“I’m ain’t super, and I’m no hero.” That’s Deadpool, the lead character in Marvel’s latest comic to film addition. Super it is. And badass. No more ‘hero who always takes the moral high ground’ (I’m dreading this year’s releases of The Avengers and Batman vs Superman. Yawn!).
The film, Deadpool, details how the character gained his powers and what he’s decided to do with them. When mercenary, Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds), is diagnosed with terminal cancer, he’s offered an out. A mysterious man claims to be able to cure him. Wade leaves without telling his wife Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) goodbye, hoping he’ll be back soon, disease-free.
But, the story’s evil genius, Ajax (Ed Skrein), has other plans. After some weird liquid is pumped into his veins, Wade is tortured for months, to try and induce super healing powers (similar to Wolverine’s). This he gets, but at a price. Ajax reveals the goal is not to turn Wade into a super hero, but a super slave. In the process of this experiment Wade is horribly disfigured. Upon seeing Wade after he escapes, his friend Weasel (T.J. Miller) observes “You look like an avocado had sex with and older, more disgusting avocado.” Wade vows to exact revenge upon Ajax, whom he can’t kill before the latter fixes his disturbing visage.
Wade becomes the potty-mouthed Deadpool, a name he appropriates from the bar game Weasel set up, in which mercenaries bet on who would die first. Armed with a twisted sense of humour Deadpool begins his search for Ajax. He doesn’t tell Vanessa he’s alive, though he follows her and keeps watch . “Whatever they did to me made me totally indestructible,” he explains, “and completely unfuckable.”
Deadpool is the most refreshing Marvel film since Guardians of the Galaxy. Although it follows the archetypal plot of ‘main character hunts down some bad guys’, Deadpool himself is no saint. The sweary anti-hero is both funny and dark. Part of the humour lies in Deadpool’s repeated sarcastic ‘double’ breaking of the fourth wall: “A fourth wall break inside a fourth wall break? That’s like, sixteen walls!” He’s also not afraid to take repeated jabs at the producer and distributor, 20th Century Fox. Deadpool is part of the X-men plot, and when he turns to the X-mansion for help, he only finds Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (yeah, I’d never heard of her either). “Only two of you living in a mansion this big?” Wade quips. “It’s almost like Fox couldn’t afford to have any more X-Men.”
Reynolds endears the audience to Deadpool through his direct delivery of the character’s sarcasm and dark humour. His acting style simply didn’t suit his role as the archetypal, excruciatingly boring hero in DC Comics’ The Green Lantern, which was a failure on multiple levels, notwithstanding the costume, which Deadpool takes a swipe at when he asks the producers of this film not to make his suit green or animated.
Deadpool’s appeal lies in the fact that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Its audience is much wider than the average superhero blockbuster, something that’s propelled the film to become the highest grossing X-Men film ever in the U.S. Simply put: it’s wicked fun.
Ps. Watch out for the end-credit scene.
Director: Tom Miller
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, T.J. Miller
Rating: 4 out of 5