Deadpool – a gleeful, self-referential character bathed in satire, gets his first taste of the big screen. Well, sort of. Deadpool technically made his first appearance in the very forgettable, X-Men: Origins. But the film messed up the character so bad, that I’m literally not counting that version as Deadpool.
I’m happy to report that director Tim Miller, puts the real Deadpool front and centre, with Ryan Reynolds giving the character another crack. This time, his portrayal is spot on. He perfectly captures the character’s cock-and-balls attitude and his awareness of his fictional status. This film is a breath of fresh air in the superhero genre. The splurge of superhero films has become tiresome, but the foul-mouthed Deadpool has given the genre a much-needed shake-up.
Deadpool is a satirical deconstruction of the comic book genre, yet it still has its own story at the core of its self-reflexive humour. For those who don’t know, it’s also set in the same universe as X-Men. By the way, the faint of heart should steer clear of this film, because the violence and dark humour might make you cry.
Anyway, let me delve into the plot and I promise not to give too much away. Deadpool follows the journey of Wade Wilson, a former special forces operative, living in New York. Life isn’t too bad for Wade. His new girlfriend Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), seems like his perfect match.
But it all goes downhill when he finds out he has cancer that has spread to various parts of his body. As a result, he agrees to undergo an experiment with a rather shady organisation, that promises to cure his cancer. On top of that, they say it’ll give him mutant-like superpowers. He couldn’t really say no, could he? It seems like a no-brainer.
During the experiment, Wade soon learns all is not what it seems and faces the wrath of the villainous Ajax (Ed Skrein). Realising he’s clearly made a mistake and having been left horribly disfigured, Wade breaks free and gets the hell away from the organisation. But he’s not letting Ajax off the hook. Seeking vengeance, he becomes Deadpool, a masked vigilante.
Deadpool shows you can make a successful R-rated superhero film. I found it very funny and the bad language, jokes and violence never go too far. There are some pretty great gags, including when Deadpool openly mocks the film industry. This reality-bending humour never feels forced and the tone is pitched perfectly.
In terms of performance, Ryan Reynolds steals the show. He transforms completely into this twisted character. Besides Reynolds, none of the other performances stand out that much. Skrein as Ajax makes for a cool villain, but it’s not one you’ll remember. Colossus is a fun interpretation of the X-Men character, (actually played by several actors, all contributing to the motion-capture), but he mostly operates in the side-kick territory.
Deadpool is the most faithful comic-book adaptation in years. It’s essential viewing for superhero fans, but I also recommend it to those who don’t normally like superhero films. Deadpool is hugely enjoyable, action-packed and straight to the point. I look forward to the sequel.
Director: Tim Miller
Writers: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick
Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, T.J. Miller
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Run Time: 108 min