Deadpool Review

Deadpool

I’ll admit it. I could have very easily been labelled a comic book geek back in my day.

But times have changed, as no doubt have the entry level requirements to qualify for geekdom.

The screens, both silver and TV, are awash with Marvel and DC related franchises, the appeal has been broadened and high levels of geekiness are surely harder to attain than ever.

It is with this background that I will admit to my limited prior knowledge of the much-beloved character known as Deadpool.

Up until now, I had thought Deadpool was a Dirty Harry movie from the eighties. The current screen offering bears no relation, apart from a great Liam Neeson reference.

What I do know is that Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) has appeared on our screens before and was met with a pretty lukewarm reaction in the first standalone Wolverine film.

In a rarity, studios have re-launched the character’s cinematic career with the same actor in the role.

Deadpool tells the story of Wade Wilson’s transformation into the samurai-sword-wielding, gun-toting, super-anti-hero of the same name.

Wade is a wisecracking mercenary who falls in love with stripper Vanessa (Morena Baccarin). All is going swimmingly until Wade is diagnosed with cancer, which is when a mysterious stranger advises Wade that his illness can be cured.

All does not go to plan, and Wade emerges from the procedure as a mutant with self-healing abilities and a grudge to settle against the villainous Ajax (Ed Skrein).

Also known as Francis.

I can’t attest to the movie’s fidelity to its comic book roots, but as screen fare goes Deadpool is highly entertaining, if self-knowingly juvenile and boundary-pushing in the taste stakes.

The violence is over the top, the humour is politically incorrect and the pop culture references are bursting at the seams.

Reynolds is having a lot of fun with his role with welcome support from a variety of colourful characters such as Weasel (T J Miller) and Blind Al (Leslie Uggams), not to mention one or two X-men.

Skrein is nasty as Ajax but lacks enough screen presence in the role to match Deadpool himself. Help is at hand from Gina Carano who plays Angel Dust, Ajax’s matchstick-chomping, silent-but-deadly henchwoman.

Is Deadpool entertaining? Yes, and darkly funny.

But is it as anarchic as it wants to be? Not really.

Right from the inventive opening credits sequence, Deadpool sets out its stall as a film that doesn’t want to play by the rules: the fourth wall is non-existent, never mind broken, and clichéd plot points are derided by the characters onscreen. Which doesn’t exactly forgive the fact that said plot points occur.

As it unfolds, and possibly against its own will, the film ends up following a very familiar trajectory for any origin story, right up to its explosive hero-saves-the-love-interest-from-the-villain climax.

Deadpool is an entertaining jaunt that delivers a character we’ll see on screen for years to come, but it’s not as rebellious as it thinks it is.

Conor Brennan

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