. Following an unfortunate incident, Jerry has some serious decisions to make and takes onboard the opinions of his closest confidants, his pets.
Reynolds plays Jerry in a good-natured way, wide-eyed and naive in the main but is able to get more emotion out of the role as it progresses towards its conclusion as things become more complicated. Not only playing the role of Jerry, but also voicing the cat and dog himself, Ryan Reynolds’ ability to show the broken side as well as the happy-go-lucky side of Jerry’s character is key to this film working, giving it the depth and meaning that it needs to succeed.
OK, so this is the weakest of the Blade trilogy but one of the only redeeming features in David S Goyer’s Blade Trinity is Ryan Reynolds’ portrayal of Hannibal King. As part of a band of vigilante vampire hunters, he is every bit the opposite in character to the sullen and serious Blade. Reynolds’ Hannibal is brash, confident and cocky but he backs this up with excellent action skills and no small amount of courage. Reynolds brings a great deal of energy to the film, lifting it above its lowly place and giving me a reason, the only reason, to want to watch it again.
Blade Trinity gave Reynolds a first real outing to showcase his action acting ability, being both effective in his performance and captivating with his screen presence. You can definitely see the blueprint for his future action roles.
Van Wilder: Party Liaison
National Lampoon’s Van Wilder (Reynolds) is an eternal college student and a legend to all that attend Coolidge College. He has spent most of his years perfecting his on-campus lifestyle and is basically running most of the college: Hooking people up, organising parties, keeping students happy and healthy.
Van Wilder, particularly due to Reynolds’ performance, is funny and charismatic. Reynolds’ delivery is again in his inimitable straight-faced style but is also backed up with real caring for his fellow students and being a real people person. This film, and Reynolds’ performance as Van, is easy-going and likeable; and who wouldn’t want to know a guy like Van? Especially when in college!
Whilst Ryan Reynolds’ more serious work has not been of poor quality, it is certainly not as well received as some of his lighter projects and I believe that it is his mastery in action and quipping that has brought him his success. And to quote Van Wilder, with a sensibility that Ryan Reynolds seems to have chosen to follow in his career:
You shouldn’t take life too seriously. You’ll never get out alive.
Wise words from Van and it has certainly been working well for Ryan Reynolds so far!
Which are your favourite Ryan Reynolds roles? Do you prefer his comedic or more serious performances? And are you looking forward to Deadpool 2?