Deadpool is the movie that almost never happened. In fact, it didn’t happen for a long time, even though Ryan Reynolds and director Tim Miller (who was once nominated for best short animated film at the Academy Awards) had been pushing and fighting for it to be made for a number of years. A labour of love, it was finally brought to screen this year and to massive fanfare and popularity.
An R-Rated (15 in the UK) superhero flick, Deadpool tried something different, a more adult approach to the superhero blockbuster, and it worked. It was a risk that paid off, and now it looks like we’ll be getting a sequel in the next few years. For all intent and purposes Deadpool is the newest X-Men movie, set in the Universe made popular by the likes of Wolverine, Magneto and Jennifer Lawrence in spandex.
An origin story, we meet Wade Wilson, a mercenary who once worked for Special Forces. He finds himself being put through intense torture in a rogue experiment and when he finally escapes his imprisonment he finds he has crazy healing powers. He can withstand great pain and punishment, and even grow back body parts. Including a hand. A hand that is initially quite small when it grows back. A hand that makes him feel like he has a giant… you know what? I think you get the point. Wade adopts the alter ego of Deadpool and seeks revenge against the wack-job who tortured him and almost brought him to an end.
It is immediately obvious how different a film like this can be when given more space to be crude and violent. The fight scenes, torture scenes and death scenes are the goriest we’ve seen in a Marvel film (or television show) and the vulgar language, sex and humour just add to the originality and fresh-feel of the film. It reminded me a little of Kick-Ass in the sense that it took superhero movie tropes and dipped them in a big giant vat of f-words, sex scenes, blood splatter and middle fingers. Ryan Reynolds, as Wade/Deadpool, is fantastic. It’s been said by plenty of people that “this is the role Reynolds was born to play” and I have to agree. The snarky sense of humour and self-aware winks to the camera are done perfectly. We even get some self-deprecating jokes about Green Lantern, which shows Reynolds to be just as self-aware as the character he is playing on the screen. Brilliant. The supporting cast are also very good. Brianna Hildebrand (First Girl I loved) as the beautifully named X-Woman, Negasonic Teenage Warhead, is a great mixture of teenage angst and fury. Even though her dialogue is limited and her screen-time isn’t huge, she still stands out. I’d like to see more depth added to her character in the second flick. T.J. Miller (Silicon Valley) is a fun presence as Wade’s barman friend and cohort Weasel, though I would have liked a little more of him in the film. Ed Skrein (The Sweeney) as the villain, Ajax, is charismatic and egomaniacal, and makes you really want to see him get his arse kicked. The remainder of the supporting cast also do a great job, but these stood out to me.
As a fan of the Deadpool comics, I was really curious to see what the film would be like, and nervous it wouldn’t end up having the adult edge that it should have. My concern wasn’t necessary though. The film is a nice chaotic change of pace and brought pure entertainment to the screen for 108 minutes. I am excited to see what they do with the sequel, and with the X-Men franchise going forward. “The Merc with a Mouth” has changed the format, let’s see if they can repeat the success of this next time.
4 out of 5