Deadpool firmly nails its colours to the mast within the first minute of the opening credits with such statements as “Directed by an overpaid tool”. With the tone clearly established the movie then proceeds to satirise the very genre its set in and walks a very fine line between knowing in-jokes and actually biting the hand that feeds it. The screenplay is littered with profanity and dick jokes, with violent death frequently served as a punchline. The only thing missing from the proceedings are well placed rimshots. Deadpool is a film that will polarise audiences. Many will find the breaking of the fourth wall, the smutty quips along with the overall mocking of the super hero genre very droll. However there will be some critics who are obliged to see this movie that won’t be in on the joke and they will more than likely leave theatres very offended.
As for me, I thoroughly enjoyed Deadpool. Despite being very traditional with its storyline, offering a standard “super hero origin” tale, it has an enjoyable narrative structure based upon a series of flashbacks. This is a story of boy meets girl, boy gets cancer and boy then takes a gamble on a covert military project that will allegedly cure him. Naturally our hero is betrayed and left with regenerative powers but horribly scarred. Obligatory vengeance is required and mayhem, slaughter and extreme violence ensues. Directors Tim Miller does a great deal with the films moderate budget and when the resources simply aren’t there, he ensures there’s a self-effacing quip in the script to mitigate the problem. It’s a clever approach that certainly entertained audiences in the screening I saw.
Performances are universally good and suit the idiom of the film. Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin and Ed Skrein are well cast and tackle their respective roles in an appropriate manner. However it is writers Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese who really should take the credit for the movies success. They hit exactly the right tone and broadly maintain it throughout the films one hundred and eight minute running time. There are a few jokes that go astray but most of the time the dialogue hits the mark. There’s a superb gag involving a potential death by Zamboni that pleased the crowd and I enjoyed the way that Wham’s Careless Whisper was crowbarred into the proceedings. Extra marks are awarded for Deadpool’s musings upon Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson from Taken).
Deadpool is a wry and clever movie but it inevitably remains a niche market product. It certainly deserves to do as well as it can at the box office within the parameters of its genre, as I wouldn’t mind seeing another cinematic excursion. However I don’t think it’s a franchise that is indefinitely sustainable. Yet compared to the usual Marvel cinematic universe output, Deadpool is a breath of fresh air. The serious tone and lofty aspirations of the genre are beautifully subverted here. Therefore savour Deadpool for what it is and don’t forget to stay for the obligatory post credits sequence. As you’d expect from such a movie it flies in the face of the usual teaser format. Think Ferris Bueller's Day Off and you won’t be disappointed.