Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Gina Carano
Wade Wilson (Reynolds) is a former Special Forces operative, who after discovering he has terminal cancer turns his back on the love of his life and takes up an offer from a shady organisation to receive an experimental cure. The experiments leave him with a mutation that gives him accelerated healing powers that not only cure his cancer, but also leave him with hideous deformities. With the help of a couple of mutant allies whose ultimate aim is to recruit him as a do-gooder X-man, Wade uses his new skills to exact revenge on those that left him deformed and takes up the name of Deadpool.
Ever since the character of Deadpool was included in the incredibly average X-Men Origins: Wolverine cinema has certainly done quite a disservice to one of the more distinctive mutants (also Gambit in my opinion, it will be interesting to see what his film is like!), but with Tim Miller’s film the character has finally got the film he deserves. Most importantly the character of Deadpool has not only got his own film, but tonally the film is very much in sync with the personality of its protagonist.
There has been a recent trend for superhero films to stop taking themselves quite so seriously and the likes of Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man injected some appropriate tongue-in-cheek humour. Well, Deadpool certainly takes that even further to not only go for very self-aware and self-mocking humour, but also ditching the supposedly box office friendly 12a rating to be a suitably sweary and violent 15 rated film. Though its box office return certainly proves that its rating has not done any harm to its profit margins. From start to finish Deadpool is an outrageously entertaining romp of violence, swearing and crude, self-aware humour. There is no denying that it often treads a fine line, but gets away with it far more often than not.
Films being too self-aware can promote complacency, smugness and narrative laziness as they can just announce they aware that something doesn’t add up and the fact the film laughs at that and announces it is aware of it means it can get away with it. There is constant breaking of the fourth wall in Deadpool and there is certainly no denying that the actual plot of Deadpool is rather generic and minimal (these too are often the subject of jokes), but the fact the script is razor sharp and genuinely hilarious means it does get away with it. There are so many jokes and broad, eclectic references that I am sure repeat viewings will yield new hilarity.
I often criticise mainstream films for being crude for the sake of it, well the humour in Deadpool is often very crude, but this is a film that is an example where crude humour can be genuinely funny as it is presented with more panache and genuine intelligence than films starring Vince Vaughan do. Deadpool is of course very much an antihero and the tone of the film suits this perfectly as it is essentially an anti-superhero film in that it constantly mocks the films of this genre, in particular a certain mutant-based franchise. Full credit should go to Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick for their script, but the film’s opening credits also appropriately do that!
Ryan Reynolds has himself played a pivotal role in this film existing and proves exactly why he was initially cast to play the character. He can be extremely likeable and hilarious when on top form, and I feel that it is his choice of films that often lets him down. Well he is very much on top form throughout the film and is very much a key factor in just how enjoyable and hilarious it is.
Of course Reynolds is the star of the show and it does mean that no other character really gets a look in. Though that in some ways it is also appropriate to the personality of the film’s protagonist, it does render the film a little forgettable in that there is no real actual plot to engage with. Likewise, tonally the film is little too slapdash and disjointed at times, going from one extreme to the other with a deeply serious moment followed by visual and verbal gags. Admittedly most of the gags are hilarious, but these extreme changes in tone do sometimes make the actual film hard to follow and do feel like they are just making up for a lack of actual plot. The final action set piece also does feel a little too generic and overlong, but overall the long wait for Deadpool’s own film is finally over, and the wait has definitely been worth it. Despite being first and foremost an action film, Deadpool contains a laugh-a-minute rate that puts most comedies to shame.
A superhero film that unashamedly announces itself as an anti-superhero film in a hilarious way; Deadpool is very much the film its protagonist deserves. Though there is admittedly very little beneath the surface and the tone feels a little disjointed at times, the sharp script and note-perfect performance from Reynolds produces a film that is pure hilarious entertainment from start to finish.