Rated R (for strong violence and language throughout, sexual content and graphic nudity)
Deadpool has always been a bit of an anomaly in the comic book world. An indestructible anti-hero with the ability to heal any damage (and I mean any damage) to his body, a tendency to break the fourth wall and talk directly to the reader, he’s not the type of character that is typically easy to bring to the silver screen.
Back in 2009 the world was given their first taste of the Merc With A Mouth in Wolverine: Origins. Played by Ryan Reynolds, this version of Deadpool deviated wildly from the character in the comics and, much like everything else in Wolverine: Origins, generally left fans with a bad taste in their mouths. Poor Deadpool died a painful death, never to be seen again…
…Or so it seemed. Wildly unhappy with how Deadpool was portrayed, Ryan Reynolds went on a one man crusade to give the character his own solo film and set right all the wrongs. It was an uphill battle that took 6 years, leaked test footage and an incredible amount of determination, but it worked and Deadpool is finally getting another shot at the big time and damn, he’s returned with a bang.
With a costume that seems lifted straight out of the comic books, a set of gifted writers and over-the-top sense of humour, Deadpool comes at you with a million jokes a minute, relentless with its onslaught of violence, crass humour and beautifully shot action. This is the movie that every child in an adult’s body was dying to see, proving that comic book heroes don’t need to be sombre, grim affairs to make audiences happy.
Ryan Reynolds, once again acting as Wade Wilson (aka Deadpool), was born to play this role. With his natural sense of humour and charisma, he is pretty much already a real-life Deadpool and the success of the film lies squarely on his shoulders. Firing quips left, right and centre, not all the jokes land, but with the quantity of one-liner’s in the movie, the proportion of zingers far out-weigh the duds. It’s been a while since I’ve been in a movie theatre where the audience was unanimously laughing so much, especially in an R-Rated comic book movie.
But it’s not just the humour that makes this movie so good. The non-stop jokes are accompanied by great fight sequences that belie the film’s meagre budget. Not only are the sequence well shot, choreographed and edited, they also carry the air of irreverence that pervades most of the movie. There’s a scene of Deadpool vs Colossus that seems straight out of a Loony Tunes cartoon. Watch the movie, you’ll see what I mean.
Speaking of Colossus, the rest of the cast do an adequate job in the movie, but let’s not kid ourselves. This is Reynolds’ movie through and through. The supporting characters is made up of Vanessa, the beautiful and wild girlfriend of Wade Wilson (Morena Baccarin); Weasel (T.J. Miller), Wade’s bartender friend, and Blind Al (Leslie Uggams), Deadpool’s flatmate, who both serve as comic relief; Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) and Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) represent more squeaky clean, good-guy types that show the marked contrast between the standard superhero template and Deadpool’s anti-hero tendencies. By and large all of these roles exist to play as straight men against Reynolds and serve more as springboards for more of his zaniness and provide motivation for Deadpool.
If there was a weak point in the movie, it would have to be the villains. This is by no means the only comic book movie that fails in this regard, but it would have been nice to have had an adversary that was more on par with Deadpool. However, due to budget constraints and paring back on the script, we are left with a bland, British stereotypical foe in Ajax (Ed Skrein) and his henchwoman of few words Angel Dust (Gina Carano). We are not really given much to go on in terms of their real backgrounds or why they are doing what they do, but as most of us are watching the movie for Deadpool and his hijinks, this is not really a major issue, rather more of a disappointment.
It’s obvious that a lot of the lines in the movie were ad libbed and I would love to see all the improvisations that were left on the cutting room floor. However, what did make it into the final cut came together into a great little package that will appeal to a wide audience, regardless of whether you a familiar with Deadpool’s history or not. A comic book movie that’s part love story, part action comedy and a whole lot of fun, this is a film that is worth repeat viewing (and when you do watch it, wait for the end credit homage to another fourth wall breaking character).
The movie is currently smashing box office record’s and Fox has already green lit a sequel, so I foresee a lot more Deadpool in our future. Let’s hope the future instalments are as great as this one.
I give Deadpool an 8 out of 10.