Deadpool, Deadpool, Deadpool. One of my greatest disappointments to date.
You see, way back when a trailer was leaked online for this film, I was absolutely sure it would bomb. They made it gory and funny, but so what: if it gets snapped up, they’ll make it child-friendly. I was not dissuaded when I wrongly heard it would be a 12 (though how this film managed to get a 15 rating is beyond me). On this basis I made one of a longstanding series of bets with a friend that this movie would flop. Yet again I have lost, because Deadpool is awesome. Seriously awesome.
For those of you who do not know who Deadpool is: It’s complicated. Deadpool is an anti-hero who, after being given a healing factor greater than Wolverine’s, became a mercenary. He is a wise-cracking, gun-wielding, torture-loving psychopath with all the charm of Brad Pit’s cheekbones and all the attractive qualities of Rupert Murdoch. In this film, we see his origins, along with him trying to take down Ajax, a mad scientist who was responsible for giving him his powers and causing him untold agony. It jumps back and forth between these two narratives, riding us on a unicorn made of rainbows toward a great conclusion.
What makes Deadpool unique is his constant breaking of the fourth wall. In the comic books he regularly steps out of what is happening to speak to the audience. He is aware of comic book tropes and references real-life events that completely disrupt the narrative. Without this self-aware cheekiness, this film would have surely failed, but director Tim Miller had the common sense to make the best use of this. Wade openly mocks the mess they made of his character in X-Men Origins: Wolverine and references the confusing timeline of the X-Men movies and the fact that he has played multiple superheroes. There is also a healthy spray of gore, some great side characters (who, if I were to pick a fault, are quite undeveloped) and plenty of sex and torture. But it’s all done in good humour and leaves you laughing every time. The delivery of Deadpool’s backstory is touching, which allows for good contrast and a way to sober audiences between the jokes. The pacing of the narrative was well though-out.
A few more notes on the film: the CGI is fantastic. There is a little call out to the bronies. There is one of the best superhero-makes-their-own-suit montages, mixing R&D (research and development) with R&D (razing and destruction). There is a damn good Stan Lee cameo. Ryan Reynolds gives us the full scope of his acting chops and they are not found wanting. The fact that we do not see his face in the second half of the narrative is balanced by the flashback sequences which give us a good idea of his face beforehand. There are also more blowjobs in here than an American Pie film. In short, it has everything to recommend it and nothing to denounce. They could make a sequel, but to be frank there isn’t need. Deadpool hasn’t been done justice for the first time and justice tastes sweet.
If you’re looking for a Ryan Reynolds comedy romance this Valentine’s Day, this is not the film you are looking for. It is arse-kicking, face-sitting, civilian-murdering, self-effacing, excitement-inducing, spandex-wearing AWESOME.
I am aware that there has been an increasing discrepancy of cynicism in my reviews over the few last weeks. I am going to take a week out to recharge and then deconstruct with great prejudice whatever film sullies my eyes next.