Director: Tim Miller (Directorial debut).
Starring: Ryan Reynolds (Woman in Gold, Green Lantern, X-Men Origins: Wolverine), Morena Baccarin (Gotham, Homeland, Serenity).
First-time director Tim Miller faithfully manages to bring the Merc with a Mouth on to the big-screen, making you forget that X-Men Origins: Wolverine ever happened, though Deadpool will be sure to remind you.
Since the project’s inception over a decade ago, the film has been anticipated by Deadpool fans and in later years, fans of comicbook films overall (something that’s become a blanket term, more than anything). The film has been in production and been cancelled, green-lit and sat on the backbenches, and then finally given a release date when its test footage was leaked online a couple of years ago.
Without discrediting the work of everyone else involved, this film is a passion project for Ryan Reynolds, who has done his best to get this film off the ground for so long. And so it’s no surprise that he’s the standout performance of the film (he is the main character, after all). Reynolds as Deadpool is akin to Hugh Jackman as Wolverine and Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark. This is Reynold’s film and everyone else comes second.
Deadpool racks up the body count as quickly as he does the swear count, but even quicker is the joke count. Make no mistake, this film is a comedy script first and foremost, with Deadpool as the lead comedian. If films like Captain America: The Winter Solider and Avengers: Age of Ultron are serious stories with banter and quips, Deadpool is orchestra of one-liners and knee-slappers. There’s barely enough time to process the joke before another one comes your way. Your expected Deadpool trademarks are all there, fourth-wall breaking, genitalia jokes and self-loathing. Reynolds knocks it out the park and barely gives you time to care about anyone else. Whether that is pro or con for the movie, is up to the viewer. I think it’s a con.
In fact, comedy becomes the second most important character. It’s there from the very first frame of the opening to the very last after-credits scene. Relentless in its pursuit of laughs, Deadpool will focus on the joke more than the character. Appropriate as that is for Deadpool himself, perhaps some of the other characters could have been spared now and again. The film falls very close into the trap of becoming the thing it so courageously mocks.
Junkie XL of Mad Max: Fury Road praise scored the film’s soundtrack, doing wonderful work as usually, especially in the action scenes. Combined with a great use of licensed tracks, the film’s background music accompanies the tone of the movie at all times.
While the marketing told you it wasn’t your average superhero story or love story, which is correct, the film isn’t really a story of anything. Okay, we get Deadpool’s origin story, broken up between his present day ‘mission’ to save the damsel in distress. But his motivation for hunting down the ‘British villain’ feels weak, especially when Deadpool himself becomes both a ‘good’ guy and ‘bad’ guy. Deadpool’s body count is higher than antagonist Ajax (Ed Skrein) and his almost entirely silent bodyguard, Angel Dust (Gina Carano). It’s hard to feel Deadpool’s motivation for revenge when he so easily jokes about everything else under the sun.
X-Men members Colossus (voiced by Stefan Kapičić) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) provide moral compass for the anti-hero, and bounce off one another extremely well. In fact, this is one of the better uses of X-Men in film for a long while. Colossus doesn’t take to Deadpool’s shenanigans very well, and criminally underused Negasonic Teenage Warhead provides a quiet balance in a film that doesn’t shut up.
But it’s Wade Wilson and his girlfriend Vanessa Carlysle’s relationship that gives the film a bit of depth. We see them meet and their advances toward one another, creating a believable relationship that the viewer might actually end up caring about.
Fourth-wall breaks and dick jokes abound, Deadpool delivers on his promise that this isn’t your typical superhero movie. It’s a small testament to comicbook and superhero films that a satirical, self-loathing movie like this can be made and well received (though there’s plenty more reasons for its success). This character has been faithfully transitioned from panel to screen, whether it’s the meta humour, costume or jokes, there’s a part of Deadpool for everyone to enjoy. If you a fan of Marvel or DC’s film output, Deadpool will feel like a gust of fresh-air, where Ant-Man is the closest comparison (but not similar at all).
Hugh Jackman would love this movie.
Should you see this film? Absolutely.
Feature image credit: 20th Century Fox