Review: Deadpool – Not wholly original, but a thoroughly enjoyable superhero romp

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IT’S FAIR to say that, alongside Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Captain America: Civil War, Deadpool has been one of 2016’s most anticipated superhero films. Once a relatively unknown character to those outside of the X-Men fandom, Deadpool was given a relatively poor start to screen life in X-Men Origins: Wolverine; a film so bad it’s commonly considered ‘non-canon’, even with Ryan Reynolds’ superb portrayal. Thankfully, pretty much all the sins of Origins are made up for in Deadpool, and with Reynolds back in the hot seat, the merc with a mouth enjoys referencing his past appearance through his full length feature.

However, I’m going to talk about the flaws in this film firstly. Yes, fanboys, there are flaws in this film, but at the end of the day, there’s no such thing as a perfect superhero film (except for The Dark Knight). Unsurprisingly, the plot of the film is wafer thin. It’s your typical guy gets powers, makes an enemy, enemy kidnaps girl, guy fights enemy. The actual motivation for ‘Ajax’, the villain, is rather questionable, and it’s not really revealed what his actual plot is. My only other complaint is that the marketing for this film has been too much; there are some jokes in this film I’d have laughed at a lot more if they hadn’t been shown to death in the trailers.

Thankfully, some of the best gags are saved for the film, and these are nearly 100% of the time based on pop culture references, whether they be at the expense of the X-Men, other superhero films, or Ryan Reynolds’ own career. While many of the jokes will be understood by anyone with a vague understanding of recent superhero films, some of the jokes, especially the visual gags, are tailored towards the fans. In fact the entire character of Deadpool is absolutely spot-on for fans; he’s perhaps one of the few superheroes to survive the transition from comic book to silver screen totally unscathed.

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Reynolds is cool, collected, funny and smooth as the title character, breaking the fourth wall without so much as a blink of the eye, and lambasting his own career almost gleefully. Despite ripping into Wolverine throughout much of this film, Reynolds has much in common with Hugh Jackman, and it almost seems impossible to imagine Deadpool being played by anyone else. He has successfully converted a section of fans who, in the past, probably scoffed at the idea of Definitely, Maybe.

And this really is Reynolds’ film. As previously mentioned, the story isn’t really a big part of this film; the true purpose of this film is for the film makers to say, “LOOK WHAT WE CAN DO WITH THIS CHARACTER GUYS!” Admittedly, what they do with this character is fantastic, but it doesn’t leave much for the rest of the cast.

Despite this, the supporting cast do a decent job with what they’re given; Morena Baccarin is decent as Wade’s girlfriend, Vanessa, and Ed Skrein plays a thoroughly unlikeable Ajax, despite his motives being somewhat questionable. Brianna Hildebrand is brilliant as trainee X-Man Negasonic Teenage Warhead, she’ll truly go far. The character of Colossus, voiced by Stefan Kapičić, gets more screen time here than X2, X-Men: The Last Stand and Days of Future Past combined, which is a decent opportunity to expand the character.

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Another thing that makes Deadpool enjoyable is its lack of generic superhero film traits. Of course it’s far from the first film to do this, but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable. I had worried that, near the climax, we’d have the emotional turn-around that would see Deadpool become Wolverine, but the film stays true to its mantra and takes a sideways look at the genre. While this is great for a standalone film, we live in the age of franchises, and if Deadpool is to survive in the future, it needs to change up its game; it would be a waste if this film just repeats itself in the sequel.

Anyone who claims Deadpool is a totally original kind of superhero film has clearly never seen Kick-Ass, Kick-Ass 2, Wanted, Super, Guardians of the Galaxy, or Hancock. But out of all of those Deadpool is definitely one of the most enjoyable. It doesn’t require much thought, but throws out some decent laughs left right and centre, while presenting some fun fight scenes and enough crass material to stay fun for the full 108 minutes. Bearing in mind this project comes from the studio that brought you The Wolverine and Fan-four-stic, it could have gone horribly wrong. Thankfully, Deadpool is the equivalent of a home run when it comes to fun filled superhero romps and that’s something that’s becoming increasingly difficult to say.

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