“Now, I’m about to do to you what Limp Bizkit did to music in the late 90s.”
Deadpool, as a comic book character, is perhaps a little overrated. Over the past few years it seems he has become absolutely everyone’s favourite character, his face is on everything and you can’t go to a convention without seeing a thousand Deadpools. So when the movie came out and everyone was saying how it’s the best superhero film in years, and how it’ll revolutionise the genre, I was sceptical to say the least. Does it do those things? Well that’s up for debate, but Deadpool is still one hell of a film.
Deadpool begins with one of the best openings in recent memory. The camera pans around a frozen action scene taking in every detail of the fight (one we get to see in real time later) all to the sound of ‘Morning Angel’ by Juice Newton. Throughout there are little nods and references, a magazine with Ryan Reynolds on the cover, a nod to the Green Lantern movie. From the opening credits you know you’re in for something special, names are swapped for things like “Directed by Some Overpaid Tool”. This movie is not taking itself that seriously and it gets straight into it.
Ryan Reynolds is Wade Wilson/Deadpool. After finding he has terminal cancer he volunteers for an experiment to save his fiancée the pain of losing him. This mutates him into Deadpool, a heavily scarred wisecracking antihero. He is an excellent choice because (as you may have seen from interviews etc) he is a big fan of the character and campaigned to have this film made. He has a real passion for it and it shows, he was born to spout Deadpool’s juvenile jokes and profane one-liners. And it’s nice seeing him get a good film for once! Ryan Reynolds always struck me as a guy who deserved better. He was excellent in The Voices and was far better than anyone needed him to be in Smokin’ Aces. This is his fifth comic book film after four previous ones that could all be argued to be the very worst of the genre; Blade Trinity, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Green Lantern and R.I.P.D. (though he is the best part of these films). Finally he has found a character and made it his. He is particularly great right after Wade finds out about the cancer and is trying to deal with it. It’s a pretty heavy portion of the film and he is excellent.
The supporting cast is great, with nerd-favourite Morena Baccarin (Firefly) playing the love interest well. She’s on par with Wade and more than keeps up with his jokes. The film avoids making her just some throwaway eye-candy and turns it into a believable love story, mostly down to the amazing chemistry the two of them share. You want them to stay together, for things to work out for them in the end. The villain, Ajax (Ed Skrein) is a little more one dimensional. You do hate him a lot for what he does, and he’s fun to watch, but he doesn’t really have a great motivation to do the things he’s doing. He’s evil without explanation. With that being said, Ed Skrein gives it his all and he’s great! Again he is a big fan so his passion shows (check out an interview with him talking about comics, he seems like a cool guy!)
For me, all of the jokes more or less land. Sure some are puerile and some are dumb, but they’re so funny. The sex montage will go down in history for a whole lot of different reasons. There is humour of every kind, sight gags and references, to gross out humour. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying comedy like this, it might not be high art but who cares? It’s knowingly ridiculous and I don’t think anyone could watch this film and not at least smile. There are a few jokes that I thought might age badly (tweeting, Jared from Subway), but it’s funny now so we’ll have to wait and see in a few years. Some unexpected moments of comedy brilliance comes from the music used in the film. Some of it is big and funny like Juice Newton in the opening few minutes, and some of it is more subtle like ‘Mr Sandman’ being used during a torture montage. All I know is that any film that uses Chicago in it’s climatic action scene is fine by me.
Speaking of action, this film has plenty. Deadpool shoots and slashes his way through dozens of bad guys. The action is done really well, especially considering the tight budget. And most importantly it’s interesting. The best scene sees Deadpool down to only 12 bullets, with more enemies than that surrounding him. The following shootout is well choreographed, funny and infinitely stylish. Everything is done with a knowing nod or a wink, often directly to the camera. For example, you can tell where the budget was a problem, the film desperately wants X-Men in the film so we get Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (who are awesome). But then Deadpool makes a joke about the limited budget not allowing the film makers to include more characters and it works, it really works. Deadpool’s nods to the camera work in this film better than I could have imagined. I remember when I was younger and I first saw Deadpool and his fourth wall breaking, I was sure they’d never get him in a decent film. It just doesn’t work, audiences wouldn’t understand. But I stand corrected, the fourth wall breaking and references work without detracting from the universe the movie is a part of.
Despite being huge comics fan, I am pretty much only a casual fan of Deadpool, my knowledge of him stretches to a few comics and Ultimate Alliance 2. I loved this film, it knows when to be silly and it knows just how silly it is. I have seen criticism that the third act falls into the same sort of destruction porn as seen in other movies, but I didn’t really care. The action scenes are so interestingly made I could watch them all day. Deadpool may not have the world ending stakes of X-Men: Apocalypse but it’s all the better for it. It’s just a guy trying to get back to his girl. There is a hell of a lot of heart behind these dick jokes.
Reviewed by Jack 😛