Wisecracking ex-mercenary Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) is alarmed to discover that he has terminal cancer, and makes a deal to cure his illness with disastrous consequences. With a warped sense of humour, morality and body, he sets out to exact revenge.
As usual with these releases, I find it hard to separate my inner comic book fan from the movie buff and talk about the film on its own terms. So I think that, in terms of the comic book aspect I’ll simply say that yes, there are some changes (as always) but they are for the better.
Adapting a universe-traversing, fourth wall violating comic book character who delves into hallucination, there was going to be a point where the madness had to be curtailed.
And in Deadpool, a happy medium between insanity and inspidity is superbly achieved. If you are a fan of Wade Wilson, you won’t be disappointed since the movie makers have captured the tone and feel of the character, with just the right amount of outlandish elements and digressions, with both heart and humour in mind.
And Ryan Reynolds will surely become as synonymous with the character as Heath Ledger has become with the Joker and Robert Downey Jr is with Tony Stark.
After his widely-hated introduction in X-Men Origins: Wolverine (which may or may not be referenced), the slate is wiped clean for Deadpool, and his early days of an assassin/superhero are charted through the course of the movie.
With so many superhero movies out and on the way, the problem here and in future films was always going to be how to freshen the tropes of transformative angst, tragedy and poor choices which define these tales.
But Deadpool successfully sidesteps these problems by disrupting the order of the story. Instead of a step by step retelling, the film opens with a particular scene in which the story is based around.
We jump back and forth in time, to before, during and after the experiments which leave him disfigured and vengeful. Though some sections are slower than others, there is still something occurring in each which is engaging.
Interspersed throughout are various relatively low-budget, bloody (but not overly gory) action sequences which are well choreographed and memorable.
In fact, with its inclusion of various special effects, universe building and characters a main strength of Deadpool is that it cleverly disguises its monetary and storytelling shortcomings.
The grungy and un-showy settings only highlight the seedy, more depraved world that Wade Wilson inhabits, and confirms its alternative charm; a dementedly diverse soundtrack only fuels it further.
The characters all pleasingly register. The sparky Theresa (Morena Baccarin) and her romance with Wade prove to be one of the funniest, raunchiest and most authentic feeling relationships in a comic book movie.
Weasel (T.J. Miller) and Blind Al (Leslie Uggams) provide some of the heartier laughs in their interplay with Wilson, and whilst the villainous Ajax (Ed Skrein) does suffer slightly from being underdeveloped, he remains suitably menacing and despicable to give something worthy for Deadpool to fight against.
But in many respects, the slightness of the other characters is understandable and forgivable because this is Ryan Reynold’s show. Able to deliver in the dramatic moments, and possessing a powerful sense of delivery and comic timing, he wholly embodies the nickname “the Merc with a Mouth.”
Indeed, there is a swarm of one-liners and jokes that get fired your way. Phase out for only a second and you may wonder why the viewers around you are in stitches. Yes, there is a huge amount of gags that are scattered throughout the script.
Not every joke (typically crude and childish, but joyously effective) hits home successfully, but then again not all funnies do even in comedy movies.
It may not break the mould as much as expected, but Deadpool is a decidedly un-family friendly film. Yet it’s a lively, funny and fervently rebellious movie that swaggers over the finishing line, with a twinkle in its eye and a hearty chuckle.