Comic book fans, rejoice — Deadpool finally has his own film and, believe me, it was well worth the wait. After over ten years of development hell, the Merc with a Mouth has burst onto the superhero scene with more attitude than I thought star Ryan Reynolds was capable of, and the box office figures will tell you all you need to know: DEADPOOL is a massive hit for Fox, and rightly so. It’s one of the most entertaining films I’ve had the pleasure of seeing at the cinema, and it’s one that demands multiple viewings. You wouldn’t want to miss one of Mr. Pool’s wisecracking remarks, now, would you?
Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) is an NYC-based mercenary who protects girls from stalkers. It’s all quite simple really, until he meets Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) and, not long after, finds himself diagnosed with terminal cancer. Deadpool is born from a secret program that promises to cure Wade’s cancer by very unconventional means: torturing him for days until his dormant mutation presents itself. As with most comic book anti-heroes, things don’t go to plan and revenge is high on the list of priorities, with Deadpool’s being no exception — he wants to get a cure from the guy who turned his face into a burned mess, and he will literally stop at nothing to ensure that Francis (Ed Skrein) co-operates.
It would be remiss of me to say that DEADPOOL surprised me, because it really didn’t. Every trailer release made me more excited to see it, and I just knew it wouldn’t disappoint. As it turned out, DEADPOOL had me hooked right from its hilarious opening credits, and the humour didn’t let up for the rest of the film; even serious scenes are infused with acerbic remarks and sarcastic quips. There is literally nothing that Deadpool deems too inappropriate to say and, as an existing fan of that type of humour, I was all too quick to appreciate every filthy phrase that left his masked mouth. I laughed so much my jaw ached, and that’s not something I can say about any other superhero film I’ve seen. Deadpool really is one on his own, and it’s refreshing to see Fox take a risk and venture out into a more adult superhero world.
The only aspect of DEADPOOL that initially had me worried was the casting of Ryan Reynolds in the title role. I’ll admit I’ve never been a big fan of him or his films (let’s all just forget GREEN LANTERN exists, shall we?), but I needn’t have given a second thought to his involvement in the project — he’s brilliant from start to finish and absolutely the best person for the job. I can’t imagine anyone else delivering Deadpool’s lines like he does, and I now don’t even want to think about another actor portraying Wade Wilson. DEADPOOL has somehow succeeded in making me a Ryan Reynolds fan, which I never thought would be possible; he’s king and that’s all there is to it. The rest of DEADPOOL’s cast are all great too, particularly Morena Baccarin and T.J. Miller as Weasel. This trio bounce off each other like they’ve been friends their whole lives, and the chemistry they have is second to none. Even Ed Skrein has a good stint as a non-irritating British villain, and he’s another actor I now appreciate more than I did before. All hail DEADPOOL’s casting agents — they’ve done a hell of a job!
DEADPOOL is full of pop culture references (THE MATRIX and BLADE II are my personal favourites) and in-house superhero jokes, most notably those that refer to the X-Men (“McAvoy or Stewart?” steals the show). These are made even funnier with the inclusion of X-Men characters Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead, and every scene they’re in is both adrenaline-filled and humorous. My only quibble is that they could have been utilised more throughout the earlier parts of the film, but I see why they were saved for the latter half of proceedings — the film could have become too crowded if more mutants were involved, and it would have detracted from Deadpool’s already convoluted origin story. That being said, Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead need to return for the sequel, and maybe the studio will even be able to afford another X-Man or two — chances are that’s a welcome perk to earning big money at the box office.
DEADPOOL is most definitely worthy of its US R/UK 15 rating, and I’m so glad it wasn’t cut or watered down in order to accommodate a younger audience. The whole tone of the film relies on Deadpool’s adult humour and over-the-top violence, and to lose that would have been a ridiculous move on the studio’s behalf. Instead Fox went ahead with a version of DEADPOOL not suitable for its usual target audience, and the result is one of gory goodness. Heads get blown off, body parts are sawn off and one unlucky person even finds themselves with a bullet straight through their asshole (and yes, it is as funny as it sounds). There’s nudity, massive amounts of swearing, an abundance of filthy jokes and a montage of sex scenes that wouldn’t look out of place in FIFTY SHADES OF GREY. The bottom line is that DEADPOOL is aimed at an older audience and never holds back — it is what it is, and it makes no apologies for it.
DEADPOOL shines throughout every minute of its runtime, whether it be because of its tendency to break the fourth wall, its ability to make a full cinema erupt into laughter or simply because Ryan Reynolds is just that good. I can’t put my finger on one specific element that makes it work, because the whole film is a level of Fox superhero genius that hasn’t been seen until now. It’s my favourite theatrical release of 2016 so far and it’s going to take something very special to knock it from the top spot — I already can’t wait to see it again, and that in itself is testament to its brilliance. If you’ve been wavering about hitting your local cinema and finally meeting Deadpool, what are you waiting for? It’s one of those films that needs to be seen as soon as possible, and one that I’m sure will be talked about for years to come. Kudos, Fox — your Merc’s done good!
– JENNY DAVIES