Review: Deadpool

Deadpool poster

There’s a type of individual on this planet who irritates more than any other: the smug, obnoxious, self-centred person who sees their anti-social antics as hilarious, and acts that way continuously. The last thing one would want is a film that embodies these ideals, and yet, such a movie exists. Pity.

Since being discharged from military duty, Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) has been living a very shady life. For money, he works as a mercenary-for-hire, antagonising everyone from criminals to teenage stalkers; for leisure, he spends time at an underground bar where he delights in causing mischief. It’s at this same bar where he meets Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), an escort who, over time, becomes the love of Wade’s life.

Just as things seem to be going well for Wade, he is diagnosed with terminal cancer, giving him only months left to live. Whilst coming to terms with his diagnosis, Wade is approached by a private research firm to take part in a scientific experiment that would see him simultaneously cured of cancer and instilled with superpowers; in return, Wade would have to partake in military operations that benefit from his abilities.

Soon after signing-up for the program, Wade learns that he has been duped – what should be a straightforward procedure is instead a series of experiments tantamount to torture. It isn’t until months later, and a poorly-executed escape attempt, that Wade gains his preternatural powers, which include rapid healing and super strength, and it’s with these same abilities that Wade begins his quest for vengeance as his alter-ego Deadpool.

Wade Wilson doesn’t have the most inspired origin story, but he isn’t the most original character either. The anti-hero was conceived to satirise both comic books and superheroes – in particular, the DC Comics villain Slade Wilson, aka Deathstroke – doing so with graphic violence, swearing, risqué humour and fourth-wall breaking. It is for these reasons that the Deadpool comics are among the most popular, and why many pushed for the character’s own feature film.

To appease the many fans of the quip-spouting mutant, and distinguish his movie from the plethora of superhero flicks being shown in theatres, Deadpool has emulated many of the traits held by the comics. It’s an approach which is novel to the superhero genre, but not to the medium – just twelve months earlier, the same studio responsible for this film released Kingsman: The Secret Service, which also contains bloody fight sequences, profanity, smutty jokes and self-aware humour.

While the multiple comparisons with Kingsman ultimately dull the impact of Deadpool, there is much to differentiate the two, such as the latter’s approach to humour. The jokes in Deadpool are many, frequent, juvenile, and quite unsubtly delivered by the titular protagonist, particularly when it comes to breaking the fourth-wall – where a film like Kingsman will merely wink at the camera, Deadpool grabs it by the lens and screams, “SEE WHAT I’M DOING? AREN’T I FUNNY?”

It isn’t. And nor is he, for that matter.

See, the problem with Deadpool, and his self-titled blockbuster, is that his jokes are far from clever, either being a commentary on the film’s shortcomings or a lazy pop-culture reference. His behaviour is reminiscent of that kid from high school who thought himself the world’s greatest comedian, but in reality was nothing more than a nuisance to everyone. More often than not, it’s the supporting characters who provoke the biggest laughs, like cab driver Dopinder (Karan Soni).

Although the temptation is there to liken Deadpool to a Cesspool, truth is that the movie has some things going for it. Reynolds provides Wade Wilson with a hint of compassion, whilst love-interest Vanessa is a well-rounded character who doesn’t succumb to the usual stereotypes. Additionally, the movie plays upon the trend of post-credits stingers by paying homage to one of the most famous end-credit scenes of all-time, one of the few pop-culture throwbacks that this reviewer appreciated.

Deadpool tries very hard to differentiate itself from the many other superhero movies out there, and for that it should be commended; but aside from a likeable supporting cast and the odd fun moment, it has little talents of its own to contribute. Those looking for a witty, well-written spoof are advised to search elsewhere.

2.5 stars

One thought on “Review: Deadpool

  1. I honestly had never thought about the link between Deadpool and Kingsman, but you are absolutely right. I did not dislike Deadpool as much as you did, but I certainly did not appreciate it as much as the general public. I thought it was a good movie that would have been pretty dull without its quirks (which are themselves irregular in quality), because the plot itself is embarrassingly weak.

    Liked by 1 person

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