What better way is there to spend Valentine’s Day than by watching a romantic movie with your loved one? That was just part of the ingenious marketing campaign behind the latest in the long line of superhero movies: Deadpool. The Merc with the Mouth has arrived on the big screen for the first time (don’t make me count that abomination we saw in Wolverine: Origins) and this time his mouth is going at full speed. The question is, is the movie all talk or does it deliver where it counts?
This isn’t like any superhero movie you’ve seen in cinemas before, and that’s a good thing. Deadpool shouldn’t be a stock standard comic book movie, and while it still manages to follow the basic structure you’d expect from a Marvel property, it’s filled to the brim with Deadpool-isms. What’s even better is it never gets overpowered by its own quirks. The fourth wall gets broken, but the references to this are spaced out enough so that they never lose their edge. The story is simple enough to do what it needs to, acting as a path for the movie to follow as it revels in the sandpit that an R rating (or MA15+ here in Aus) offers. What we get is basically this: guy meets girl, things go wrong, guy puts on spandex and tries to get girl back. It’s what Deadpool does with that premise that lets it shine.
And this movie earns that R rating. It’s not a kids film, and it absolutely shouldn’t (or really couldn’t) have been cut to PG-13 and retained its style. In saying that, at no point does anything feel gratuitous or done for the sake of pushing it to R. There’s plenty of swearing, crude humour, violence and even a sex scene, but it works within the flow of the movie. It’s just Deadpool being Deadpool, and Ryan Reynolds is so perfect for the role that it really is a Hugh Jackman/Wolverine situation. We saw it in the marketing work he did in character, but the movie just solidifies this. The jokes are flying fast and Reynolds comedic timing makes sure every one hits. There’s hardly a joke here that doesn’t seem to work, which is rare even for good comedies. You’d expect most of the humour to be sophomoric, but Deadpool doesn’t fall into the trap of only going for the low hanging fruit like a lot of sophomoric comedies do. The writing is refreshingly clever, offering a mix of simple and clever humour.
It’s not just Reynolds that does well here. Morena Baccarin continues to cement her popularity within the geek community with a strong performance, and although as a villain Ajax is pretty basic, Ed Skrein does a good job at making him interesting. TJ Miller plays a great comedic side character but perhaps the best value for money performances come from Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead. The two X-Men representatives not only serve to connect this movie to the Fox X-Men universe, but they provide a great folly for Deadpool, whether it be the straight man or as a snarky youngster. They get enough time on screen to shine and add a lot whenever they’re involved.
The action for the most part is pretty good. There are some times when what’s happening on screen is a little hard to follow, but generally everything is well framed. The comedy again is well used throughout, helping keep the movie light and fun, and it’s well paced. The way the story is structured makes sure there’s enough action sprinkled through the movie so you aren’t bogged down in the story – which while good is nothing revolutionary (not that it needs to be). When it needs to be serious it does so without compromising the characters, but it never spends too long in this zone so you’re never too far between laughs.
There’s a clear effort here to do everything necessary to make sure the movie works. The movie has enough time to build the story and the characters you need to care about, without letting it slow down the movie. The references that you’d expect come fast and often, poking fun at everything from Reynolds himself and fellow X-man Hugh Jackman, to a nod to the character’s creator and some genius X-Men cinematic universe jabs. The movie feels a little short by most superhero standards, but this makes sure the humour doesn’t start to lag. It’s better than dragging the movie out and losing that consistent edge. And the story never tries to get too big. There is no world-in-danger stakes, it’s just a guy after revenge. Deadpool is kind of like an American Pie meets Kill Bill combination. It didn’t need to be anything grandiose and it benefits from this. And because the stakes aren’t as high, it’s easier to relax and buy into Deadpool’s antics.
There’s not a lot that needs to be said at the end of it all, other than it simply works. I was worried the Deadpool humour would drag in a feature length film, but it didn’t. It’s consistently hilarious and mixes it up enough so that you don’t ever start to feel bored. Reynolds is fantastic, as is the rest of the cast. It’s an easy to watch movie that has enough in it to keep you laughing through multiple viewings. It’s a true R movie, so if you don’t like things getting heavy in that regard this won’t be the movie for you, but there are worse R rated films out there. If you’re looking for something a bit different from the typical superhero movie (and given what we’re getting in 2016, I’d understand if you were) then Deadpool will fit that bill perfectly. Much like how Guardians of the Galaxy felt like a breath of fresh air to the genre, Deadpool stands tall as a great superhero movie that doesn’t feel like any other one within the genre. Believe the hype this movie is getting, it’s a fantastic romp. And yes, there’s an end of credits scene, and it’s typically Deadpool.