Deadpool is a film that was fraught with production hell, a road laden with obstacles that was traversed by sheer viewer hope despite the executives trying to sabotage it at many a turn – Deadpool, true to form, is happy to point that out throughout the movie. Formerly realised as an enemy of Wolverine, complete with the bizarre creative decision of sewing shut his mouth when his snark is a key trait of the character, this is the Deadpool movie the fans deserve. It truly brings the comics to life, and is one of the best superhero movies for years (not that he would be happy to classify it as that).
Reynolds stars as Wade Wilson, a former Special Forces operative who now works as a mercenary and spends his days with girlfriend Vanessa (Morena Baccarin). His world is quickly turned upside down following a diagnosis of cancer and, desperate to survive, he volunteers for an experiment – there, tortured and disfigured by evil scientist Ajax (Ed Skrein), he is transformed into Deadpool, blessed with accelerated healing powers and a twisted sense of humour. With help from mutant allies Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand), Deadpool employs his new skills to hunt down the man who nearly destroyed his life and seek vengeance.
For those who have grown weary of the onslaught of glum superhero movies that end in a big battle that will result in the end of the world if its foregone conclusion isn’t reached, Deadpool is just what you’ve been looking for. This movie is incredibly bloody and quick-witted (in a very adult way) and it is, above all, really good fun. It doesn’t need the silly levels of spectacle because most of the fun of Deadpool is Deadpool himself, his quips and the fun he has. The story aspect is very slight, but that’s not what you’re here for.
My major worry going into the film was how it would translate the self-referential humour of the comics to the big screen, and it does so by focusing it and not doing it too often. It’s entirely fitting that we open the movie with credits indicating it is produced by ‘ass-hats’ and directed by ‘an overpaid tool,’ and Deadpool’s little remarks throughout about the lack of money, the lack of X-Men and some of the poor creative decisions by Reynolds. Some are in-your-face, some are more subtle, but all are funny.
Deadpool finally really gives Reynolds the chance to shine – he is completely at ease and clearly having a great time, using his natural likeability and sincere enthusiasm to transform our anti-hero into a fun and engaging screen presence. He goes against the pale of pretty much every hero on screen now – half of his motivation is wanting to watch his enemy die a slow and painful death – but he is more real and more relatable.
As was teased in the movie’s wonderfully effective ad campaign, the film is at heart a love story, and Baccarin’s Vanessa feels far more developed than your average superhero love interest. Skrein is sinister as the typecast British villain, and even the supporting characters feel like they have something to add more than just being outlines to move the story. Fans of the comics, keep an eye open for Deadpool sidekicks Weasel (T. J. Miller) and Blind Al (Leslie Uggams).
Deadpool is anarchic and crude, but that is no bad thing, because it is also incredibly effective and very good fun. Giving it the freedom to be true to its comics has helped create one of the best superhero movies to date – it is riotous and amusing, and Reynolds finally has a hero movie to shine in. After a long-fought battle to reach the screen, Deadpool revels in its adult nature and manages to deliver an experience like no other.
Director: Tim Miller
Cast: Ryan Reynolds (Wade/Deadpool), Karan Soni (Dopinder), Ed Skrein (Ajax), Michael Benyaer (Warlord), Stefan Kapicic (Colossus), Brianna Hildrebrand (Negasonic Teenage Warhead)
Running Time: 108 Mins