Tim Miller’s Deadpool brings the “Merc with the Mouth” to the big screen in a manner designed to make up for the butchering of the character in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
Every now and again something comes along that is made right with no obvious studio strings pulling the production in a particular direction. Throughout the film I was impressed that things seemed completely unrestrained in its execution.
The opening completely sets the tone with a spoof of opening credits detailing the character tropes rather than the actors. This sets us up for what we can expect and the film doesn’t let up from here. A lot of the running time is spent parodying the superhero genre while taking things semi seriously. Part of me was expecting something along the lines of Superhero Movie but the script is a lot smarter than that and winks at the audience without straying completely into the realm of the ridiculous.
Many of the superhero tropes are sent up here such as the character narrating their own life. Deadpool actually gives a reason for that as he routinely breaks the fourth wall to talk to the audience. Hilariously the other characters are wondering why he’s doing this so on a narrative level he comes across as a lunatic who talks to imaginary people. It completely works as it allows the world that he inhabits to be more real than it should be.
This is especially important as it is made clear that this film exists within the X-Men universe. Those characters are represented by Colossus (Stefan Kapicic in vocal form only) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand). The lack of other characters from that franchise appearing is directly addressed and played for laughs.
Budget constraints are all over this film. It was clearly made on a very low budget as there are only two action sequences, no actual cameos from big X-Men characters and a relative handful of characters to keep the story going. The lack of budget doesn’t bring the film down in any way and in many cases enhances as it becomes part of the story in many ways.
Deadpool has a really competent screenplay and a story that manages to be gripping throughout. It is an origin story but it manages to get around the pacing issues these often have by starting off with Deadpool in all his glory and cutting back to his origin from there. There’s enough jumping around to keep everything moving and it never feels slow or by the numbers.
It is also very funny. I don’t often respond well to comedy but I laughed out loud a lot at this film. I loved the way it would make fun of superhero tropes simply by pointing them out, how creative it was with making violent imagery funny as well has having some really hilarious dialogue.
Ryan Reynolds is the perfect choice to play Wade Wilson/Deadpool. His line delivery is flawless throughout and a strong personality always comes across. He spends most of the film masked or hidden under grotesque makeup so it could be argued that he took on many thankless chores to bring this character to life. His witty personality isn’t taken too far which still makes it possible to root for him.
Morena Baccarin plays the love interest Vanessa. She subverts a lot of the tropes by being a damaged prostitute who is prone to her own brand of soppy displays of emotion. This is a great role for Baccarin and she really goes for it in her performance. As insane as it is their relationship completely works and the scenes they share are a lot of fun.
T.J. Miller’s deadpan line delivery also fits in with this film really well. He is clearly supposed to be the comic relief but the real joke is that he’s the most normal of anyone. The scene where he sees Wade’s disfigured face for the first time had me in stitches due to his excellent delivery.
The main villain is Ajax (Ed Skrein) and he is definitely the weakest part of the film. It could be argued that he is there to satirise the weak villains that appear in so many superhero movies but the film doesn’t really do anything with it so it just feels as if he’s another weak villain in a comic book movie. He served his purpose but I kept waiting for the real villain to show up as he never felt like a viable threat. It wouldn’t have taken much work to parody the concept of villains in comic book movies but the film doesn’t take advantage of this.
It does take advantage of a more mature rating with lots of swearing and violence. I didn’t find the violence overly gratuitous but it did make the action sequences more visceral. Instead of finding excuses for Deadpool to not use his swords he happily runs people through with them. It’s refreshing to see and certainly makes the whole thing feel more unique.
Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead are also slightly weak. They have a defined purpose and stick to that but their presence also felt slightly pointless. More could have been made of them being the norm in this universe confused by Deadpool’s actions and constant talking to people that aren’t there but beyond the odd mention it doesn’t really go anywhere.
The CGI on Colossus was slightly ropey but considering the budget limitations I’m willing to let that slide. It could also be a reference to the reliance on CGI to create things that could be done practically but maybe I’m just reading into it a bit too much.
Negasonic Teenage Warhead embodied the most subtle and clever humour of the whole thing. Deadpool is a divisive character in comics. You either love him or hate him -though funnily enough I fit somewhere in the middle- and she represents a jaded millennial who understands what the character is about but sees him as a relic of a bygone age that doesn’t resonate with her generation. She sees through him and really isn’t impressed. It’s clever for a movie starring Deadpool to feature a character who exists for the sole purpose of making fun of the fact that he might not be as cool as he -and by extension a large part of the audience- thinks he is. Sadly it doesn’t really pay off which also leads me to conclude that I’m reading too much into it. If so then so what? I’m a comic book fan and that’s what we do!
A really fun film that makes up for all sins committed by X Men Origins: Wolverine in regards to this character. Ryan Reynolds leads a talented cast in a film that feels very unique to the superhero genre. I am so glad that it got made and was this good. It is the most fun I’ve had at the cinema in a long time