If anybody were to call me a Marvel aficionado, they would quite simply be lying. Up until about two years ago I had barely seen more than twenty minutes of any Marvel property, but with relatively recent enjoyable visits to both Guardians Of The Galaxy and Ant-Man, it would be fair to say that my Marvel stock is rising ever so slowly. However, with Deadpool, I knew that something was going to be very, very different. It didn’t take a genius to see that this comic book movie wasn’t going to be another cookie cutter rehash, and I was super excited to see what the finished product was going to offer.
Deadpool is a story about Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds), former Special Forces, current mercenary, current sassy douchebag. We discover that Wade, in the midst of the happiest period of his life with recent fiancé Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), is diagnosed with terminal cancer, and in an attempt to save his life, he agrees to tale part in an experimental programme that turns ill people in to mega fighting machines with super hero like powers. This treatment, of course, does not go to plan, and thanks to a bitter rivalry with the programme’s head doctor Ajax (Ed Skrein), Wade (now Deadpool) is left horrifically scarred and hell bent on both seeking vengeance for his misfortune and reconnecting with his long lost love. That loose plot description might make the film sound like any other comic book type narrative that you are used to, but let me tell you that Deadpool is unlike any other super hero movie you have ever seen. In a tone similar to the independently made Kick-Ass, the picture is a self-referential, fourth wall breaking, bad language using, graphic violence showing riot that cares little for your Marvel preconceptions and simply wants to have a rollicking good time. After the complete ambivalence I have always felt towards franchises like Superman, Spider-Man, Iron Man etc., it’s so wonderful to have a new series of films that are going to be able to both satisfy certain genre expectations (cool powers, brilliant action) whilst also putting a more mature, R rated spin on things that puts an entirely fresh spin on what we have been used to before. Not only is the film genuinely funny with borderline offensive humour that, in my opinion, is pitched perfectly, it also boats a genuine feeling of ‘coolness’ rather than being a property that tries so hard to be but fails. This is helped in no small part by the brilliant soundtrack, compiled of golden oldies, one hit wonders and classic hip-hop that could have been taken straight from my personal iTunes library. Some critics have complained that Deadpool doesn’t go far enough in deconstructing the genre that is it so mercilessly harpooning, but in towing the line between a foul mouthed, naked bodied, mature joked comedy and maintaining some of the foundational roots of the comic book movie (namely in narrative structure, obstacles, final battle etc.), it feels very much like the filmmakers have shown us what the property can do, and are ready in sequel instalments to test the waters even further. And I for one, can’t wait for them to be tested!
He’s been paying the price ever since the critical bomb that was Green Lantern, but Ryan Reynolds has found his comic book holy grail in the role of Deadpool. The 39 year old actor uses every ounce of the cheesy, rom-com type charisma that he has but turns the charm completely on it’s head to produce a character that does and says despicable things yet you can’t help but fall totally and utterly in love. For an actor who has pretty much stayed in the traditionally safe lanes when it comes to comedy, Reynolds proves that he has enough bite to carry the role with credibility, and the physicality that he exudes to really make a fully dimensional character out of what is essentially a body suit is really quite impressive. Though we often cannot see Deadpool’s face, we know exactly what expressions he is making and that is down to Reynolds’ complete confidence and security in what he is portraying. Though the film is pretty much all about the showcasing of Reynolds and the character he plays, some fun performances are given by the likes of Ed Skrein as Ajax, Morena Baccarin as Vanessa, Brianna Hildebrand as surly teen X-Men trainee Negasonic Teenage Warhead, and Karan Soni as Dopinder the taxi driver, an inconsequential yet memorable character who shares in some of the film’s funniest moments.What is pleasing about the film, and about most comic book and super hero films since arguably The Avengers, is that it is no longer acceptable just to boast thrilling action scenes. A solid, talented cast are now required for any picture in the genre to be deemed a success.
Overall, Deadpool is without a doubt the most fun you are going to find on any cinema screen during the month of February. With all the makings of summer hit, I’m unsure as to why the studio released in to the uncertain, post awards season mist, but boy am I glad they did. This unapologetic, perfectly offensive, fun to the brim, inventive comic book comedy is exactly the kind of tonic needed for the heavy, self important tone of many of the releases we currently have to choose from. Even if you hate super heroes, you’re definitely going to want to see this.