Release Date: 10 February 2016
Running Time: 108 min
Director: Tim Miller
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, TJ Miller, Gina Carano, Karan Soni
Fifteen and a bit years after Brian Singer’s X-Men kickstarted the superhero genre and along comes Deadpool, a sweary, violent pisstake of the whole capes and tights ouevre. Most of the marketing has focused on the adult rating (R in the States, 15 here) that makes Deadpool stand out from the ever-growing crowd. It’s ironic really as this is one of the most gleefully juvenile action movies to hit cinemas in quite some time. In fact, just like a fifteen and a bit year old boy, Deadpool is obsessed with knob jokes and cartoonish ultraviolence.
Wade Wilson is an ex Special Forces soldier turned mercenary with a heart of gold (make of that what you will) who is diagnosed with terminal cancer. Volunteering for an experimental therapy that just might provide a cure, Wade is subjected to a series of torturous treatments, delivered by sneering English baddie Ajax. The treatment works a charm and Wade develops Wolverine-like regenerative powers that render him practically immortal. The only downside is that this process has covered his whole body in hideous lesions, meaning his face resembles a badly burned arse-cheek. Well, that and the whole sneering English baddie thing…
Deadpool aims for a punky, irreverent spirit and largely hits its target square on. The central character is a puerile, snarky motormouth who continually breaks the fourth wall to comment on his own flashbacks and poke fun at other superhero films in the Fox cinematic universe (basically X-Men and Fantastic Four pictures). That he remains on the right side of slappable is testament to Ryan Reynolds’ charisma: he owns this movie.
However, after a strong start with some big laughs, Deadpool settles into being another comic-book adaptation. For all its post-modern meta-moments and genre defying violence there’s something kind of hokey and predictable about it all. That’s not to say it’s bad, just that it’s nothing particularly groundbreaking. Still, kudos to Fox for having the moxie to put out a shared universe superhero movie that features the central character beheading a villain and then volleying it like a football at another one. It’s not big, it’s not clever, but it is fun.