Well hey there! This is part where you’d normally be reading some off topic/almost irrelevant introduction from a writer who really isn’t as clever as he thinks he is in the hope of vaguely leading into some concept or idea about the film. That is unless you’re writing a social media comment, then you won’t even have read this far before posting how much you think it sucks...... okay, that’s enough of a lousy attempt at 4th wall-breaking humour. Something like that is best left to the professionals (no, not Rotten Tomatoes), and that’s certainly where Deadpool fits in. This is not just another comic book movie. This is something sitting proudly at the top of its own very special class, and its fun as hell to boot.
When the mercenary Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds – Van Wilder, Self/Less) develops terminal cancer, he undergoes an experimental treatment that makes him virtually indestructible.... but also horrifically ugly and mildly insane, turning him into the red-suited “merc with a mouth” Deadpool. When the man behind his creation, Ajax (Ed Skerin – Game of Thrones, Transporter Refuelled) kidnaps his girlfriend Vanessa (Morena Baccarin – Firefly, Gotham), Deadpool goes out for revenge and possibly chimichangas.
Now the Deadpool comics have never been short of humor, and this film may have just mic dropped on being the funniest film of 2016. Right from what might be considered the most honest opening credits sequence in cinematic history to the multiple post-credit sequences, its superpower is being overwhelmingly hilarious whenever it darn well pleases. That’s not just being funny in intentionally humorous scenes but everything from the action, the romance, the drama and even the tragedy have a comedic edge. Even when the pace drops in places, the grin loosens but never leaves your face. In fairness, it does go way too overboard on the dick jokes even for its titular character; many are actually excellent but as the film progresses and dick saturation (don’t Google that) kicks in, you’ll be wishing he changed the subject more often. The fact is all the best lines and gags in the film are the smarter wit based remarks courtesy of the film's real heroes: screen writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (Zombieland). They handle the quintessential 4th wall breaking/character self awareness in their stride by crucially not over-using it. More often than not, and especially through the first half, it’s used just as a tool for narration and bridging the back-and-forth elements of the story. However, their crowning glory is the X-Men franchise, cast and general superhero genre in jokes; for that, they deserve the highest of fives and a lifetime back door pass. Deadpool actually makes more stabs and rips with his mouth than his swords but not a single one feels vicious; they're merely cheeky and playful. From simple jibes like getting confused over the everchanging X-Men franchise continuity (asking whether the professor will be Stewart or McAvoy) to Ryan Reynolds ridiculing his poorer career choices.
Now, it seemed like merely a clever marketing ploy when the spoof rom-com film poster was revealed (and a bloody genius one at that) but surprisingly, Deadpool is indeed the love story it promised. Morena Baccarin isn’t just there to be a damsel and neither is she a plot device character. Instead, the film spends a meaningful amount of time, especially through the origins story, developing her and Wade’s relationship to form the driving motivation for Deadpool’s actions. The pair has some awesome chemistry together too, which not only broadens the film’s appeal but also forms a backbone of believable normality within all the madness. Rest assured, this film still brings the action in stunning visual style. Despite the bigger scale finale, the early freeway sequence is the definite highlight as the film wields its higher age rating like its getting paid by the body count. They occasionally take the aerial acrobatics too far but it’s frequently a fast and visceral visual symphony as Deadpool shoots and slices through countless minions while taking his fair share of punishment too. The wider mutant cast also contribute well. Deadpool Vs Colossus is the film’s entire tone summed up one absolutely beautiful minute. The big steel guy gets plenty of other play too in what’s by far his best X-Men outing to date (they’ve finally let him be Russian!), especially when reluctantly trading blows with Gina Carano’s (UFC, Fast & Furious 6) super strong Angel Dust. Skerin’s Ajax/Francis also proves more than capable in a fight giving him and Deadpool some great face-offs.
The story ultimately becomes Deadpool’s biggest weakness as even this cancer survivor is not immune to the pitfalls of required origins elements. That said, it traverses them better than most before it, and it's still entertaining as we follow Wade Wilson from his mercenary days to suiting up, but it feels notably slower and lacking the overall energy of the present day, red spandex clad sequences. The finished Deadpool character product is quite simply perfection, and even though seeing how that came together has plenty of interests to it, there will be some points where you’ll wish they just hurried up with it. The rapid fire gag rate and pun slinging may also not suit everyone. While they deliver both quantity and quality, there are times when they come so thick and fast that some viewers be frustrated as they struggle to keep up.
It’s easy to see why Ryan Reynolds spent a decade trying to make this film happen. This is the role he was born to play and if, as stated, he wants to play it forever, then let him. It molds all of charisma, comedic talents, and action prowess into one hyperactive ball of joy. He may not get an Oscar for it but he’ll win the heart of every geek out there. Morena Baccarin equally impresses with her commitment to making Vanessa an equally lovable kind of crazy and really sells the love story element by being a girl worth fighting for. Ed Skerin is good but not great. He’s sinister enough to drive the revenge story but lacks the charisma to make him anything more than a single film villain. T.J. Miller (Cloverfield, Silicon Valley) adds plenty of great comic relief as Weasel. Brianna Hildebrand makes a very enjoyable debut as a self-aware angsty teen cliché with the coolest name ever, Negasonic Teenage Warhead.
Deadpool is the right film at the right time. As much as so many of us love the ever-increasing roster of upcoming superhero movies, we cannot deny that oversaturation is an issue and it’s fresh, alternative and shamelessly silly offerings like this that help stop such fatigue. Deadpool still faces constraints and limitations by being an origins story but this is still the film and more importantly the take on the character that you have been waiting for...... but be warned, you’ll never look at unicorns the same way again.