Director: Tim Miller. Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, TJ Miller, Stefan Kapicic, Brianna Hildebrand. Genre: Superhero. Running Time: 105 minutes. Budget: $50 million.Rating: UK (15), USA (R)
Hollywood is churning out superhero films like there’s no tomorrow and in an effort to keep the crowded comic book movie climate from turning stale and repetitive, studios are bringing some of the most obscure characters to life with winning results.
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) and last year’s Ant-Man saw Marvel Studios take their cinematic universe down a weird yet wonderful route while DC and Warner Bros will look to launch their own wildcard franchise in the upcoming sure-to-be-a-hit Suicide Squad.
Although those superhero flicks are vast departures from the usual spandex-fitted fare, Deadpool easily takes the cake for the craziest comic book adaptation thanks to the fact that the titular character is unlike any other we’ve seen before; he’s a deranged, potty mouthed, gun-toting, sword-wielding antihero who knows he’s in a piece of fiction.
Seeing as he spins off from the much more serious X-Men universe, giving a character such as Deadpool his own solo outing could have been a big challenge but debuting director Tim Miller and star/producer Ryan Reynolds prove they’re totally up to the task.
Reynolds plays the sharp-tongued Wade Wilson, a former special forces operative who contracts a fatal cancer tumour which has spread all over his body. In a desperate bid to stay alive for the love of his life Vanessa (Gotham’s Morena Baccarin), Wade undergoes black market treatment for his cancer provided by sicko scientist Ajax (The Transporter: Refueled’s Ed Skrein).
As a result, Wade is imbued with super self-healing abilities and horrible head to toe scarring. To reverse his disfigurement, he goes on the hunt for Ajax as his newly-created red and black costumed alter-ego Deadpool. What follows is blood soaked super-powered pandemonium which boils down to a good old tale of revenge.
Fans will be happy to read that the film regally redeems the character after the debacle that was Deadpool’s cinematic debut in the dud X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009).
Fans will also be pleased to know that Deadpool the movie is just as unhinged as Deadpool the character with the film having an insanity level that flies off the charts. From the opening credits you’ll realise that you’re watching something very different and that breath-of-fresh-air feeling remains throughout most of the film.
For starters, Deadpool has no qualms offing any baddies unfortunate enough to cross his path as he blasts bullets and slices and dices at will. Thanks to the fast, frenzied and well-choreographed ultraviolence, Deadpool’s slick action set pieces are equally glorious as they are gory.
As well as being the most brutal superhero offering in recent times, it’s also the by far the raunchiest with crude jokes being bandied about left, right and centre. There’s also a plethora of pop culture references which riff on everything from the Taken films to Sinead O’Connor. And whenever Deadpool bulldozes through the fourth wall or makes a meta comment, hilarity ensues.
The gags are delivered at a relentless speed; most land with perfect aim but a few fall short of the target. To be fair it’s forgivable as the film has you laughing for the vast majority of its runtime.
It’s hard to imagine any other actor being able to pull off the quippy comedy of the ‘Merc With A Mouth’ other than Reynolds. His last three superhero films (Blade Trinity, X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Green Lantern) have all been dire disappointments but Reynolds was a rare redeeming quality in each one. Deadpool boldly bucks this trend as its success as an enjoyable experience stands firmly on the shoulders of its leading man.
Reynolds shares sizzling hot chemistry with Baccarin who gives the hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold Vanessa some spark and charm that makes their relationship much more watchable than the bog-standard superhero love affair.
Another duo great to watch are Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) and the brilliantly named Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) who add an X-Men flavouring to the film as they try to turn the morally ambiguous Deadpool to the light side.
As far as the dark side is concerned, on the one hand Skrein’s smarmy sadistic Ajax is a worthy villain you’ll want to see Deadpool kick the crap out of. On the other, his motivations aren’t written very well so it kind of appears he’s just being the bad guy for the sake of it.
This ties in with the flimsy plot which ushers in the film’s sole but striking streak of unoriginality. We’ve seen the villain kidnap the hero’s main gal for bait countless times before and it would have been nice if Deadpool had avoided this cliché.
Overall, Deadpool is a killer comic book film which embraces the zaniness of the character in thrilling fashion. Miller and Reynolds obviously had tonnes of fun making the movie and ensure the audience do too, from the opening credits to the tantalising post credits tease. This year will see comic book films come thick and fast as 2016 will play host to an unprecedented seven superhero outings. Deadpool gets the party started in the right way. It scores a:
1ish – 2ish Stay away at ALL costs!!!
3ish – 4ish A bad film, not Michael Jackson Bad, but just straight up bad
5ish – 6ish Probably worth seeing at some point
7ish – 8ish A fantastic film definitely worth watching whenever you can
9ish -10 Unmissable – go watch it now!!!
Check out the official trailer here:
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