DIR: Tim Miller • WRI: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick • PRO: Simon Kinberg, Stan Lee, Lauren Shuler Donner • DOP: Ken Seng • ED: Julian Clarke • DES: Sean Haworth • MUS: Junkie XL • CAST: Morena Baccarin, Ryan Reynolds, Gina Carano
Following in the steps of Chris Evans upgrading his superhero persona, Ryan Reynolds has abandoned the green suit of Green Lantern for red and black spandex ‘so his enemies won’t see him bleed.’ If that sounds macabre, Deadpool slash alter-ego Wade Wilson is, but he has several other qualities to make up for this such as cockiness, cheekiness and explicit crudeness. Reynolds (literally) kills in the superhero/villain role and has never seemed so comfortable as he does in a super tight one-piece. Does the long-anticipated film disappoint? Well, if you enjoy your humour, violence and action served in near equal doses, then Deadpool is the film for you.
As a mercenary, Wade Wilson (Reynolds) is ‘just a bad guy who gets paid to beat up worse guys.’ Because of his job, Wade keeps little company other than bar tender friend Weasel (T.J. Miller), that is, until he meets a beautiful escort named Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) whom he soon falls for and moves in with.
Without giving anything significant away, Wade is talked into subjecting himself to experimentation which, he is told, will make him all-powerful. Wade thus becomes a mutant with self-healing powers and enhanced strength and agility, but also deformed skin. After he escapes the laboratory, he becomes a vigilante and vows to take revenge against those who tortured him: Ajax (Ed Skrein) and his accomplice Angel Dust (Gina Carano).
With such a storyline, Deadpool is fairly by the numbers. It finds particular resonance with X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which is interesting given that Reynolds first appeared as Deadpool in that film. However, the character has been significantly rewritten here – in fact, superhero fans have been waiting for over ten years for Deadpool to hit screens as the project hit various development and writing issues from the mid-noughties. In spite of such hindrances, the wit of Reynolds in the leading role and direct-to-audience address, biting self-references, and restructured narrative structure sets the superhero movie apart from others of the genre.
Based in the X-Men universe, the movie also features appearances from mutants Colossus (voiced by Stefan Kapicic) and the moody, ambiguous Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand). While these and other supporting characters, particularly Weasel, are fun and entertaining, this show is all about Deadpool. Having waited so long to act the part, Reynolds takes an infectious delight in playing the sardonic egotist.
From its opening slow-motion car chase sequence, Deadpool is as full of back talk, action and violence as promised by its 16s (or R) rating, and its many TV spots and trailers. Speaking of, a potential point of criticism for Deadpool is its overt marketing campaign, which has included the release of several versions of trailers for the film. The film delivers exactly what it says on the tin, but the plot could have benefitted from a few more surprises.
Still, Tim Miller delivers a feat for his directorial debut, and on the superhero movie rating scale – which we can safely say has certainly had its ups and downs – Deadpool is pretty fresh.
16 (See IFCO for details)
Deadpool is released 12th February 2016