- RatedM18 /GenreAction, Fantasy, Science Fiction
‘Deadpool’ wastes no time in establishing that it is different.
The movie opens like a double-page spread of a comic book. The protagonist in violent action, dispatching bad guys one by one.
The camera pans from one gruesome death to another, and in between the opening credits roll in, telling us that the movie stars “A Hot Chick” (Morena Baccarin), is produced by a couple of “A**hats” (Simon Kinberg, Ryan Reynolds) and directed by “An Overpaid Tool” (Tim Miller in his debut feature).
By the end of the credits, we know there is “A British Villain” (Ed Skrein), “A Moody Teen” (Brianna Hildebrand) and a very “Gratuitous Cameo” (nope, we’re not going to tell you who).
Such is the irreverence of ‘Deadpool’.
Ultra-violent. Foul-mouthed. Fourth-wall-breaking. Pop culture aficionado. An anti-hero.
Deadpool is like no other comic-book character, which explains why – in a time when fanboys are overdosing on superhero movies – he’s only just getting his first solo movie, after a panned cinematic debut in 2009’s ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’.
That film had no idea what to do with such a screwball character, and so they shaved his head, sewed his mouth shut, and served him up to Wolverine for an unceremonious beheading in the movie’s finale.
This ‘Deadpool’ is everything the old Deadpool isn’t, and more. There are no boundaries here — everything is broken — and nothing is taboo. Even its parent studio 20th Century Fox is made the butt of jokes as are its go-to heroes Wolverine and the X-Men.
“I may be super, but I'm no hero,” Deadpool cracks.
MORE: 'Deadpool' doesn't play by the rules, says Ryan Reynolds
Just the way we like it.
Ryan Reynolds returns as Wade Wilson/Deadpool, finally relishing the opportunity to don the character’s distinctive crimson suit.
The actor who cut his teeth as being the sharpest of the bunch in movies like ‘The Proposal,” and “Definitely, Maybe” is finally made to good use here.
After short-lived runs in other comic properties like ‘Green Lantern’ and ‘RIPD’, Reynolds is at his element here. Quipping the best quips and delivering his dialogue with glee like a kid in a candy store, he is just born to play this role. The lines where Reynolds ends and Deadpool begins is far more blurred than ever here.
Wade Wilson (Reynolds) is a mercenary who falls for a prostitute (Baccarin) in a bar, then discovers that he has terminal cancer. He left her to spare her the pain of seeing him waste away but he then winds up in a shady experimental program that will cure his disease and give him superpowers… but also, leave him looking like human prune. When Wade escapes, he takes up an alter-ego and vows to take revenge against the people (Skrein and Gina Carano’s Angel Dust) who ruined his face.
The movie also deftly circumnavigates the fringes of the ‘X-Men’ movie universe — mostly making jokes about it — while simultaneously existing within it. Eagle-eyed viewers can also spot the slight nods to the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The film’s main connection to the X-Men franchise is the metal-skinned Colossus, who was largely left unused in the previous movies.
Another real treat is obscure X-Man Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Hildebrand) because Deadpool says they cannot afford other stars. Besides helping Deadpool fight the bad guys, these two also pave the way for potential crossovers with the main franchise if the movie proves a success.
But underneath all the references to the ‘Taken’ movies, Sinead O’Connor, Judy Blume, ‘The Matrix’, the two actors who play Professor X, and all the self-deprecating self-awareness, ‘Deadpool’ is largely a straightforward origins story.
The script written by 'Zombieland' veterans Paul Wernick and Rhett Rheese walks a fine tightrope -- balancing humour, action, gore, violence and drama.
With its larger-than-life humour, stylised violence and lots of foul language, ‘Deadpool’ might just be the perfect amuse-bouche to start the whopping five-course comic book spread that is coming our way.
While the movie largely conceals the features of its main star (he was 2010’s Sexiest Man Alive after all), it also ultimately amplifies Reynolds’ quick wit and sharp tongue.
By the time the film reaches its "boss battle" climax, you’ll lose count of the decapitations, dismemberments and inside jokes unleashed by Deadpool.
From there, you’ll understand that ‘Deadpool’ is not about continuing what the ‘X-Men’ movies built, but about an unconventional character with a story to tell.
For the record, ‘Deadpool’ features one of Stan Lee's best cameos ever — it is very funny.