After seven films focusing on the X-Men and one key member, a need for a change of scenery is in order. With that in mind, Marvel have started to branch out with a new set of characters. Before the anticipated Gambit spin-off next year, Tim Miller makes his directorial début with a spin-off starring Marvel’s perhaps most talkative superhero.
Deadpool follows New York mercenary Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds), who is suddenly diagnosed with cancer. Running out of options, he undergoes a secret experiment supervised by Francis ‘Ajax’ Freeman (Ed Skrein). After being tortured for days, Wade ends up being forcibly deprived of oxygen, which triggers his healing abilities but leaves him severly disfigured. After Ajax leaves him for dead, Wade becomes the vigilante ‘Deadpool’ to hunt down his former captor.
One thing that Marvel has proven is that a fun and memorable marketing campaign works wonders. Like Guardians of the Galaxy before it, Deadpool has benefited from an effective, hilarious and memorable campaign, leading to positive word of mouth. While the studio may be risking the release of a non-family-friendly feature, it is fair to say that Deadpool is a far cry from the noble Avengers or X-Men.
With that in mind, it is hard to take the film seriously. There are elements that aim to strike an emotional chord, such as Wade’s disfigurement and his fear of returning to estranged girlfriend Vanessa (Morena Baccarin). However, writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick end up putting a humourous spin on them that practically cushions the blow. Gone is the tragedy-stricken Wade and the ideas about responsibility and a duty to save the world – Deadpool is about kicking some serious ass and looking cool while doing so.
It is obvious from the frank yet hysterical title sequence that humour is the key behind the film. Among the quick one-liners and Deadpool’s smartass narrative are in-jokes about the X-Men, Star Wars and the easily forgettable Green Lantern. Coupled with the action-packed fight scenes, Deadpool proves he is here to entertain and he spectacularly does so, thanks to Reynolds’ quick-witted performance.
Gina Carano’s Angel Dust and Brianna Hildebrand’s aptly named Negasonic Teenage Warhead represent the badass female mutants, whereas Skrein and Stefan Kapicic are comparatively dull as the stereotypical bad guy and CGI Colossus respectively. However, these are small blips in a fun-packed, consistent outrageous début for Miller.
Witty and action-packed, Deadpool is undoubtedly a different Marvel cinematic experience – but one that is definitely recommended.
Director: Tim Miller
Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Ed Skrein, Gina Carano, Brianna Hildebrand, Morena Baccarin
Runtime: 108 minutes