The ‘merc with a mouth’ finally gets the film he deserves.
Directed: Tim Miller
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, T.J Miller
To say expectations for Deadpool were high would be an understatement. Back in 2009 cult-favourite character Deadpool appeared in X-Men Origins: Wolverine with his mouth inexplicably sewn up, much to the horror of fans the world over. Seven years later and here we are – Deadpool is finally here in all his glory.
A passion project from star Ryan Reynold’s, the film has had one of the best marketing campaigns of recent times, which only served to intensify the hype. It was going to take something good to live up to expectations, but don’t worry, Deadpool delivers.
Known in the comics for breaking the fourth wall, Deadpool was never going to be a conventional superhero movie. After that test footage was released and Reynolds and director Tim Miller secured that sought after R rating (a big deal in the US, here in the UK it’s a 15) fans were more than convinced that the beloved character was in safe hands.
With fourth wall breaking, cartoonish violence and vulgarity galore, Deadpool delivers on it’s potential in spades. In terms of narrative structure, it veers into surprisingly tired territory with the typical origin story – probably at the insistence of the studio (aka “the guys who sewed his fucking mouth up the first time”). Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) is an ex-military mercenary who finds out he has multi-organ cancer and allows some shady people to do some suspicious experiments on him in order to live for his girlfriend Vanessa (Monica Baccarin).
In spite of the origin story narrative, Deadpool is no superhero, and the film is a revenge flick at heart. In fact, the guy is certifiably insane, and the film is all the better for it. Wise-cracking his way through a rising body count, it’s almost a stretch to call the guy an anti-hero. Reynolds is perfectly cast, delivering too many one liners to count. That’s not to say that the rest of the cast don’t keep up – Baccarin is fantastic as hard-as-nails Vanessa, who takes the typical girlfriend trope and inverts it brilliantly. Sure, the film plays with the damsel-in-distress stereotype, but it arguably gets off with it by being so hilariously self-aware.
T. J Miller provides the comic relief as Weasel, Wade’s best friend who stops short at being a sidekick. Miller’s deadpan delivery of some of the films best lines perfectly suit the tone and again offsets the film as a lot more than typical superhero fare. The only true weak link is, probably unsurprisingly, Ed Skrein’s Ajax. The ‘villain’ of the piece who is responsible for making Wilson both immortal and, in his own words, “unfuckable.”
Skrein is the typical ‘British villain’ – though the film pokes fun at itself by pointing this out to us in the opening credits – but in this sort of movie, it doesn’t really matter that the big bad is two-dimensional. It is yet another example of the film’s self-aware nature being it’s saving grace.
Set in the X-Men universe, it was a given that some of Professor X’s proteges (“James McAvoy or Patrick Stewart?”) were going to show up, and they do in the form of Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrande). Kapicic replaces Daniel Cudmore and portrays a version of Colossus that is much more in line with the comic books, whilst Hildebrande is hilarious as a moody teenage mutant.
Just because the film comes from the same studio as X-Men doesn’t mean they were safe from Deadpool’s lampooning, and there are some truly hilarious exchanges as he berates them for their ‘hero’ status. In a market inundated with clear-cut ‘heroes’, it is refreshing to see a frankly psychotic anti-hero who’s only real agenda is revenge.
The film is the directorial debut for Tim Miller, and his background in visual effects is clear from the beginning with an inspired opening sequence. The direction is assured for a debut and he indulges in extreme violence, with heads literally rolling. It could easily have come off as cheap, but Miller ensures that the violence is actually executed much more artistically than one would expect.
Sure, the visuals are great, but of course it was always going to be all about the dialogue. Reynolds played a heavy role in the writing, and the script from Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese is a laugh a minute.
The film only came out in the UK two days ago, but Fox have already confidently announced a sequel and appear keen to keep the creative team together, which seems fair considering what they have managed to pull off here. Reynolds has made it clear that he would ultimately like the character to be part of an X-Force movie, so it looks like this is only the beginning for the ‘merc with a mouth.’
Here are my top five quotes from Deadpool, which is probably the most quotable superhero film of all time…
“Oh, I so pity the dude who pressures her into prom sex.”
“And a convivial Tuesday in April to you, Mr.Pool”
“That guy was up there before we got there.”
“The T-Rex was always the dinosaurs’ fiercest enemy!”
“Tell Beast to stop shitting on my lawn.”
What did you think of Deadpool? Let me know in the comments section!