After finishing my countdown we reach the film that inspired it in the first place: Deeadpool! Now in comparison to the usual superhero epics that have been coming – the films where earth-sized stakes are at hand and the universe must join together to defeat a dangerous threat – Deadpool is very… small in scale. And that’s including Ant-Man.
Despite the film’s claims it’s a love-story or a horror show etc., Deadpool simply revolves around a badly-scarred, immortal action hero saving his (ex) girlfriend from a generic bad guy. The plot is simple 80’s action show, yet the originality doesn’t so much come from the concept of the film but rather the main character. Ryan Reynolds, after two comic book flops in his career, makes a strike three in a successful adaptation of Deadpool: the improvisational charm and youthful snarkisms of the actor provide an anti-hero not really attempted before on silver screen superhero films. Reynolds Deadpool is a crass, pop-culture savvy mercenary whose powers provide the best gags in the film. The cruel jibes and fourth wall prods prove to be the films best moments when the audience feel like they’re watching something fresh.
The only problem with this: Deadpool’s not actually in the film that much. Now Tim Miller is able to trick us with rabid flashbacks and cuts so it doesn’t feel, well, dead. Unfortunately the moments that build up to Deadpool’s origin, or the scenes outside of spandex tend to bring down the throttle of nuts-fun that the film works best in.
Deadpool’s sheer insanity also makes everyone else seem far blander in comparison. Ed Skreen’s Ajax feels more like henchman than head honcho, Morena Baccarin is typical feisty damsel, and X-Men duo Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Stefan Kapicic and Briana Hildebrand) are the CGI powerhouse spectacles on the side. The only one who competes with the riffing attitude of Reynolds is T.J. Miller as Weasal, whose squabbles with Deadpool provide some of the best gags.
And the humour is where the film both triumphs and falters. When Tim Miller nails the comedy it is in the gory slapstick, cartoonish vibrancy, and metafictional asides such as Deadpool’s confusion over which Professor X he’s meeting ‘McKellen or McAvoy’. The tone of the film slips though when Deadpool’s mouth runs off a bit too far and the crassness appeals more to a demographic that can’t even see the film to begin with.
Deadpool in many ways is sorely needed as a comic book film – its low stakes and mocking tone provide a new take on the genre. Still, with a sequel in a few years, perhaps there’s enough time to let the franchise heal properly from its wounds and come back more alive and kicking than before.
Directed by Tim Miller
Written by Paul Wernick & Rhett Reese
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Ed Skreen, T.J Miller, Morena Baccarin
Runtime: 108 mins.