by W. G. White
20th Century Fox is having a weird time with their intellectual properties at the moment. Sure, the X-Men reboot is gelling well but Fantastic Four was…less than successful. When I think of the best superhero films, I don’t think of Fox. Well, I didn’t anyway. Not until I saw Deadpool.
It’s almost enough to make a man forgive Wolverine Origins. The lovably crass merc was only a supporting role, but his silencing was still a poor decision. His mouth was quite literally sewn shut. Utter travesty. Sacrilege, even. Who would green light that?
Following Origins, Ryan Reynolds (who supposedly wouldn’t remain for the latter half of the film due to disagreeing with character changes) fought tirelessly to make a Deadpool film happen. A real Deadpool film. And finally, only 7 years after his first onscreen buggering, we got to see Wade Wilson undergo a different kind of rectal violation.
From pegging to masturbation with a newly grown infant hand (on a grown man, don’t worry), fourth wall breaks to murdering someone with a Zamboni. Deadpool is everything a fan of the character could hope for. And nothing your Nan should watch. Refreshing to see director Tim Miller breath new life into a genre that was stagnating.
Deadpool comes at a time when superhero movies are everywhere. Marvel is churning out comic book after comic book adaptation, each new spandex wearing do-gooder skipping into the spotlight with rosy cheeks and dreams of saving the world. Warner Bros and DC are trying to capture what Marvel has, but they’re not quite there (yet), Fox is keeping its head above water and Sony seems to have given up, letting other studios make their films for them.
In a saturated market where everybody and their hamster has the power to melt box-office ratings with their laser eyes, Deadpool has dared to do something none of the others have: swear. A lot. Of course, you get the odd one or two curse words in a Marvel production, but you wouldn’t catch Spider-man inhaling the smoke of his smouldering pistols and promising to touch himself later, but for Deadpool, that’s second nature.
Ryan Reynolds’ interpretation of Wade Wilson AKA Deadpool is a thing of beauty. As much as Hugh Jackman is Wolverine, and Robert Downey Jr is Ironman, so too, is Ryan Reynolds Deadpool. I can’t think of another actor who could deliver Wade’s lines with such a sadistic, childish glee and not come across as creepy.
Whilst the supporting cast is good, (honourable mentions to T. J. Miller as Wesel for some truly memorable improv, and Karab Soni for his thoroughly likeable and (not so) innocent Dopinder) no one manages to outshine Reynolds.
Admittedly I’m a fan of Ryan, I’ve seen Paper Man through to Chaos Theory, The Nines, The Voices, Buried and more. Whilst Buried may be (in my opinion) Reynolds’ best serious work, Deadpool is, without question, his best comedic work. The timing, dialogue, action and delivery all combine into an on-screen experience that’s quite special.
Although the film boasts stunning visuals, breathtaking CG and a killer soundtrack, Deadpool’s biggest and possibly only letdown is its plot. It’s an origin story (because I suppose it has to be?) which revolves around Wade seeking a cure for his super-rash. He’s chasing down a mutant named Ajax/ Francis, Ed Skrein, for the crime of saving his life (and attempting to enslave him, but whatever). Through a series of flashbacks, we learn that Wade has cancer. He’s approached by a shady organisation (Weapon X) who claim to have the ability to save him. After some deliberation, Wade agrees to submit himself to their trails and is subsequently tortured until his dormant mutant genes activate.
For those of you who don’t know, Deadpool has pretty much the same powers as Wolverine, sans the adamantium skeleton and claws. He regenerates at a crazy quick speed, even regrowing limbs.
When Wade’s mutant genes awaken his body becomes consumed by cancer. He’s scarred irreversibly, going from Ryan Reynolds levels of attractive to Donald Trump after bathing in a hottub of razor blades. Wade escapes captivity but views himself as a monster. He believes his loving fiancee, Morena Baccarin, would never accept him, and so begins the hunt for the man who mutilated him.
It’s a simple plot, nothing groundbreaking or too demanding of its viewers. Whilst the stakes aren’t high in a global sense, they still manage to feel gripping enough to keep the audience engaged. By now when it comes to superhero films we’re used to incredible feats of heroism, seeing worlds on the brink of destruction and aliens invading New York City. Whilst I think writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick could have been braver with the story they chose to tell, I can understand why they did it. The plot does what it needs to, which is setting up plenty of screen time for a wise-cracking Deadpool.
Having said that, there’s a charm to this film that most comic book adaptations lack. It doesn’t take itself seriously, it’s not trying to be anything other than what it is: a really fun time. It pokes holes in its own lore, it laughs at the genre and makes references to the X-men franchises’ skewed timeline.
Comics were, once upon a time, aimed primarily at kids. Well, us kids have grown up and we’ve taken our toys with us. Deadpool is the result of that. It’s what happens when markets collide. The humour is sophisticated but simultaneously childish; it’s the perfect boiling pot of violence, comedy, romance, and superhero.
I walked away from Deadpool hungry for more. I’m thankful then, that Tim Miller and Fox have a second movie in the works. Though incredibly doubtful, I’m hoping for a Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe story, but perhaps Deadpool Kills 20th Century Fox’s Version of the Marvel Universe is more likely. Which would mean Deadpool systematically and brutally murdering the X-men and Fantastic Four casts. A man can dream.
Dir: Tim Miller
Scr: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, T.J. Miller, Ed Skrein, Morena Baccarin, Karab Soni, Stefan Kapicic (voice), Brianna Hildebrand, Gina Carano, Leslie Uggams
Prd: Simon Kinberg, Ryan Reynolds, Lauren Shuler Donner
DOP: Ken Seng
Music: Tom Holkenborg
Run time: 108 mins
Deadpool is available for digital download now and is out on DVD and Blu-ray in the UK from the 13th of June.