Reviewed by John Hussey
I think it’s safe to say that 2016 was a rollercoaster year for comic book fans. We had a lot promised for us. From the first blockbuster encounter of Batman and Superman, Spider-Man’s debut within the MCU, to an adaption of the infamous Batman: The Killing Joke. So it came as a complete surprise when Mr. Deadpool came knocking in February and changed Hollywood forever.
It seems to be a trait of Marvel to redesign the structure of movie-making, what with Sam Raimi‘s Spider-Man trilogy and the successful Marvel Cinematic Universe. Now Deadpool has set the next bar.
The film had a rather shaky development process (what with it taking over 10 years to make) but lead-man Ryan Reynolds stuck with it all the way, determined to see the project see the light of day. Talk about serious dedication. Reynolds first came into contact with the “Merc with a Mouth” during the filming of another Marvel film, Blade: Trinity, where he was told that his portrayal of Hannibal King resembled that of Deadpool. After he was given some source material to view Reynolds was hooked.
We almost got to see Reynolds’ dream come true in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. But we all know how that turned out. The film was not only embarrassing but was also completely disrespectful. What were they thinking when they decided in sowing Deadpool’s mouth shut? To give Reynolds credit, he did well with the material he was given as Wade Wilson but sadly it was cut short.
It wasn’t until leaked test footage emerged on the internet in 2014 that there was a sign of hope. After every Deadpool fan screamed out their enthusiasm through the comment sections 20th Century Fox realised that they had no choice but to make the film. Reynolds was finally granted his wish of playing the “Merc with a Mouth”, and this time he would get to portray him properly.
It was incredible to finally see Deadpool in cinemas, after so much fantastic, and funnily crafted publicity. The film lived up to its expectation because of how faithful it was. Now, I will admit that I have never read a Deadpool comic (shame on me – I know) but from what I’ve gathered from fans this film is damn close to perfecting the character, with Reynolds being the perfect choice to play him.
You can tell from start to finish how dedicated Reynolds is in the role. How he loves the character and is always trying to deliver the best possible version of Deadpool. The narrative complements this by being whacky, off the wall, and completely hilarious throughout. Though it has to be noted that the narrative itself isn’t anything new. You might think that that’s a bad thing. How can it be universally acclaimed if the movie is just rehashing the same old shit we’ve seen a trillion times before? Well…
Deadpool redeems itself by having unique concepts lifted from the pages of the comic books. Deadpool’s personality is special because he isn’t a hero. He’s bat-shit crazy to put it bluntly. One of his most infamous traits is his knowledge that he is within a story and constantly breaks the fourth wall to talk to the audience. And that’s what we get. A fourth wall breaking experience that I’ve never seen before.
That and the comedy. This film has a lot of balls with its humour and it never stops. Some of the things stated where questionable in the most beautiful way possible. Deadpool was nearly always taking the piss out of someone, something or himself (even taking a jab at Reynolds himself). The film even took the piss out of the X-Men film franchise, calling it out on its new complicated structure due to the messed up timelines.
The opening credits perfectly highlights the kind of humour you can expect throughout by having clever taglines for the credited cast and crew. Deadpool is an unstoppable comedy machine as Reynolds pushes the boundaries of his performance, finding new and creative ways to get a laugh out of a scene, even if it is meant to be serious.
The brilliant action scene on the bridge where Deadpool is outnumbered turns into a comedy routine of how he’s going to take them out with only twelve bullets. He even ends up wasting some of them out of frustration after one of the henchmen shoots him up “main-street”. Later on the love of his life, Vanessa, is wounded on the ground in the middle of battle whilst Deadpool has a knife sticking out of his head. He still finds the time to make a silly musical number where he hallucinates random animals whilst badly showing off his affection via sign language.
One of the greatest comedy gems of the movie comes from the random, often adlibbed, lines of dialogue from T. J. Miller, who plays Deadpool’s crappy best-friend Weasel. This guy is the last friend you’d ever want at your house. He constantly shows little, to no, support, flat out refuses to help Deadpool in his hour of need, straight up tells Deadpool his transformed state is grotesque, and puts a bet on for Deadpool to die. Despite this he creates some interestingly funny moments because of his unexpected, and crude remarks.
The heart of the narrative comes from Deadpool and Vanessa’s strange romantic relationship. To demonstrate how bad it is, their first major conversation has them comparing how bad their lives were in the most distasteful and disturbing way possible. But it’s funny because it’s Deadpool! Then they manage to turn a compilation of sex scenes into something actually amusing. Each scene represents a holiday and each one becomes more off the wall than the last.
It’s a crazy love-story but it has heart none the less. But this is all taken away from them when Deadpool is diagnosed with cancer. He then decides to undergo secret experiments in an attempt to fix himself for Vanessa but is ultimately tortured by villain Ajax (aka Francis) and is ultimately mutated. It’s the most unsettling origin story of any Superhero movie, period. There is no niceness about it. Deadpool is literally taken to Hell and back and though yes, he does receive immortality, he now looks like an avocado had sex with an older, more disgusting avocado.
The narrative turns into a revenge mission where Deadpool tracks down Ajax in order to reverse what he’s done to him. Despite Ajax being a rather bland villain, excused by the fact that he doesn’t feel anything, still acts as an intimidating and psychotic threat for Deadpool to bounce off, often bringing out Deadpool’s darker nature. Vanessa ultimately gets kidnapped and Deadpool has to seek the help of Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead to rescue her. It’s funny that we only ever see two of them. It’s almost like the studio couldn’t afford another X-Man.
Yeah the narrative might seem clichéd as hell but it’s the execution and performances that make the experience so unique and fresh. The film is told out of order, whilst being narrated by Deadpool himself, the jokes are hilarious, the tone is spot on, and it’s just such a great movie. Perhaps the best Superhero movie of all time (until the sequel comes out that is).
I also have to give credit to the fact that Tim Miller and his crew dared to make the film R-rated, keeping the film even closer to the source material without having to cut out core aspects to accommodate to a mass audience. Combine that with the extreme lack of budget it’s even more amazing the film was such a success. Deadpool kicked 20th Century Fox in the bollocks due to exceeding their expectations and outdoing X-Men: Apocalypse, the X-Men film that they actually put money and effort towards.