Ant-Man, Batman, Big Hero 6, Cinema, Colossus, Deadpool, Ed Skrein, Film, Gotham, Green Lantern, Guardians of the Galaxy, Homeland, Marvel, Morena Baccarin, Movie Review, Negasonic Teenage Warhead, Ryan Reynolds, Silicon Valley, Spiderman, Superhero Movie, Superheroes, T. J. Miller, The Joker, V, Valentines Day, Violence, Wade Wilson, Wolverine, X-Men, X-Men Origins
You’re probably thinking ‘this is a superhero movie, but that guy in the suit just turned that other guy into a fucking kebab’. Well, I may be super, but I’m no hero.
Deadpool isn’t your friendly neighbourhood Spiderman; he’s rude, crude, and excessively violent – he’s more like The Joker than Batman, with the sense of humour to match. A mercenary turned masked vigilante out for revenge, Pool enjoys hacking down bad guys in broad daylight and he does it with style, front-flipping and dick-punching his way to many a fanboy’s heart. If you thought that “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Ant-Man” were risky properties to bring to the big screen then you’ll probably want to have your eyes tested after seeing this film – it’s like nothing you’ve seen before – but “Deadpool” is actually really damn good, mainly because it unflinchingly sticks to the nature of the character in the comics.
“Deadpool” is a superhero movie, even though the titular character doesn’t have much of an affinity for being heroic, so the story is quite formulaic in nature. It chronicles the way that Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) goes from being a cancer-riddled fist-for-hire to a crime-fighting superhuman, with all the bells and whistles you’d expect in between. There’s the comic relief, the villain inexplicably tied up in the hero’s backstory, and the sidekicks taken from another property to suggest a potential movie tie-in… so what separates “Deadpool” from every other film of this ilk?
Well, for a start, “Deadpool” isn’t trying to change the world with its plot; of all the films you’ll see this year this one is probably the most self-aware – the writers know full well that they’re telling an origin story and that’s very intentional. They want the plot to mirror the stereotypical superhero flick that you see two or three versions of each year, because in doing so they can highlight the eccentricity of their main character. Furthermore, the origin story is cleverly interwoven with action sequences and told in a disjointed stop-start manner, which means that the movie doesn’t feel as though it’s taking you on a linear journey from man to hero.
By taking the audience on a journey through a typical superhero story the writers are able to propel Deadpool’s unique properties forward, most significantly the way in which he breaks the fourth-wall to self-deprecate and crack wise. This is an avenue which is exploited regularly and to great effect, as there are a plethora of recent superhero movies to scrutinise, some of which are on Ryan Reynolds’ filmography. “X-Men Origins : Wolverine” and “Green Lantern” are debatably two of the worst superhero movies of all time, so it’s very easy for Reynolds to pick holes in them as Deadpool whilst simultaneously gaining respectability as a man who is aware of his mistakes and able to see the funny side of them. In “Origins” Reynolds actually plays a bastardised version of this film’s titular character, which makes some of the meta-humour in this script all the more endearing – at one point Wade Wilson is seen holding a miniature figurine of the “Origins” Deadpool, and at another he jokes about having his mouth sewn shut, something which genuinely happened in the aforementioned movie.
The sticking point for many critics will inevitably be the gratuitous violence and vulgar sense of humour which “Deadpool” proudly shoves into the audience’s face, like a slice of toast covered in marmite. The writers and the director know that not everyone is going to like it, but they’d rather you hate the film than leave their target demographic with the sour taste of dry bread in their mouths. Is the humour in “Deadpool” occasionally juvenile? Yes. Is the violence excessive and constant? You’d better bloody believe it! But do I think that’s a problem? Hell no.
In my opinion it would be a complete disservice not only to the character but to the fans if this film had been anything other than it is – the people who were excited to see this movie in the first place wanted to do so because they love the character just the way he is, and they wanted to see him doing what he does best; for better or worse that’s exactly what they got. If certain critics don’t enjoy this movie then that is their right – it definitely isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea – but I think that there’s a lot to be said for a film that takes no prisoners and attempts to adapt material in a faithful way. I’d rather filmmakers alienate millions of potential passive cinemagoers for the sake of a hardcore existing fan base than serve the former by toning down their material, because at the end of the day it’s that fan base that made the movie a possibility to begin with!
Having warned at length that this movie isn’t for everyone, I should probably stress that there is actually a lot to like about it that doesn’t depend on a prior knowledge of the character or an appreciation of the superhero genre. Nobody can deny that the action in this film is well choreographed and visually impressive, as time is slowed down and sped up to highlight the fact that Deadpool really can kick ass. There’s a lot of gunplay and swordplay on show, as well as some pretty cool acrobatic stunts to vary things up, so if you’re a lover of action movies this might appeal to you despite its superhero premise.
Additionally, all the performances are spot on, and it’s great to see actors like T. J. Miller (“Silicon Valley” & “Big Hero 6”) and Morena Baccarin (“V”, “Homeland” & “Gotham”) on the big screen. Ryan Reynolds shows that he’s still a hilarious comedic actor, if last year’s “The Voices” didn’t already convince you of that; his timing is perfect and his understanding of the character is clear for all to see – you can really tell that he’s having fun with his lines and this translates to the audience, making every joke that bit more effective. This, along with his previously mentioned filmography, makes him an impeccable choice to play Deadpool.
My only qualm with the movie is the villain, Francis/Ajax (Ed Skrein), because despite the fact that he had a fair amount of screen time and was integral to Deadpool’s backstory, he never felt fully-realised. He was hateable enough, but I feel that this was mainly due to the fact that he was doing bad things to a character that is inherently likeable – say what you want about Deadpool, but Wade Wilson is a man desperately trying to survive terminal cancer in order to spend more time with his fiancé; it’s hard to dislike a guy like that. Nevertheless, I don’t feel that this is a massive issue with the film, because having villains which aren’t particularly memorable is a common problem for this type of movie, and in this case it was probably beneficial to put the focus squarely on Deadpool given that he is such an enigmatic character.
On the whole “Deadpool” is a fantastic film with a lot of character; it’s funny, a little bit crazy, and utterly entertaining. Deadpool as a character is as well-realised as you could possibly hope for in today’s movie landscape, and his backstory is interesting if not a little bit familiar, so I have very little to complain about.