Director: Tim Miller
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, Brianna Hildebrand, TJ Miller, Gina Carano
Runtime: 106 minutes
The Merc with a Mouth is back - and this time he means business. After nearly a decade in production, Marvel's R-rated, fourth-wall breaking antihero Deadpool arrives for his first solo outing. How does it stack up?
Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) is a chatty mercenary in love; smitten with his gorgeous girlfriend Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), Wade would do anything to stay by her side, including signing on for an experimental DNA alteration program to help cure his cancer-ridden body. However, when said experiment leaves Wade horribly disfigured and with the ability to heal at an extraordinary rate, the newly-invulnerable soldier decides to track down the man responsible - Ajax (Ed Skrein) - whatever the cost.
Firstly, Reynolds is superb in the lead role. His passion for the character oozes from every pore and radiates from every limb giving his physical performance a brilliant comical quality. His delivery is sharp and his ability to transition from humour to drama is impressive.
Equally as great is Baccarin as Wade's love interest Vanessa. Her character gives the film life in the pre-surgery flashbacks and she shares fantastic chemistry with Reynolds. The main issue here is that she is relegated to supporting in the second half and much of this momentum is lost.
The humour doesn't always work with about 50% of the jokes falling by the wayside; it's a very scattershot approach that pokes fun at everything from Reynolds' career, the X-Men series continuity and every that falls under the 2016 Hollywood zeitgeist. Oh, and dick jokes. Lots of dick jokes.
Of course, fans of the character will be expecting this careful blend of juvenile crassness and meta humour. It's par for the course with Deadpool, so just make sure you know what you're in for - lots of swearing, plenty of jokes about sex and tons of obscure pop culture references that occasionally make no sense whatsoever. In terms of capturing the essence of Deadpool, this film is pretty spot on.
But in terms of filmmaking, it's far from perfect. The plot is thin and simplistic, whilst the supporting characters (particularly the villain, Ajax) are derivative and nowhere near as original as you'd hope. The humour flows thick and fast, but a lot of the time it's being used to disguise an otherwise derivative and conventional origin story plot.
I hate to say it, but I'm a little disappointed. It still gets a pass because this is the film that fans have been waiting for and Reynolds is a delight to watch as he bounces around the screen shooting goons in the skull. But it's nowhere near as clever as it wants you to think it is and the execution is only wholehearted in fits and bursts. A thin plot and broad humour will give the film a wider appeal, but I can't help but think that it's missing that X-Factor that sends it stratospheric.
The Verdict: 6.5/10
Deadpool is entertaining as heck, there is no denying that. The only problem is, the film doesn't do enough to subvert the superhero genre and ends up conforming to age old tropes all whilst riffing on how silly they are.
Deadpool is in cinemas across Australia now.