There are three ways of approaching first time director, Tim Miller’s Deadpool movie. The first and more surprising approach is as a romance or maybe that shouldn’t be surprising given it’s the valentine’s period. Of course, we also approach Deadpool as an action film. The red of the Deadpool character is for buoyant violence and bloodshed as much love. We can also approach Deadpool as straight up comedy, with the expected meta-textual inflexions and fourth wall breaking.
I reckon Deadpool makes its money on the comedy end of things. The humor is the glue that keeps this film flying. That’s not to say it is a pushover on the action and even romance spectrum which are somewhat elevated by the comic beats in play. This film exceeded expectations. Miller handles his central character with commendable restraint and surprisingly doesn’t overplay his meta hand but he just keep the gags coming. It packs well-timed jokes, pop culture awareness and the obligatory causticness that should accompany and film that parades the Merc with a mouth.
The laughs begin with the credits which forgoes the generic cast of names and instead opts for listing archetypes like “British Villain” and “CGI Character”. We already know Ryan Reynolds gets a second crack at the Deadpool/Wade Wilson character following the ill-advised handling of the character in 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine. I will admit I found the idea of a Deadpool without a mouth extremely amusing despite the blaspheme. We have no such worries here. Our witty mutant mercenary assassin with his ridiculous healing capacity reps in his pure and unadulterated form – the love child of Spiderman and The Punisher.
Deadpool sports a bit of a non-linear narrative and opens in the back of an innocent taxi cab with vengeance on the menu. Wilson is looking to dish out penance on Ajax (British Villian aka Ed Skrein) who is responsible for not only his superpowers but also the disfigurement that accompanied it. We learn through the long flashbacks that Wilson, a former Special Forces operative had caught feelings for the endearing Vanessa (Morena Baccarin). Through the expected twist of fate, Wilson is diagnosed with cancer that threatens to take away his life and his love. He is given a shot beating cancer by a shady Agent Smith type when he offered the chance to become a mutant.
As we know, Wade develops his insane healing abilities but is left with a horrid look leaves people wincing. More importantly, Wade feels he can never be with Vanessa again because of his looks and to the film’s credit, we take time from the kinetics and humour to feel for Wilson. Those on Val’s dates will have a little mush to chew on with the heart this film provides. Miller, however, knows what the people want and gives the people what they want. This film is trim with zero chaff and when it’s not pushing the romance angle, we get our ultra violent comic book action that is held up energetic pacing, smart witty writing and strong subtle comic timing from Miller.
In an era when Hollywood studios are starting to move away from formulaic superhero origin stories, the film’s writers retain full awareness of the times by basically laughing at itself and satirising the genre. It embraces its hard R-rating which in truth sets this film apart because it is in essence a simple origin story save for some smart narrative tweaks. It is irreverent and cares nothing for the more sensitive souls but it never rams our head with repetitive jokes or gratuitous crassness. I bet it could have lived on a 15 certificate but our anti-hero, Deadpool never plays by the rules does he.
I won’t call Deadpool a perfect movie *cough X-men bits*. We see hints of a film with a relatively small budget that fought to be made but Reynold’s charisma and comic talents coupled with the strong writing carry this film through and leave us wanting more.