Deadpool – A review

The latest superhero film from 20th Century fox, directed by Tim Miller, starring Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, and TJ Miller, has been a long time in the making. Deadpool’s ascent to the big screen has been a long, slippy, road and has taken years of development and passionate appraisal from Miller and Reynolds to finally get released (with the help of some ‘leaked footage’ a couple of years ago). Having been in limbo for some years it’s impossible not to relish the critical and commercial success that has come Deadpool’s way in the preceding couple of weeks.

Wade Wilson (Reynolds) is a former Special Forces operative, now acting as a freelance mercenary, when he meets Vanessa (Baccarin) and the pair begin a relationship, with some lewd, hilarious laughs along the way. However their happiness is cut short when Wade is diagnosed with terminal cancer. In desperation to be cured he offers himself up for experimentation by the mysterious Ajax (Skrein) and his accomplice Angel (MMA fighter Gina Carano), however something goes horribly wrong and now Wilson is out for vengeance.

Tim Miller does a fine job balancing the, shall we say, extreme humour with the dramatic scenes and manages to maintain the tone of the comic with its profane shock humour making it a stand out cinematic treat amongst the numerous superhero films released this year. The dialogue is, for the most part, satisfyingly voracious, and well delivered by the entire ensemble. Reynolds own the film, and is perfectly cast as the abhorrent non-hero with plenty of enthusiasm and gallows humour like wit, and is clearly having the time of his life bringing something that has now become a passion project to the screen. Baccarin matches Reynolds energy step for step as Vanessa a role that originally seems quite vibrant and well rounded, but does fall into the same superhero’s girlfriend clichés that we’ve come to expect as the film goes on. However Baccarin works round the scripts limits brilliantly and is a pleasure, especially in the scenes where Vanessa is allowed to let her own lascivious humour loose. Ed Skrein’s Ajax is appropriately sinister, and interestingly cast. You would usually expect an older actor in the role. Skrein does perhaps lack the charisma and gravitas of a more experienced hand, but as the focus of Deadpool’s obsession he delivers an unapologetically rotten character with as much disdain as he can. Miller’s direction is fast paced, quickly edited, but concise and focussed at the same time so the action is frenetic, whilst maintaining clarity. The films limited budget does keep the set piece locations somewhat isolated and sparse, such as abandoned warehouses and scrap yards. So I do believe that a sequel with a larger budget, an inevitability following the financial success of the film, would be something to look forward too.

In a calendar year littered with high profile superhero films Deadpool has thrown down the gauntlet with a uniquely carnivorous sense of humour, and a meta-cinematic inimitability which I enjoyed tremendously. This Merc with a mouth gets a firm recommendation from me for his first big screen outing and I look forward to seeing him back in the future with a replenished arsenal of crass, ballistic mayhem to entertain us in the years to come.

**** stars out of *****

Review by Alexander Halsall


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