FILM REVIEW: Deadpool
Deadpool is the superhero film we deserve and definitely the one we need right now!”
You can do pretty much anything, even decapitate Deadpool, and he’ll keep on coming. One monstrosity he almost didn’t survive, however, was Wolverine: X-Men Origins, in which he was essentially eviscerated on screen, barely resembling the merc with a mouth we all know. Deadpool heals those old wounds with a thoroughly entertaining, brash origin story that finally showcases the potential of the beloved character.
The risks it takes with its leading man are somewhat lacking in other aspects of the film in terms of the story and its choice of villains. Deadpool is a tad too conventional in these aspects. But thankfully there’s enough weirdness poking through to offset these more predictable elements.
One of the reasons the film works is most definitely Ryan Reynolds, who seizes the chance to do right by the character. He’s charismatic charm exudes the larger-than-life nature of Deadpool, which isn’t something that can be easily pulled off considering how much of the film he spends either in a full-body costume or beneath heavy prosthetics. You may think this might limit him but the suit is really brought to life by Reynolds’ physical performance and some subtle CGI on the mask to really give this the character the level of expression he requires. Reynolds’ performance is most assuredly one of his best as he doesn’t shut up for the entire movie. From the first minute, you’re treated to smorgasbord of witty one-liners, put-downs, and metafictional treats. It’s relentless at times too, alas inevitably, when you’re throwing out so many of them, there’s going to be a few that don’t hit the funny bone, but Deadpool’s hit ratio is more hit than miss.
There’s a feast of crass humour, but the film is strongest comically when it gets a little out there, and places its hero in more unexpected situations, like taking a cab, doing his laundry, or relaxing at home cuddling his blind elderly flat mate. A surreal tone underpins Deadpool’s best scenes, and it’s something rare to see in a superhero film. There’s a surprising Monty Python influence at play, which becomes evident with movie’s wonderful take on Holy Grail’s unstoppable Black Knight sequence. At times it feels more like a surreal sitcom than a big action-comedy. This isn’t such a bad thing because it’s actually a breath of fresh air for the genre to have these fun little comedic digressions.
Even though the movie does take plenty of risks with its central character, pushing the envelope with each new scene, Deadpool plays it safe when it comes to its story. Though when it comes to the history of Deadpool, this isn’t necessarily a bad course of action by the writers. It’s a supremely straightforward origin story, which evolves into an equally straightforward tale of revenge. Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) falls in love, is diagnosed with terminal cancer, and eventually offered a chance of being cured and given ‘special abilities’. Instead, he’s tortured and subsequently disfigured in an attempt to make him into a secret weapon for hire and not the hero he was promised. Wilson then spends the rest of the film hunting down Ajax aka ‘Francis’ (Ed Skrein), the who was the head of the research project.
This idea of revenge is albeit very played out by today’s standards. Most superhero films typically feature a montage sequence early on in which the hero has fun testing their newfound abilities before accepting the responsibility of those powers and becoming a hero. Deadpool’s take on this sequence is the polar opposite as it features him chasing leads to Ajax and murdering those who have done him wrong in gloriously gory style. With this fresh spin it enables you enjoy the film so much more than the usual superhero origin fare. As Ajax, Ed Skrein from Game of Thrones fame doesn’t really project a truly threatening or memorable villain, since he’s given so little to do. He exists solely to be hunted. Meanwhile, the purpose of Gina Carano’s Angel Dust, as far as I can figure is to hit things and look a bit moody.
In the comics, Deadpool smashes through the Marvel Universe, making complete fun of its heroes and creating lunacy and chaos wherever he goes. In the movie, however, he feels slightly constrained due to the nature of the restrictive revenge story. This will certainly be rectified in any sequels that will follow. In an attempt to give the film a bit more scale and tie the character of Deadpool into a much larger cinematic universe The X-Men do feature, Well, only two minor X-Men to be exact. However, It’s great to see more of Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) on the big screen, and he’s played to my pleasant surprise I might add, on the funny side than his previous incarnations.
Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) is another fun addition and one I knew absolutely nothing about going in, playing Colossus’s sullen trainee. Ultimately, it feels like Deadpool has been slightly confined in his first outing maybe due to the fact that the present-day X-Men timeline isn’t exactly clear cut anymore, or simply budgetary reasons. On par with breaking the fourth as Deadpool always is, the movie is keenly aware of those problems, and in true Deadpool-style, turns it into yet another gag at its own expense.
One area in which Deadpool most assuredly doesn’t hold back is its gory and fantastically choreographed action sequences. They are constantly stylish throughout, with Deadpool switching with ease between pistols and his iconic katanas, severing heads and making human kebabs. He breaks bones and, simultaneously, the fourth-wall, providing on the nose hilarious commentary on what’s going down, like exactly how many bullets he has left or whether he’s left the stove on. These sequences are very creative and certainly allow the film to rise above the standard comic book superhero offerings that have come before.
In ending, the movie has been successfully revived. Deadpool on the big screen is a movie that’s full of great one-liners, sweet gory action, and heaps of fan service. Weak villains hold it back in some respects, but Deadpool still manages to deliver a large dose of unwholesome fun. To be honest there’s not much else you could ask for…. well maybe a chimichanga or two.