Big, dumb, fun.
Three words which perfectly encapsulate just about everything that you need to know about Deadpool’s first solo stab at the big screen. There’s very little doubt as to whether we’ll be getting a Deadpool 2, and that alone is a decent measuring stick as to how well the film is being received, both critically and commercially. A great deal had been made of the film’s R rating (15 in the UK), and those coming for the sex, violence and language certainly won’t be dissapointed. It’s loud, brash, angry and often hilarious. Not a film that you’re likely to take your grandma to see. Unless she’s a fan of decapitation and sex montages.
It’s not sophisticated stuff, yet it’s pacey, light-hearted and most importantly, very funny. Unsurprisingly for a character nicknamed the Merc with a Mouth, the jokes come thick and fast, and whilst not all of them land, the success/failure rate leans towards the positive end of the scale, with Ryan Reynolds in particular coming across as though he’s having a ball in what is a particularly excitable cast in a particularly excitable movie.
Reynolds plays the mercenary, Wade Wilson, who upon discovering that he’s riddled with cancer submits himself into the hands of an evil-doing organisation which employs an evil-doing Englishman, Francis, aka Ajax (Ed Skrein), accepting the offer of an experimental cure to his disease. A serum which kills Wade’s cancerous cells also mutates his genes, lending him new found strength and healing powers. But all with the unfortunate side effect of making his face look like an avocado had sex with an older avocado.
Desperate to seek revenge upon Francis who he believes can reverse his disfigurement, and to win back his love (Morena Baccarin’s Vanessa), Wade – newly dubbed as Deadpool – sets in motion a trail of carnage, murder and over the top ridiculousness. Structurally the film keeps itself fresh and the action ticking along nicely as it flits between the present day destruction of the revenge mission and love story of Wade’s past, meaning that you’re never too far away from either the bombastic boisterousness nor the quieter (but non-traditional) romance. It’s a good job as well, as in reality Deadpool’s story is rather slight, with a one-dimensional villain who’s unlikely to be well-remembered not helping matters.
Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) and the wonderfully named Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) show up from the X-Men universe, but their characters are underdeveloped and under-utilised; they just don’t add as much as you’d like to the film. In a dream world, Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine would have been the perfect character to make an appearance and establish the crossover, but instead we basically get the budget version. Though at least this is acknowledged in one of the movie’s many meta moments.
Tonally Deadpool sits somewhere in between Kick-Ass (2010) and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010) – daft, yet witty. Boiled down to the basics, if the aim of the film was to deliver a crowd-pleasing, adult take on the character, then for the most part it’s mission accomplished. It’s imperfect, but it’s a great deal of fun. If you like a bit of “bloody violence”, a “frequent use of strong language” and “strong sex references” with your superhero movies, then you’ve come to the right place.
Rating (out of 5):