We all know the development hell Deadpool has been through over the last 10 years. We first saw Wade Wilson in X-Men Origins: Wolverine where he was an irritating, under-developed and misunderstood character who, by the end of the film, ended up with his mouth sewn shut and just another bad guy for Wolverine to fight. Although there was considerable interest in making a Deadpool film after X-Men Origins with Robert Rodriguez showing interest in directing, it ultimately fell through…that is, until visual test footage created for the film in 2012 was leaked online in 2014. This test footage not only garnered immense praise from the fans but also re-ignited an interest from Fox in making the film and so, two years later, we have our Deadpool movie.
Upon discovering his body is riddled with cancer, Wilson gives himself over for experimentation in an effort to be cured. However, these experiments are designed to forcefully trigger mutant cells in a person so they can be sold off to the highest bidder as super slaves. After being submitted to torture, Wilson’s mutant cells manifest, giving him healing and super-fighting abilities but leaving him scarred all over. Escaping, he sets out for revenge against the man who did this and whom has kidnapped his girlfriend all as the “superhero” Deadpool.
First off, I went into this film not having read any of the comics or graphic novels, only knowing what I know about the character from the various trailers and blurb I had read and secondly, I was slightly worried that this wouldn’t be the balls out, adult type humour, crazy ass film we had been promised with its 15 certificate award for us Brits (although it is unrated in the US). Should I have worried? Er…no! Deadpool is very adult, very funny, very gory, very crazy and ultimately very good. Any reservations I had were gone when the film starts amongst a mid air crash of chaos and destruction as the funny and sarcastic title credits are interwoven into the scene all to a soundtrack of Angel of the Morning by Juice Newton. The following 108 minutes include some of the funniest, crudest and sharpest dialogue mixed with some outstanding action scenes, clever origin story telling and passionate acting Marvel has ever produced.
The script is incredible. Full of pop culture, laugh out loud moments and toilet humour, it not only pokes fun at the absurdity of the world and itself but it completely acknowledges the existence and absurdity of us, the viewers. Deadpool has always been about breaking the fourth wall and here it is done perfectly (although more would have been even better) at one point even breaking the fourth wall within a fourth wall! References to the Wade Wilson character from the X-Men Origins movie are made, Hugh Jackman is highlighted a few times, the actual X-Men themselves are poked fun at, Green Lantern is hinted away, actual filming restrictions are discussed…even the usual Stan Lee cameo and end of credits scene feel fresh and genuine and not something we have just come to expect from every Marvel film.
But a script is nothing without the actors and it is here where Deadpool excels. Ryan Reynolds IS Deadpool. His passion and commitment is painfully obvious…the man was simply born to play this role even more so than Robert Downey Jr was to play Ironman. Even behind the mask and suit, every head movement or body action is done with extreme skill and dedication. Morena Baccarin as Wade’s girlfriend brings a toughness and beauty elevating her role to more than just the damsel in distress whilst T.J. Miller is the “best friend/comic relief” who is never irritating and actually could have been in it more. Ed Skrein as Ajax injects an emotionless darkness into the typical British baddie standard and the two X-Men that do show up, Colossus (Stefan Papicic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) play it all serious superhero business that is both funny and ironic. Special mention must go to Karin Soni (as cab driver Dopinder), Gina Carano (as other baddie Angel Dust) and Leslie Uggams (as Blind Al).
Add to this inventive and exciting action scenes, a genuine and moving heart to the story and a very cool soundtrack and what you are left with is possibly the best Marvel film in decades – I would even say it is the equal to Guardians of the Galaxy. It is certainly the funniest and bravest Marvel film ever produced. But, there are a few issues. An over-reliance on CGI during the action scenes, especially the climatic one, can be a bit jarring and you do have to appreciate the humour on offer here as it can, and does, warrant its 15 rating (personally, I think it could have easily been given an 18) coming very close at times to being too crass and offensive. And yes, as always with trailers, a lot of good stuff has already been given away.
In the end though, Deadpool is an absolute success. It was never going to appeal to the masses (like Avengers), and it never should because that is not what the character is about. It is however, a lot of fun, truly laugh out loud and made by people who ooze with passion and dedication.