Deadpool is the tale of ex mercenary Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds), who after falling for a prostitute turn fiance’ Vanessa, finds out he’s in the late stages of cancer. A shady character offers him a cure/superpowers but after the treatment goes horrifically wrong and an accident at the lab leaves his whole body scarred, he’s set on hunting down those responsible. I’d be lying if I said the film only revolved around that, after Deadpool’s accident he then has the ability to break the 4th wall (the ability to talk to the audience), is invincible and is self aware of the fact he’s a character in a superhero film. It is these aspects/abilities that really sell the film, to good effect to.
Director Tim Miller had a big job on his hands as not only did he have to balance a film that has a strong romance plot, loads of brutal action and huge comedic elements in it, but he also had to give fan service for this cult character whose popularity continually rises. And by Joe, he only went and did it.
Something that has been an issue with many comedies recently is that many of them aren’t actually very funny, Deadpool is. The film takes the, lets throw as many jokes at the audience and see what sticks, approach, but to be fair most of them do hit home on some level. Right from the opening credits you know what you will be getting for the next 1 hour and 45 minutes. There are some real good belly laughs, plenty of meta humour and well thought out and choreographed set pieces that are at a minimum, amusing to watch, and at a maximum, hilarious. Yes most of the nature of the jokes are immature but at the same time it comes across as wildly fun. Balancing the comedy of the film out is the romance story line between Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) and Wade, and again, the film pulls it off really well. The romance feels genuine and is stripped of any cliche’s. Vanessa is a strong woman who is more than a match for our ‘merc with a mouth’ and there are some tender moments that as a viewer you can believe. Miller doesn’t overdo this element of the film and it serves it’s purpose in a way that leaves a lot of fun to be had the rest of the time.
Acting wise the film is solid. As Deadpool is meant to be satirical in nature the film can get away with having a boring British villain, or a CGI goody two shoes X-Man or an angsty teenage side kick because these are precisely the things that it is taking the piss out of. T.J Miller and Negasonic Teenage Warhead were arguably underused a bit given their screen presence and while Gina Caranro had a fair amount of scenes she had very little dialogue, and of what dialogue there was it was pretty crap. Again with a film like this it is hard to tell whether this trope was intentionally put in there or not, as a viewer it is up for you to decide.
Balance is what makes this film as watchable as it is. Nearly 2 hours of Deadpool doing what Deadpool does would start to become incredibly annoying and instead of overusing him there are plenty of cut aways to different characters, flash backs and scenes furthering the plot to keep this from happening, which also lends itself to keeping up the frantic pace of the movie. Another aspect of the film that is apparent is that it knows what it’s limitations are. It clearly had a constrained budget compared to most of the other Marvel films but what it does it does very well. The CGI is fun and felt quite realistic, the choreography used for the action is brutally entertaining and the set pieces used were used well considering there were only 2 large scale fight scenes. Knowing its limitations made the film more enjoyable to watch as at no point did they try to bite off more than they could chew.
Even though Deadpool’s message is one of satirically ripping into the plethora of superhero films Marvel and DC are pumping out this decade, it doesn’t quite give us the departure that is needed from these types of film. It’s fun and energetic but ultimately relies (non ironically) on the same plot points that all the others in the genre do to move the story along. There will be something game changingly unique but this is not it.
Deadpool is clearly a passion project for Ryan Reynolds (who isn’t above having the piss taken out of him throughout) and with a second film already green-lit it will be interesting on what I assume will be a bigger budget how they can change things up. This is the biggest apology Fox could have put out there for how they dealt with Deadpool in the Wolverine film, and for once this seems to be the perfect fan service in that regard.
On the face of it this film at times comes across as the ultimate adolescent male dream. Nudity, dirty jokes, brutal action, but there is fun here to be had by all. There are all the hallmarks of your typical superhero revenge tale but Deadpool keeps things fresh with its frequently changing narrative and overall tongue in cheek take on the superhero genre.