Director: Tim Miller
Major Players: Ryan Reynolds, Ed Skrein, Morena Baccarin
Out Of Five: 3.5, motherf***er!
My latest estimate shows there’s about half a dozen super hero movies to come, with both Captain America:CivilWar and X-Men Apocalypse squeezing themselves into May. Two Bank Holidays might have something to do with it.
But first comes the warm up act, one that would no doubt have a ripe comment about that description. Deadpool isn’t so much a super hero as an anti-super hero, one with an irreverence for the genre that could make him first cousin of Guardians Of The Galaxy. Except that, in his eyes, they’re probably rather tame.
Special forces operative Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) has become a mercenary and, coincidentally, found the love of his life Frances (Morena Baccarin) when he’s diagnosed with a terminal disease. With nothing to lose, he agrees to undergo a rogue cure and it works, but leaves him horribly disfigured and determined to track down the man responsible. And, to hide his hideous appearance from the world, he takes on the persona of Deadpool.
And he’s quite a persona, one that apparently the X-Men would like to have join their cause but he’s very much a lone wolf. In fact, he takes great pleasure at poking fun at them at every opportunity, especially Wolverine/Hugh Jackman. Actually, he takes the proverbial out of just about everything, with the exception of the lovely Frances: the elderly Blind Al (Leslie Uggams) who shares his house, the gloriously named female teen hero, Megasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) whose cropped hair prompts regular Sinead O’Connor references and even the convention of the fourth wall in the cinema. Not only does he talk directly to the audience, but also discusses breaking down that fourth wall!
The mick taking starts from the word go with the mock opening credits. Less than polite about the director and producer, they also obey the convention of a British villain, as does the film. After that we’re plunged straight into the extended and explosive car crash that’s been widely previewed in the trailers and TV ads. It’s bloody, entertainingly over the top with its slo-mo and liberally splattered blood and, of course, Deadpool’s snarky brand of humour. It also has a downside. It’s such a spectacular opening sequence that the film peaks too soon (cue a Deadpool double entendre) and it means the middle section of the film sags a touch in the middle. Thank goodness it’s not wearing Spandex.
As a film, Deadpool is undoubtedly a crowd pleaser – for adults, because this is very much a 15 certificate – and it has some great gags. One about Reynolds himself and even ones specifically for us Brits: David Beckham’s voice and Ikea self-assembly furniture, would you believe? The scriptwriters must have had a ball writing this – you can almost picture them round a table, falling off their chairs with laughter – and, good though much of the fast and flippant humour most certainly is, the film isn’t quite as funny as it thinks it is.
There’s enough, though, in the laughs department to keep you going until the big ending sequence – and the mandatory post-credits scene. Yes, it’s worth sticking around for, as is the animation that goes with the credits, and no, I’m not going to tell you what happens. As the film opens here and in the US today, its sequel has already been confirmed and it’ll no doubt pull the punters in as well. Yet I can’t help but think that Deadpool would be better as a one-off. He’s a joke that could wear a touch thin.
Deadpool is in UK cinemas now and is reviewed on Talking Pictures on Thursday, 11 February.