Director: Tim Miller
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, T.J Miller, Stefan Kapicic, Brianna Hildebrand, Gina Carano
Plot: Deadpool (Reynolds) is disfigured and tortured by a shady corporation, inspiring him to launch a revenge mission on chasing down the man behind it all (Skrein).
I was worried about Deadpool. The marketing was great, yes, but there was something troublesome about it. The whole affair seemed a little too desperate to be liked. Like the weird kid at school, who tries that little bit too hard to be like the cool kids. And, as I finally sat down and watched the prematurely decided hit of 2016, my fears were confirmed. If I had to pin one flaw on Deadpool, it would its overwhelming desire to be an edgy movie. Deadpool is the practical joker on the school block, all fun and games, but also that little bit too shallow. Every line, remark or scene has to involve some joke that pokes holes in the whole movie affair. Most of the time, it is very, incredibly funny, but at the same time, Deadpool also has an awful habit of cutting its more touching moments off far too early. The movie handles some heavy themes at times, like the finality of cancer, true love and what makes a hero, but it never quite commits to any of these topics. Several times it has the chance to just stop with the jokes for a moment and hit us with a heart-warming, tender scene, usually between Reynolds and Baccarin, but it gets embarrassed and ruins the whole moment with a dick joke. Yes, Deadpool is that flawed class joker for sure, but like that class joker, he is just too damn entertaining to be called on his downsides.
And Deadpool promises entertainment. In being that superhero movie that refuses to be a superhero movie, it crams itself full of comedy, constantly breaking the rules and changing the game. With superhero movies so saturated in today’s cinema, it is refreshing to have Deadpool come along and do everything by a totally different book. The fourth-wall breaking, the satirical approach to Marvel trademarks like the Stan Lee cameo and post-credits sting, the refusal to be taken seriously – it adds up to one glorious rollercoaster ride. Much like the latest Will Ferrell outing, it won’t win any OSCARS, but it will be that DVD you will make sure you watch time and time again. The action is just as good as the jokes though, which adds to Deadpool’s charm. There are two major set-pieces in this movie. One is an opening credits battle on a motorway, which introduces our lead character and is guilty of being the best ‘non-gag related’ part of the film (I am still voting the ‘Happy Woman’s Day’ joke as my personal highlight of the movie). The fight opens with a still image of the carnage, played over with a power ballad and a credits sequence that doesn’t take itself seriously in the slightest, and then reverses, so we see just how that confusing image came to be. As this fight carries out, the movie cuts to and fro, building up Wade Wilson’s origin story. As a result, this one set-piece kind of takes up a good half of the movie, making it a slow-burning, yet non-stop piece of action. Gory, laugh-out-loud and so very, very Deadpool. Then, after a barrage of jokes, we get the finale fight scene, which sees Deadpool, Colossus and Warhead take on an army of bad guys. Because there is only two real major fight scenes, they feel fresh and exciting, something superhero movies don’t often get these days. It doesn’t matter a jolt that these two fights are attached with a pretty bland story about a vengeful anti-hero on a vendetta, a damsel in distress popping up along the way. Star Wars copied his plot from A New Hope and Mad Max won seven OSCARS despite having a script comprised of onomatopoeia. I refuse to mark down Deadpool for the same flaw, but to a lesser degree.
Of course, this is totally Ryan Reynold’s show. It is a part tailor made for him, ever since that slight rise in quality with X-Men Origins: Wolverine’s opening sequence. It is obviously a character Reynolds has been working on for some time now, taking the parts applauded in Blade: Trinity by the fans, mixing that with his personal additions from Origins and combining it with a perfectly meta script in this latest instalment. As a result, this is Deadpool as was originally intended, an explosion of oddball charisma, ‘you-can’t-say-that’ jokes and excessive swearing abound. Reynolds fits the part like a glove so well, his talent almost goes unnoticed. Of course, he is going to be the best thing on show here, the character so natural to him now, it is hard to see where the part ends and actor begins. The rest of the cast are fighting to rise above the central performance. They do a well enough job, despite everyone on show here acting as a foil to Deadpool’s jokes. T.J Miller is a comedy device, rather than an actual person. Brianna Hildebrand’s job is to stand there and let Deadpool make fun of the sullent teenager stereotype she is asked to adhere to. Ed Skrein is an actor I am not particular fond of, but he played the part of English villain well, trapped behind a performance purposefully engineered to be vaguely clichéd. He is another disposable Marvel baddie, something becoming more and more of a problem, but he keeps everything ticking over well enough. Best of the supporting cast is easily Morena Baccarin. When the character struts onto the screen, introduced as a sexually-aggressive hooker, things are looking bad. Another womanising part that will be unable to avoid the crudeness of Deadpool’s humour. However, Baccarin grows into the role and it becomes a source of the sweeter moments of the film. It helps that Baccarin is game for a laugh, making her, for the most part, able to rise above the damsel figure the script lumps her with. In fact, the only character I had a massive problem with was Colossus. Deadpool’s flaws are mainly niggles of things that could have been done better, until we get to that character. It is a nose-dive in quality. I understand the limitations of the ropey CGI, but the character is frustratingly bland, dumped with a painful Russian accent and dialogue written by someone trapped in an 80s kids movie. The only time he works is when Deadpool is mocking him. A black mark on a movie with a near spotless record.
But the real reason we love Deadpool so much is the story behind the movie. This isn’t just a mindless comedy determined to sneak as many knob jokes past the censors into a superhero movie. This is a movie that has been struggling to get off the ground for so long that the fact it is finally here feels so satisfying. Deadpool has been the butt of the Marvel Movie Universe for some time now, nearly rivalling Green Lantern for lameness (sorry Ryan!). However, there is a strong fan base there and led by Ryan Reynolds, now officially the face and spirit of the character, we fought a titanic battle to get this made. This is a movie made by the people, for the people. And simply being there in a cinema, watching something made with such love and passion for cinema, even if it is mainly penis jokes and mindless violence, is kind of beautiful…
Final Verdict: Ryan Reynolds is superb, leading the way in a senseless onslaught of inappropriate jokes and bloody violence. A meta, cult success.