Directed by Tim Miller.
Starring Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, T.J. Miller, Ed Skrein, Stefan Kapicic and Brianna Hildebrand.
A former Special Forces operative turned mercenary is subjected to a rogue experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers, adopting the alter ego Deadpool.
Deadpool is an odd one. At first glance, he’s like any other superhero – a violent, foul-mouthed, dark-humoured mercenary diagnosed with late-stage cancer who is experimented on/tortured to mutate super-healing powers.
Ok, so it’s not getting bitten by a spider, but that isn’t the weird part.
The thing about Deadpool is that – through reasons that are never fully explained – he talks to the camera and is aware he’s a comic book character.
I love breaking the fourth wall. I was raised on Ferris Bueller and Saved By The Bell. I want to like Deadpool as a character. I’ve tried. But every time I optimistically bought a comic, I could never get past the first few pages. I found him immature and annoying. I didn’t get him.
Now, having seen the movie…
…colour me red. I fell in love with Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) in the opening credits.
They are a masterpiece of well-crafted, self-reflexive buffoonery. The movie titles don’t have names associated with them. Instead, the film is directed by ‘An Absolute Tool’. It stars ‘A Really Hot Guy’. It’s written by ‘The Real Genuises’. The titles all appear as the camera glides through a hilariously gruesome car-set tableaux: a man’s mouth is burnt from the inside, another is given a wedgie as he falls out the door, all as Deadpool teabags the driver.
What follows is a flashback-structured plot, narrated by Deadpool.
The Present: Deadpool chases down the mutant, Ajax (Ed Skrein) – which is where the opening credits car chase sequence comes from – who forced him to mutate through aforementioned experimentation/torture.
The Past: the origin story as pre-Deadpool Wade Wilson falls in love with a prostitute called Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), is diagnosed with late-stage cancer, and thus joins the again-aforementioned experimentation/torture programme (which, in Wade’s defence, isn’t sold as such) as a last resort.
As the recurrence of the word ‘Deadpool’ implies, he’s all over the movie. Which is obvious. It’s the film’s name. Point is, if you don’t like the first 10 minutes, you’re not going to like the following 96. Deadpool is a love/hate character.
Wait a second, what was that? 10 + 96? That’s 106 minutes. You’re telling me a superhero movie clocks in under two hours?
Yes. And it’s lovely. Not just for the butt, but for the pacing, too. There isn’t a moment without at least either comedy, violence, or – dare I say it about a character who almost pathologically avoids genuine feeling – emotion.
The empathy is there, and, for a while in the second act, events become uncomfortably dark. Even Deadpool stops short at making fun of cancer, seamlessly adopting a more sombre tone which is carried through to the visceral experimentation scenes.
But the movie never loses sight of its true mutated super powers…VIOLENCE! and LAUGHS!
The bloodshed is funny. The jokes are gory. They work in tandem beautifully – how is this only rated 15!? – all strengthening the bizarre, chaotic worldview of one unhinged anti-hero through its self-reflexive, fourth-wall-breaking style.
Which takes us back to the beginning. Those opening credits hold an insight into Deadpool. The ‘real genius’, the ‘really hot guy’, especially the ‘absolute tool’ – they’re all the same person.
Deadpool is a Deadpool movie, written by Deadpool, starring Deadpool and directed by Deadpool. He literally moves the camera, he dictates the structure of the story through narration, he is the lead character.
Everything is Deadpool. Everything is idiotic. Everything is immature, insane and douchebaggy.
It’s maximum effort. It’s Guardians of the Galaxy on methamphetamine. It’s genius.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★