DEADPOOL (USA | Canada/16/108mins)
Directed by Tim Miller. Starring Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, TJ Miller, Gina Carano, Ed Skrein, Stefan Kapicic, Brianna Hildebrand.
THE PLOT: When mercenary for hire Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) is diagnosed with terminal cancer, he decides to take a chance on an experimental treatment that will activate any mutant genes lying dormant in his system. Although the treatment is successful, Wilson – now going by the name of Deadpool – believes his life and chance at happiness with Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) is destroyed, and sets out to take his violent and bloody revenge.
THE VERDICT: Although fans have been waiting for the big screen story of the Merc with a Mouth since Wade Wilson’s appearance in 2009’s ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’, but the film has actually been stuck in development hell since 2000. Now that the film is finally here, the question remains, is it any good?
Ryan Reynolds obviously has a whale of a time as Wade Wilson/Deadpool. Not only does he get to be snarky and smart, he also talks a mile a minute, gets to kill a lot of bad guys in increasingly violent ways, and eventually and predictably, save the day. Although this time, the day saving is personal and not one on which the fate of the world relies. Morena Baccarin has very little to do as Vanessa, other than be a hooker with a heart of gold, a challenge to Wilson as a girlfriend – ‘Your crazy matches my crazy’ – but then quickly fall into the role of damsel in distress. Ed Skrein has some fun as bad guy Ajax/Francis, TJ Miller becomes Deadpool’s best friend and verbal sparring partner and Gina Carano plays Angel Dust. X-Men Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead also make appearances, played by Stefan Kapicic and Brianna Hildebrand.
The story, written for the screen by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, with input from Ryan Reynolds, starts off being unusual and fun, but quickly falls into the standard flow for a superhero movie – yeah, I know, Deadpool ain’t no hero, but you get the point – with the final set piece destroying acres of the city and ending with a kiss for our ‘hero’. The screenplay tries to be smart and self aware with plenty of nods to Reynolds himself and his previous heroic outings, as well as pop culture and the fact that the X-Men Universe storyline changed after the events of ‘Days of Future Past’. This starts off well, but eventually begins to grate, as does Deadpool’s desire to talk through any moment of silence the film throws up. As well as this, the women of the film do not come out well, with Negasnoic Teenage Warhead constantly belittled, Angel Dust unable to fight without her top falling off and Vanessa being reduced to a dame to be rescued.
Director Tim Miller keeps the set pieces big and loud, and handles the romance between Wade and Vanessa rather well, but once the story kicks off properly Vanessa is thrown to the background in favour of Deadpool’s penchant for sex and violence. The pacing of the film is fine – and it is blissfully short – but once the final set piece approaches, the film falls into familiar territory, with even the retro and anachronistic music choices feeling rather like they were pulled from ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’.
In all, ‘Deadpool’ succeeds at being ‘Kick-Ass’’s grown up older brother, but does little to feel fresh and exciting after the first act. Reynolds has a ball with the title role – although there are times when less talking would definitely be more – but every other character is sidelined, with the women coming off particularly badly. Still the soundtrack is good, and there is some fun to be had with a lot of ‘Deadpool’; the fans will love how faithful the film is to the character, but the uninitiated will wonder why this backward looking film was not updated to feel more inclusive of the audience as a whole.
RATING: 3/5
Review by Brogen Hayes

Deadpool
Review by Brogen Hayes
3.0Familiar & bland
  • filmbuff2011

    After a series of teasing, come hither trailers and cheeky promos, Deadpool is finally here to shoot a bullet through the heart of the St Valentine’s weekend box office. It should slay the competition on the basis of this first, proper film to feature the character which Ryan Reynolds played, to somewhat muted effect, in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

    When we first meet dirty-minded, wisecracking superhero Deadpool AKA Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds), he’s hanging around on Christmas Day looking to off some bad guys. He’s gunning for revenge, hunting down the man who betrayed him – Ajax, sorry, Francis (Ed Skrein). As he takes down each henchman, we flash back to two years earlier and find out what got Deadpool to this point. An ex-special forces agent in love with Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), Wade finds out that he’s got cancer. He’s given the opportunity to join the X-Men and become a superhero. However, scientist Francis subjects him to a series of brutal mutant tests which cures his cancer and gives him the ability to heal himself, but scars him for life. Wade leaves Vanessa and goes underground, teaming up with weary X-Men Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Briana Hildebrand). That’s all though – Deadpool likes to break the fourth wall and points out that the studio couldn’t afford another X-Men character. But there are plenty of opportunities to get revenge, get back the girl and mock Hugh Jackman…

    Right from the opening credits, Deadpool is one very self-aware film. Directed by ‘an overpaid tool’ (debut director Tim Miller) and written by ‘the real heroes’ (Rhett Rheese and Paul Wernick), this is a different sort of superhero movie. Sort of. For one, it wears its 16 / R rating with pride and gleefully sends bullets, body parts and blood flying everywhere. That’s refreshing for a change. Watchmen hinted at a more adult take on the tried-and-tested superhero genre. Here’s Marvel’s take on it – with its customary blend of humour and heart (or at least through the filtering of 20th Century Fox). There’s a lot of fun to be had here, chilling with the title character as he wisecracks with the audience and throws out gag after gag, frequently filthy but very funny too. A passion project for the game Reynolds, who championed the character and the opportunity to have his own movie, Deadpool certainly earns his stripes here. There’s no attempt to sell out the character or soften his harshness – he just is the way he is. Kudos for that.

    But for all the inventiveness in the lead character and the laugh-out-loud script, the core plot mechanics are all too familiar. Decent guy gets screwed over by the bad guys, loses his girl, comes back for revenge… The Crow, anyone? Deadpool tries a little too hard to be different and actually ends up being rather conventional as a result. It is, as Deadpool tells us, a love story. Towards the end of the film, we’re back to damsel-in-distress moments – the staple of many superhero films. Why go down that route? Surely Vanessa is a strong enough character to get herself out of a situation like that? Isn’t Deadpool supposed to be more edgy and unpredictable? Or is that what we’ve been sold?

    It’s not a major complaint but the lack of originality in a film that supposedly prizes itself on such a thing loses the film an extra star. It does show some great potential though and unsurprisingly a sequel has just been announced. That will certainly be welcome along with any potential X-Men crossovers. There is an extra, very funny, scene after the end credits. Deadpool may not rock Marvel’s foundations, but it winningly rocks out to its own distinctive tune. ***

  • Joseph McCarthy

    An original story featuring the title character, perfectly played by Ryan Reynolds, that ties in with his comic book origins and the wider, established, X-Men movie universe.
    While by no means the first comic book movie to be given an “adult” rating, it’s the first one since the original Matrix movie to do it successfully.
    Also pays homage to creator cameos with a fantastic one liner at the beginning that voices the criticism of multiple comic book fans of Deadpool’s creator!