Reviews and entertainment articles by Dave Simpson
Fans have been demanding the onscreen redemption of Wade Wilson ever since he was silenced in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Now, after seven years on the sidelines, the merc with a mouth has finally returned to theatres and thankfully Tim Miller’s directorial debut has delivered on all of its protagonist’s promise and potential.
Despite its irreverent execution, at its core Deadpool is a fairly typical origin tale. The plot follows the titular character as he becomes embroiled with bad guys, romance and revenge while coming to terms with the powers that have been bestowed upon him. How this differs to most comic book movies though is that Wilson has no desire to be a hero; he only wants retribution and will do whatever it takes to get it.
The story involves more than enough action and adventure to keep pulses pounding throughout its hundred and eight minute run-time. Opening with a suitably absurd scene, it excites from the start and while it is a lot more violent than most movies of its genre, it manages to avoid being overly gratuitous.
The cinematography of the set-pieces is superb, involving stunning slow-motion sequences and splendid special effects which make for a visually striking experience. The plot is well paced too, flashing back and forth between the action in a way that keeps all aspects of the narrative compelling. There’s never a dull moment.
Even though it’s so eccentric and outlandish, in many ways this is actually the most grounded movie set in the X-Men world to date due to its gritty, adult tone. And speaking of Xavier’s superhero team, Deadpool slots surprisingly seamlessly into their canon. Setting aside the fact that Colossus suddenly speaks with a heavy Russian accent, it could easily take place somewhere within the post-Days of Future Past timeline. That doesn’t prevent it from firing friendly shots at what came before though.
The humour can fall flat at times, but there’s so much of it that you’d be hard-pressed not to find at least a few things that tickle your funny bone. Deadpool’s habit of breaking the fourth wall allows for exactly the sort of meta-moments one would expect going in. It also works well in the sense that it seems ambiguous as to whether he actually is addressing the audience or just imagining he is within the fictional realm of the film.
Ryan Reynolds is of course appropriately outrageous in the role. Even before the film’s release, he was winning praise left, right and centre for its amazing marketing campaign, so it should come as no shock that his portrayal of the protagonist is perfect. This truly is a part he was born to play.
He enjoys good chemistry with Morena Baccarin too. Their unorthodox romance is refreshing in relation to the love stories of other comic book movies and Baccarin puts in an impressive performance herself, even if she does ultimately end up as an archetypal damsel-in-distress.
Of the rest of the cast, Brianna Hildebrand stands out as Negasonic Teenage Warhead. Her turn as a moody teen who brings the badassery when the occasion calls for it is extremely entertaining. Stefan Kapičić’s Russian accent injects Colossus with a playful personality that makes him much more fun than before, while T.J. Miller has his moments as Weasel, even if he’s far from being an astounding sidekick.
Unfortunately the villains aren’t as memorable. Ed Skrein’s Ajax is lacking in the development department, seemingly being sadistic for the sake of being sadistic. Gina Carano’s Angel Dust is just as two dimensional, simply serving as some muscle to keep Colossus preoccupied.
Having said that, the story doesn’t suffer in any significant way from having forgettable antagonists. What really sells it is its zany spirit. With plenty of self-referential wit, ridiculous one-liners and unapologetically preposterous action, Deadpool is a fun and accessible film that succeeds in redeeming Wade Wilson on the big screen.
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