Release: 13th June 2016
Format: BR / DVD / DGTL
Based upon Marvel Comics’ most unconventional anti-hero, Deadpool tells the origin story of former Special Forces operative turned mercenary Wade Wilson, who, after being subjected to a rogue experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers, adopts the alter ego Deadpool. Armed with his new abilities and a dark, twisted sense of humor, Deadpool hunts down the man who nearly destroyed his life.
In his dilapidated apartment, our hideously scarred superhero – still half-dressed in his costume, wearing blue crocs, clutching a fluffy dog, with his brutally severed arm wrapped in a bloodied towel – walks past his blind elderly room mate, farts and deadpans, “#Drive-By”. If you want Deadpool summed up in one shot, this is it.
Pithy comic book movies are not exactly virgin territory. Fourth-wall breaking cinema has been around for a long, long time. Toilet humour and men in spandex dates back to the Chaucer and beyond. But for some reason, Deadpool really struck a nerve with audiences. It has gone on to become one of the highest grossing R-Rated films in history, and no doubt set the budget for a sequel way up beyond the first’s measly $58 million. The problem is, aside from being generally fun; there is little else about Deadpool that elevates it above the standard mediocrity of the superhero genre.
The first and obviously most blasé fumble Deadpool experiences is that its story is soooo damn tired. Screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick have made little effort to experiment with what amounts to a rescue mission spliced with flashbacks. The origin story feels unnecessary, and due to its placement within the split narrative, seems to go on for ages. The second issue facing the film is that dick jokes can only go so far. Some really needed to let Reynolds know that his Van Wilder days are long gone. Third is threat. Like the oft referenced Wolverine, Deadpool is pretty much indestructible. This rightly gets played for laughs here, but the issue is that because of this, we see no real threat to our protagonist. Things are not helped by the fact that Francis, as well as having a crappy name, is also a very crappy villain. He is neither entertaining nor imposing. In fact, a better narrative would have centred on Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead trying to recruit a wayward Deadpool. That story, at least, had enough legs to carry the film.
Reynolds seems at ease in the red costume. You could probably divide his success / failure rate straight down the middle, as his shower of continual zingers fluctuate between the genius, (“A fourth wall break inside a fourth wall break? That’s like, sixteen walls.”), and the out-and-out irritating (usually the joke that follows the last funny one). There is solid chemistry between Deadpool and his menagerie of support cast, and that is the film’s bread and butter. T.J Miller is comedy Marmite, and leans towards over confidence which can grate. We’ve already covered Ajax, and his special ability to induce yawns, while Gina Carano fails to register when she isn’t busy destroying someone’s ability to walk. Colossus and NTW get little material to work with, but they do get some decent action and provide some nice diversity in Deadpool’s interactions with others.
Tim Miller’s direction is adequate, and he often handles the action scenes with a good eye for the money shots. Unfortunately, he is also a little too reliant upon Reynolds’ quips and digital crimson magic to populate his movie. Miller seems less focused on world building, meaning that Deadpool looks like it was all filmed in and around one single abandoned hanger. He also seems to have little hold on character development, and so this is a film populated with some of the dullest characters you will see this year. Deadpool is a star vehicle in the most obvious way possible, which works nicely for Reynolds but might need more work before Deadpool 2 becomes déjà vu drenched in penis humour.
Film Grade: C
Wow. Now this is how you supplement a crowd pleaser.
Wade (Wilson) your way through the Deleted Scenes if you want to see traces of the more stoic elements of Deadpool. This includes a pretty great fight scene in a Mexican hospital. Then, for those who haven’t already seen them all, come an ode to the Marketing of the film with a plethora of trailers and indents.
The Gag Reel is light on purpose, while the VFX reel veers mainly into the CGI nerd interest zone.
If you haven’t had enough Reynolds auration for your money, then a Commentary is on offer.
But the true gold is to be found with From Comics to Screen. This 70 minute documentary covers the bulk of the film’s production from Deadpool’s comic book genesis through pre-production and right up to release. Although things skip along at a brisk pace, there are some brilliant nuggets of information about the movie, including some wonderful behind-the-scenes footage. This documentary is clearly aimed at the casual viewer – i.e.; not exactly Peter Jackson territory – but it’s a great offering for anyone who wants to experience a little more than just the film. Bravo 20th Century Fox.
Special Features Grade: A-
A film of its time, Deadpool is like the Scary Movie franchise for a post-Nolan/Batman world. Reynolds is on fire (quite literally at one point), but don’t expect to love him the entire time. With some AAA standard special features on offer as well, it’s a must buy for fans.