Expecting a run-of-the-mill, end-of-the-world, MCU masterpiece? I can tell you now: jog on. ‘Deadpool’ makes no apologies for being a very different kind of superhero movie – and that’s just the impression I got from the trailers. ‘Deadpool’ promised the whole package: fourth wall breaks, brutal and exciting violence, and a no-nonsense anti-hero known for his crude humour and inside jokes. Suffice to say, I was very excited for ‘Deadpool’, so I just had to see it in IMAX on opening day.
The plot focuses on the origins story of the eponymous character. I’m not normally one for an origins story – let’s be honest, they’re usually dull – but I was interested to see how the plot of ‘Deadpool’ would play out. Before Deadpool became Mr. Dead Pool, he was Wade Wilson, an ex-special forces agent who acted as a vigilante, and hung out in a sleazy bar where the patrons take bets on who will die next. Ryan Reynolds tries to convince us that “this is a love story”, as he meets his love interest Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), and through a sex-heavy montage, they fall in love. Of course, if that were all the film had to offer, we wouldn’t have much fun, right? Just as in the comics, Wade contracts a highly invasive form of cancer and is told that he will die. It’s all very sad but predictably, there’s a “cure”. Enter, Mr. Pool.
The film opens to one of the most entertaining opening sequences in the Fox (or indeed Marvel) universe. Instead of listing the actors and crew by name, we are told that this is a film by “some douchebag” and that the film stars “a British villain” and a “gratuitous cameo”. I was laughing from the outset, and it highlights how fun ‘Deadpool’ must have been to make; a film the crew and Ryan Reynolds himself have wanted to make for a long time (Reynolds even took a reduced fee to make sure this film was done right). We’re then placed right in the heart of the action, and boy, does this sequence deliver. It’s a non-stop crazy countdown of 12 bullets, culminating with a man getting turned into a kebab (take from that what you will).
Both the power and the problems with ‘Deadpool’ come from the humour. The inside jokes are clever and smug; a real middle finger to Bryan Singer and his serious X-Men universe. Yet, it’s not completely subversive, and rather than completely mock the superhero genre, ‘Deadpool’ aims to breathe fresh life into a sometimes too-serious canon where there’s little to joke about. The problem though, is that much of the humour is aimed at an audience of average teenage boys, proven by the endless number of penis jokes (I’m not kidding, the first few are funny, but please, find something else to joke about).
Yet, I can’t argue that Ryan Reynolds plays the role with ease, with nearly all of his jokes landing. He breaks the fourth wall in a natural way, as though we’ve been pals for a while and he’s talking and joking directly with us. The references to his role in ‘The Green Lantern’ are equally hilarious, and remind us why he’s better at playing a different kind of hero. He’s cheeky, sarcastic, and highly entertaining to watch; he was born to play this role. Moreover, unlike other people I have spoken to, I actually highly rated Ed Skrein’s performance of main antagonist Ajax. As a man whose mutation is that he can’t feel anything, Skrein plays a calm, smug villain who Deadpool mocks endlessly and it’s great to watch.
Don’t be fooled by my glowing review though, the film does have its weaknesses. Firstly, it’s very predictable. I know most superhero films do follow a generic formula, but I thought ‘Deadpool’ – which advertised itself as being different from all those stuffy and serious superhero types – would offer something innovative. Moreover, not a lot really happens. I came out of the cinema and said to my boyfriend “is that it?”, which means either the film was kind of disappointing, or it was so good I wanted to see more; I haven’t decided. One thing’s for certain though, Reynolds’ performance is fantastic, and it seems like he and the crew had a blooming fantastic time making this.
Director: Tim Miller
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein