Deadpool is the riot we need at this nexus of superhero movies. After being bashed to death with the tropes of superhero origin stories until the even the prospect of another one makes you want to frisbee your Marvel Phase One Blu Ray box set into a fire barrel, or punch Zack Snyder in the face for new flashbacks to Gotham City’s crime alley. By the powers of visual effects animatics artist and middle aged rookie Tim Miller in the director’s chair, Zombieland writers Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick on keys and lone survivor of the atrocity that was Green Lantern, Ryan Reynolds as the front man (in every conceivable way) – this combination delivers a bonafide hilarious meta superhero comedy. Deadpool is to the superhero genre what Shane Black’s Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang is to Detective Noir and Hollywood.
Deadpool aka Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) is a mercenary for hire, who meets the prostitute of his dreams (Morena Baccarin) and proceeds to fall into a deviant, beautiful love. When a random blackout reveals Lance Armstrong level cancer, Wade is left with a singular option presented by a shady organisation promising a cure through mutation. And as you would expect the shady organisation reveals shady intent to not only mutate but to enslave his new powers for their own ends. They fail and the newly invincible and enhanced “Merc with the Mouth” seeks bloody vengeance.
Ryan Reynolds will tell you that Deadpool is his dream role, however it’s almost as if Deadpool is his unbridled ID being released on the world. It’s a role that was not only written for him but crafted and championed by him. It takes all the muscles of the potential that we’ve seen in fleeting comedic brilliance like Van Wilder: Party Liaison or genuinely moving drama like Buried and gives him the outlet…and the suit. Reynolds was born to play Wilson, in the same way Robert Downey Jr was born to play Tony Stark. Imagining anyone donning that mantle is almost unimaginable. To paraphrase Ghostbusters; there is no Reynolds only Deadpool (make sure you say that in your head as if you’d been inhabited by a demon dog).
Morena Baccarin’s Vanessa, at face value, may appear to be the same superhero damsel we’re encountered before. However, Vanessa, the filthy mouthed badass hooker who meets her match with Wade is a large part of how you relate to the character.
The supporting characters in Deadpool are all terrific. Gina Carano doesn’t have much to say, and that’s good, she’s much better at realistically dishing out dick punching, badass punishment as Angel Dust. Brianna Hildebrand’s Negasonic Teenage Warhead makes such a tremendous impression that the fallout of her character’s awesomeness are felt in memes and gifs flooding the inter-webs. She’s the more grounded foil to the bright eyed nerds we’ve become accustomed to at the Xavier school. T.J Miller’s Weasel is Wade’s Jiminy Cricket, if that sweet little spirit guide likened your face to testicles, or pointing out the best people to talk to so as to move the plot forward.
Miller manages characters and performances at a consistent momentum, managing the mania of the story and the narrator (Deadpool himself) digressing throughout. Seeing the live action car chase centrepiece, featured in the leaked animatic sequence (the catalyst that pushed this from the shelf into production), is the biggest accomplishment. High speed explosive stunts, intimate brutality and sensational use of slow motion to take time outs to inject additional gags.
Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick’s script is packed to the gills. It’s such an assault of jokes, insults and meta digressions that you’ll be hard pressed to hear all the gags in the first viewing over the laughs of you and yours. From minute one you’re confronted with the invincible superhero whose more interested in chatting to the audience about how much he had to stroke Wolverine’s beanbag to get his own movie, or drawing crayon cartoons of what he’s going to do to his enemies, than burdening the audience with purpose. Deadpool manages to avoid almost all the pratfalls associated with the genre. The epic staging of the final confrontation though, felt like the only part of the exercise that they allowed themselves to follow suit of the films that preceded them. The final bombastic, air craft carrier sequence felt like all the other Marvel movies.
Although Deadpool is fresh, it kind of feels like a swan-song. Tim Miller crushes his directorial debut; Reese and Wernick all but ensure their future with a franchise that Fox never knew they wanted, and Reynolds becomes the filthy mouthed, meta superhero we were all quietly cheering for him to become.
Deadpool honours the character, the humour, the fun and the awareness required in this evolving and burgeoning genre. Miller, Reese, Wernick and Reynolds throw everything and the kitchen sink at this opportunity and they nail it.
Blake Howard – follow Blake on Twitter here: @blakeisbatman
Director: Tim Miller
Written by: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick
Ryan Reynolds: Wade/Deadpool
Ed Skrein: Ajax
Brianna Hildebrand: Negasonic Teenage Warhead
T.J Miller: Weasel
Morena Baccarin: Vanessa
Jed Rees: Recruiter
Gina Carano: Angel Dust