Deadpool (2016) (108 mins)
Director – Tim Miller
Starring – Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein
Premise – After being subjected to a torturous experiment that gave him superhero abilities, mercenary Wade Wilson hunts down the man who almost ruined his life.
After a cunningly inventive marketing campaign frenzy, it’s safe to say that 2016’s first superhero film, ‘the badass, smartass, and great ass’ that is Deadpool is going to rake in all type of audiences; those who were already in its clutches, those who had their doubts, and most of all, those who have no clue what a ‘deadpool’ is! The reason for its success: audiences are witnessing a whole new ball game of superhero, one that runs his mouth to the point where you just have to be hooked because he’s talking right at you! Receiving a far better adaptation than what X-Men Origins: Wolverine had produced, Deadpool’s only connection to the ill-fated original creation is the star himself Ryan Reynolds, and to be frank he’s never been more at ease than under the red uniform.
Faithfully adapted from the comics, Deadpool finds Wade Wilson just as he is about to fall in love, but is abruptly confronted by terminal cancer. He leaves at the expense of his lover in order to undergo an experiment to cure his illness, but is instead injected with a serum and tortured unremittingly until he develops a healing factor from the barrage of pain. Developing the Wolverine-like ability but being disfigured in the process, Wilson must now search for his captors in order to return confidently to the initial love story Deadpool had been mounting.
As lovingly wonderful it might appear, Deadpool is an entertaining blitz of profanity, insanity and wisecracking fun that never relents, ever. This is testament to Reynolds whose no-holds-barred third venture into superhero realm has finally hit the jackpot and has materialised into one of the best superhero/actor matchups in recent Marvel memory. He impressively carries the weight of comedy with rapid, incessant prose, excellent comic timing and a believable physical prowess to do what Deadpool does so efficiently. Even without the suit, he thrives during the moments of tenderness because he has plunged so deep into Deadpool’s shoes. Deadpool even works as a brief love story because his love interest, Morena Baccarin, is wonderful whenever she appears and manages to bring out some emotion from this banter-heavy production. She appears innocent and devoted, with no flaws in sight, and that angel-like characterisation brings some human warmth to this otherwise unrelenting barrage of inescapable crudeness.
After a bombardment of three or more superhero films each year, it’s safe to say Deadpool subverts superhero conventions enormously. The ways to do it is pretty easy though because all that is required is the cracking of as many jokes possible, and now and again break the fourth wall. Luckily, Deadpool has far more side-splitting comedy than awkward jokes, but most hilariously get to the core of what it entails to be this unique antihero. Deadpool must seriously break the record of fitting in as many jokes as imaginable because it finds amusement not only verbally but also physically. As Deadpool is somewhat physically unbeatable because he has Wolverine’s healing factor, even though he lacks the psychological complexity to go with the immortality, he makes use of this impenetrability by enduring insufferable damage we the audience can enjoy, and laugh at something we would normally squeal at. Comedy is Deadpool’s best friend, using it to offset every other trait the movie offers in favour of stacking up the mirth and unleashing it on a suspecting audience.
Deadpool’s ability to break the fourth wall and appear self-reflexive is the reason its comedy and marketing campaign has exploded with success. The character interacts with both the world he inhabits, and the world we inhabit, which is a refreshing change to even normal fourth-wall-shattering films. He even breaks the already broken fourth wall… That makes “16 walls,” woah! And Deadpool hasn’t forgotten what happened to him in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, as it is now turn for Hugh Jackman to suffer the same fate… kind of. Wolverine’s origin film put Wade in the corner, and it took 10 years of perseverance by Ryan Reynolds to get this quite unique superhero back on our screens in order to get back at Jackman for partially ruining our expectations. Everything is in good taste though, because you can imagine Jackman loving every bit of the attention his iconic character receives seeing as he’s only got one more rabid film in him.
The action within Deadpool is violent, crude and most of all fun. It manages to make all the bloody kafuffle’s, extreme bone breaking and limb shredding lack any sort of squeamish factor because the comedic atmosphere is omnipresent. It doesn’t therefore quite live up to its classification, because although it delves into comically unsafe areas, it’s actually funny rather than shocking, and the lack of barbarity is quite underwhelming considering the ‘Merc with a Mouth’ is quite a savage. Still, it’s not relatively family-friendly, but I expected Deadpool to be as violent as it is profane. It can’t keep a straight face for even a minute, and as much as the comedy makes Deadpool, it also breaks Deadpool.
If it were a streamlined plot, Deadpool wouldn’t be able to sustain its witty relentlessness for the whole 108 minutes. The origin story is fused into the main plot, and by interweaving the two the film develops an involvedness that satisfies our understanding of the character. Their inventiveness has however reduced the main plot to two quite brief and stress-free scenes, and considering one of those is the climax, Deadpool struggles to go beyond the fruitfulness of its protagonist. The present day narrative is thin and unconvincing, and the villains are generic and unexciting. Ajax and Angel Dust, embodiments of superhuman strength and pain resistance, could be siblings they are so similar. Ajax most definitely needs an outfit to camouflage Ed Skrein’s cockney skinhead persona he’s got going on because he isn’t at all memorable. When compared to Deadpool’s charisma and enchanting fighting skills, the uncompromising strength of the villains, merely overshadows their lacklustre desires, abilities and personalities. The film tries to give its protagonist the adaptation it deserves, but in trying to subvert nearly every convention of superhero films in the meagre two hours it has, everything else is squashed by Deadpool’s non-stop eccentricity.
Deadpool needs to relax a bit if he’s going to join a possible X-Force film in the future, or even the X-Men as Peter Rasputin, AKA Colossus, constantly encourages. Colossus is a much different being from the Americanised version of X2, but a sissy one at that. The only other X-men we get is the peculiarly named Negasonic Teenage Warhead, whose uninspiring corporal atomic bursts are only saved by the Sinead O’Connor look she hilariously nails. Those chosen are tactically inferior to Deadpool to let him shine ever so brightly, and in doing so comes up with the best comedic one-liner of the whole film: ‘Couldn’t the studio afford another X-Men?’ It’s a line that wonderfully sums up the innovative, wisecracking nature of Deadpool. Not only will he riotously jest his way through his existence, we are also invited as insiders into his mind-set where only we can truly understand him; a charismatic buffoon who belongs partially on screen, but is already somewhat fully engrained in superhero culture. Seeing as the sequel has promptly been commissioned even before its release, its promotional activity has already inspired a new-fangled superhero legacy.
Subverting superhero conventions with an unrelenting outburst of crude fourth-wall-violating profanity, Deadpool delivers a spot-on comic book adaptation whose sheer charisma outweighs the more side-lined aspects of its creation.