Deadpool has to be the riskiest film adaptation since the offbeat Guardians of the Galaxy, but it’s one that has worked out triumphantly for first-time director Tim Miller.
Marvel’s colourful and unconventional anti-hero is a strange fit for the commercial big-screen superhero age we’re currently experiencing in cinema – with dark, brooding leads filling the boots of protagonists, Deadpool stands out as wise-cracking black sheep, but one we’re so glad to see make it to the silver-screen.
The appointment of Tim Miller, who makes his directorial debut with Deadpool, was another stroke of genius by the studio, as his R-rated, violent take on the beloved character is as true-to-form as can be, and his experience as a creative director helps deliver the flair and style in the action to elevate it beyond a comic-book spoof.
As a bit of background, Ryan Reynolds takes on the role of Wade Wilson, a former mercenary who is diagnosed with terminal cancer. In order to save himself (and his loved one, played by Morena Baccarin), Wilson signs up to the Weapon X program (which also turned Marvel’s other hero, Wolverine, into what he is). As you could guess, things go a little wrong, but Wilson is gifted with an advanced healing factor, making him the anti-hero Deadpool, as he sets out on a path of revenge, one-liners, and fourth-wall breaking gags.
While the premise may suggest it, Deadpool isn’t as much of an origin story as it is a joke-jammed revenge tale with some flashbacks to fill in the gaps. It does a fantastic job at introducing non-fans to who Wade Wilson is, as well as delivering some fan-fare and trademark moments for veteran Deadpool-lovers that will leave them smirking and nodding in approval.
As for the jokes, there nothing or no one exempt from Deadpool’s pokes. Hugh “Wolverine” Jackman, Ikea, 20th Century Fox, and even Ryan Reynold’s own career are sacrificed on the altar of comedy. It’s as meta and self-aware as a Deadpool movie should be, and fans will love to hilarious introspection into the superhero genre and also Deadpool’s spot-on commentary on his place in the greater superhero universe.
While humour is the backbone of the film, there is a great emphasis on action too. The combat sequences, which play out as a symphony of blood, bullets, katanas, and quips that stab harder than the swords themselves, are incredibly choreographed (even for a movie in the genre). The on-going violence, humour, and slapstick comedy combine in bizarre but outrageously entertaining segments that showcase exactly why Deadpool has such a dedicated fan base.
The irresponsible Deadpool is also joined by two X-Men: Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead, who provide polarising personalities and ones which create some hilarious chemistry that Reynolds thrives off.
Speaking of Reynolds, he does not shut up throughout the entire film, which is irritatingly brilliant, highlighting the true nature of the Merc-with-a-mouth character. But while he does embody the role of Deadpool, Reynolds also shows signs of pain and humanity, especially in his torture at the hands of villain Ajax and the Weapon X program.
In a year full of colossal-sized comic book movies, like Batman v Superman and Captain America: Civil War, Deadpool is smaller in scale, more constrained in narrative, and tonally different, but it’s one of the most original and entertaining films you’ll see all year. For better or worse, this is the best Deadpool movie anyone could have asked for.