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Review: Deadpool – “Irreverent, ironic and iconic”

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After the awful, awful presentation of the character in X-Men Origins: Wolverine — sewing the “merc with a mouth”’s yap shut? Brilliant — Ryan Reynolds gets another shot at portraying Wade Wilson a.k.a. Deadpool.

Written by the guys behind Zombieland, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick; and directed by first-timer Tim Miller, who did the visual effects on the brilliant Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Deadpool is as snappy, witty and brimming with anarchic fourth-wall-breaking awesomeness as you hoped.

Wade Wilson is a mercenary with a heart of gold. A combat veteran with 41 confirmed kills, Wade is now happy to earn his money dissuading stalkers and trading barbs with his friend, and source of work, Weasel (T.J. Miller). One night Wade meets prostitute Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), a woman with a sense of humour as messed up with his own, and the pair fall in love.

When Wade discovers he has cancer of the liver, lungs, brain and prostate he leaves Vanessa to spare her having to see him slowly die, running away to a dodgy back alley lab where a mysterious man has promised to cure him by unlocking his dormant mutant genes. This process unfortunately involves continuous torture from Angel and Ajax (Gina Carano and Ed Skrein), and results in a Wolverine-like healing ability – but also the side effect of receiving a Freddy Krueger birthday suit.

Wade escapes but cannot face Vanessa with his messed up mush, instead suiting up as vigilante “Deadpool” and hunting down Ajax, who he thinks can put his complexion back to normal. Action, laughs, bloodshed, X-men, and even some romance ensue.

The structure of Deadpool is very clever, intercutting between past and present and thus sparing us having to sit through all the origin story before having some fun. The fun, like the comedy and fighting, is non-stop, making Deadpool both the funniest and violent-est comic book movie ever. This is due in part to Reese and Wernick’s script which contains more jokes than a standard straight comedy, as well as Miller’s zippy rollercoaster direction and blistering action sequences; but it is Reynolds’ unflagging energy and charm that powers the movie.

Ryan Reynolds has always been a likeable super-fit crack-up artist, just the right side of being a jerk, and Deadpool is a match made in heaven for him. It is abundantly clear that Ry-Rey would quite literally do anything for this character and film and pretty much does – skipping, singing, dancing, and even merrily flashing his abs, bum and junk as required.

The film’s villains are a little weak. Ed Skrein is a one note nasty piece of work, more a wind up merchant than an arch enemy, and Gina Carano is a little wasted. Bulked up, there is no doubt at all that Carano’s Angel can pack a wallop, but that’s all she does: punch. When you know just what amazing battling this MMA fighter is capable of, seeing her get to exhibit nothing but haymakers to a CGI character is a little disappointing.

That CGI character is Colossus, who along with Negasonic Teenage Warhead are the two X-men trying to reign Deadpool in throughout before teaming up with him for the finale. The fully digital silver steel Russian strongman is wonderfully realised and a great, and much needed, straight man. His ward, Negasonic (Brianna Hildebrand), is a narky teen who provides plenty of attitude and even a little valuable sweetness.

Deadpool also has an abundance of side kicks. A taxi driver named Dopinder, a scene stealing Karan Soni, is excellent; as is T.J. Miller’s Weasel – who could obviously improv with Reynolds for days. Blind old lady roommate “Al” falls rather flat, and feels like an accoutrement too far, while Baccarin is as tough as she is lovely, but her bantz with Wade is a bit annoying, as is the pair’s actually unfunny running gag about how bad they got it.

That we even have a movie of Deadpool is something of a miracle, and for it to actually be painfully funny, hard 15 violent, and ear-assaultingly potty mouthed, as well as really, really good, is amazing. Irreverent, ironic and iconic, prepare yourself to fall in love with your new favourite super(anti)hero.

4-out-of-5

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