I’ve previously detailed why Deadpool is make or break for Ryan Reynolds, here, at least in terms of comic book related films and for the most part this film delivers.
The film seems to revel in the 80s/90s action clichés with the ‘hero’ done wrong by a shady agency and sets out to seek revenge. In this instance the ‘hero’ is a former soldier who upon learning he has terminal cancer is approached by said shady agency with the promise of a cure. This obviously doesn’t go well and through the course of some very aggressive treatments Wilson’s cancer spreads breaking out in tumours over his whole body but with the side effect of activating his dormant mutant genes giving him Wolverine Esq. healing/regeneration powers. With the promise of a cure Wade in the guise of his alter ego Deadpool literally carves his way up the organisations food chain to Francis, a.k.a. Ajax, played by Ed Skrein last seen in The Transporter Refueled (2015) the one without Jason Statham, who had alluded to a cure for Wade’s “testicle with teeth” appearance before he had believed he had killed Wade.
For myself it’s a film that doesn’t quite work it has its highlights and when it works it does so really well but when it doesn’t it only marginally fails, there are no major moments of disaster in this film.
Firstly this isn’t Deadpool from X-Men Origins: Wolverine, a film that has largely been wiped from continuity, and at which this film takes more than a couple of swipes.
Secondly, the fourth wall is well and truly broken, even a little molested at times. However never more than is necessary and never to the point that the plot, what there is, nor the film suffers.
Thirdly, Ryan Reynolds. This is the perfect role for the motor-mouthed gob-shit who lets face it is never going to win an Oscar. Something that the film acknowledges during a meta-moment when Wade name drops Reynolds and questions his acting chops and reliance upon his looks.
Fourthly, Morena Baccarin, who might just be the films secret weapon as Wades equally foulmouthed ex-hooker girl-friend. One a couple of occasions she really cuts loose with the profanity even if she is reduced to a damsel in distress by the final act. It’s a far cry from her roles in Gotham or Firefly.
And finally this features the best Stan Lee cameo ever, even if he did have fuck all to do with Deadpools creation.
Where it doesn’t work are only minor grips and most certainly personal ones, which I doubt will be shared by many given the films continuingly impressive box office haul.
The plot, or at least the non-linear timeline, the back and forth from present to past and back again seems to cover over the cracks in the narrative and the passage of time is something we have to accept from a line of dialogue or the obligatory costume making montage.
I also found the villains to be underwritten with the previously mentioned Ajax and his sidekick/muscle Angel Dust, played by the formidable Gina Carano, feel underwritten and lacking in motive. Their curing cancer patients by bringing out their dormant mutant genes to then sell them as slaves.
Carano beyond her climactic fight with Colossus is given very little to do which is a shame given her performance in Haywire (2011), like Reynolds she’s never going to trouble the Oscar voters but I’d hate for her to end up doing nothing but generic action films.
Speaking of Colossus, I definitely have issue with the character being pretty much 100% CGI and can understand why Daniel Cudmore chose to not return to the role where he’d be the body but not the voice of a character he’d played three times already.
Negasonic Teenage Warhead, aside from a cool name which Deadpool acknowledges, is given little more to do in the film than we have seem in the trailers. Brianna Hildebrand certainly holds her own as a moody teen and I hope the character returns, be it either Deadpool 2 or any future films in the X-Men franchise.
On the whole there is a great deal to recommend this film, it gets plenty of laughs and is a solid action film that certainly earns its 15 certificate, an R rating in North America. I have to be honest and say that I’ve never read a Deadpool comic so I have no idea how faithful this is to the 25 years of comic back story. I do know this is a damn sight better than the characters previous appearance but the films off centre position in the X-Men Universes continuity is both a blessing and a curse.
Fox obviously want to exploit the Marvel properties it has following the Days Of Future Past soft reboot but dependent upon how the upcoming Apocalypse and the in-development Wolverine 3 along with any future films in the franchise effect this new continuity remains to be seen. I do hope however that Deadpool is brought into the fold as it were as I look forward to some fourth wall breakage about his inability to ‘Shish kebab’ villains due to studio interference in much the same way that Deadpool comments upon the lack of X-Men due to the films small budget. Deadpool cost $58m in comparison to Days Of Future Past’ $200m or even the first X-Men film which had a $75m budget back in 2000.
I’m looking forward to Deadpool 2, how often do people say they are looking forward to a Ryan Reynolds film, and hopefully some questioning about Cables parentage, now that the character has been tipped to appear in the sequel.
Directed by Tim Miller