Look! Up on the screen! It’s Blade: Trinity. It’s The Proposal. It’s Ryan Reynolds!
Yes, it’s Ryan Reynolds, strange visitor from Vancouver who came to Hollywood with powers and abilities beyond those of mortal men. He speaks faster than a speeding bullet! He can leap tall scripts in a single bound! He’s more versatile than a roomful of Sexiest Men Alive!
I’ve paraphrased the famous opening of Superman, even though Reynolds has never played Superman in the movies. Careerwise, however, he has been a super man, leaping from genre to genre, piecing together an IMDB page so varied it’ll make your head spin.
This weekend brings us another exciting episode in the adventures of Ryan Reynolds.
In Deadpool he’s a former Special Forces operative subjected to an experimental treatment that gifts him with regenerative healing power and increased agility. Unfortunately it also leaves him filled with rage; thirsty for revenge against the doctor who changed his life. The character’s greatest superpower, according to Reynolds, “is annoying the s— out of people.”
It’s not the first time the 39- year-old actor has played someone with superpowers. It’s not even the first time he’s played Deadpool. That character debuted in X-Men Origins: Wolverine and he starred as Captain Excellent in Paper Man, the darkly heroic Hannibal King in Blade: Trinity as well as donning the super-tight tights of the Green Lantern.
When he isn’t battling crime, however, Reynolds has been more adventurous in his roles than people give him credit. Peppered throughout his major Hollywood successes like The Proposal have been roles like The Amityville Horror’s psychologically unstable father, Woman in Gold’s relentless lawyer, and the crackhead Gary in the thriller The Nines.
Successful or not, those movies showcased a performer looking to stretch his acting muscles (and not just display his prodigious ab muscles). Here are some other Reynold’s roles that show his super-versatility:
The Voices: Reynolds plays the wholesome-looking Jerry, an eager to please factory worker with a crush on the cute accountant upstairs. When she stands him up for a date it becomes apparent Jerry has serious problems. As bodies pile up he grapples with voices in his head that tell him to do terrible things. Kitschy, strange and decidedly off kilter, The Voices has funny moments but revolves around Reynolds’s winningly odd performance.
Buried: Reynolds is a civilian truck driver in Iraq, taken hostage, buried underground, who will be left to die unless a ransom is paid. The entire movie happens inside the four walls of a coffin with only Reynolds and a cell phone on display. Unable to rely on his usual comic timing and bulging muscles, Reynolds hits a career high, keeping the audience intrigued for most of the 90-minute running time.
The Change-Up: Starring Reynolds and Jason Bateman, this film is like several movies in one. It’s part gross-out comedy, part heart tugger and all switcheroo. The set-up is Freaky Friday simple; the two leads swap personalities but it works because Bateman adds a little hyper Van Wilder inflection to his speech and Reynolds drops his energy a few notches to match Bateman’s more laconic style. Both are likeable actors, with charm and charisma to burn.