After nearly seven years of a less-than-stellar onscreen Merc with a Mouth, we finally have a new Wade Wilson we can be proud of in the new Deadpool film.
After mercenary Wade Wilson discovers he has terminal cancer, he undergoes a dangerous experiment that gives him accelerated healing powers, and adopts the alter-ego Deadpool. He then sets out to exact revenge on his captors and save the love of his life, Vanessa (Morena Baccarin). Though the plot was quite simple, and not entirely fulfilling, a smaller scale story where the hero doesn’t have to save the world actually raises the stakes – there’s a chance he could lose. Which is always refreshing. The flashback/flashforward storytelling at the beginning of the film was also a clever way of subverting the typically boring first half of an origin story, and it would’ve been interesting to see this continued throughout the film. But, in the end, the simpler plot left room for Deadpool to do what he does best: crack skulls and jokes at the same time.
Because this new reincarnation of Deadpool (after the brutal decimation of the character in 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine) sticks to what the beloved comics are all about: outrageous violence and witty meta-humour. And it’s got a lot of both. It’s very different to the other superhero movies that we’re being bombarded with these days; it’s over the top, it pokes fun at itself in ways that other movies just don’t (looking at you, Avengers), and it isn’t afraid to give the audience something new in such a formulaic genre. Deadpool himself even tries to convince us that it isn’t a superhero movie. The film is gloriously violent, with some brilliantly choreographed fight scenes, but when things got too serious there would always be a joke to undercut it. The hilarious fourth wall breaks and inspired meta-humour about the greater X-Men Universe were spot on, and even the sex jokes (of which there were a lot) were wittier, and suited the film and, more importantly, the character, very well.
But most of this comes down to the lead actor, Ryan Reynolds, who has been involved with the Deadpool character even before his ill-fated appearance in X Men Origins. Reynolds was practically born to play Deadpool: his comedic timing is unbelievable, and he nails the fourth-wall breaking meta-madman. He’s so much fun to watch interact with the rest of the cast: both his romantic and comedic chemistry with Morena Baccarin was electric, and his scenes with Negasonic Teenage Warhead and Colossus (Brianna Hildebrand and Stefan Kapicic) left me excited to see where Deadpool will sit in the greater X-Men Universe.
Deadpool was a risk in that it was breaking the norm of superhero films, going against the tide of many that we are drowning in at the moment. Violent and hysterical, it gives audiences something new and exciting whilst staying true to the character. Though it wasn’t perfect, and perhaps doesn’t live up to the hype (but, come on, we haven’t seen anything else but Deadpool on social media for weeks, how could it?), Deadpool will hopefully encourage filmmakers to surprise their audiences, and give us more original films to love.
And, here’s my list of my top 5 favourite superhero films, in honour of Deadpool not being a superhero film:
- X-Men: First Class
- Avengers: Age of Ultron
- Guardians of the Galaxy
- X-Men: Days of Future Past