Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, T.J. Miller, Gina Carano
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…it’s a bloody good time.
It’s been a long, hard road for Wade Wilson aka Deadpool to find a cinematic vehicle worthy of his name. We last saw the character much abused in the cinematic garbage fire that was 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine, where the “merc with a mouth” had said orifice stitched shut. Since that day, Ryan Reynolds (who played Wade then and now) has been campaigning hard for a proper Deadpool movie.
Deadpool, you see, isn’t like other superheroes. He’s kind of the Bugs Bunny of the Marvel Universe: he’s smarmy, smirking, sarcastic, self-aware and constantly breaks the fourth wall. He also dishes out ultraviolence with glee, which has made the character difficult to adapt for studios who tend to want their superheroes to be family friendly.
There’s nothing family friendly about 2016’s Deadpool, a film that adapts the character extremely faithfully. The slight story focuses on Wade Wilson, a mercenary who takes out bad guys for cash. One day he meets Vanessa Carlysle (Morena Baccarin) and the pair fall truly, madly, deeply and sexually explicitly in love (cue: a strap-on gag that is genuinely hilarious). Then Wade is diagnosed with cancer and undergoes a dubious “treatment” that leaves him hideously disfigured, but with amazing regenerative capabilities.
The narrative then takes Deadpool through a series of kinetic, splattery action sequences where Wade peppers his enemies with bullets and the audience with rapid fire quips, one-liners and pop culture references. The jokes have about a 50/50 success rate, but there are some many of them you’ll probably find yourself laughing quite a lot.
Reynolds is amazing as Deadpool, fully embracing the dubious charms of the character and committing 100% to the silliness. Strangely one of the best aspects of the movie is the romance with Vanessa, which comes off as very sweet without being cloying, a rarity in superhero flicks. Less successful is the plot involving forgettable villain, Ajax (Ed Skrein) and indeed the whole revenge storyline seems to be an excuse to hold action sequences in a series of car parks and warehouses.
Still, Deadpool fans will be gratified to see their meta merc smirking, stabbing and snarking his way through his foes, stopping long enough to make a bunch of dick jokes, before it’s back to the action. It’s not high art, but for those whose taste runs to the visceral and farcical, it’s a bloody good time.