An action film so madly and manic and full of mutants and Mercs that it takes TWO reviews to do it justice. Mike Leeder gives his view of Deadpool!
Deadpool: [raises his hands] WAIT! You may be wondering why the red suit. Well, that’s so bad guys don’t see me bleed.
[Points at a thug on the left]
Deadpool: This guy’s got the right idea… He wore the brown pants!
Twenty-five years after he made his debut in #98 of New Mutants, – and seven years after his ‘mishandling’ in X-Men Origins: Wolverine – everybody’s favourite ‘Merc with a Mouth’, Deadpool hits the screen in the potty-mouthed, adults only, high octane, high impact, live-action comic book adaptation we’ve all been waiting for! Can Ryan Reynolds redeem himself as a comic book hero after the bombs that were RIPD and Green Lantern, throwing caution to the wind and after showing proof of being over the age of 18 (Yes folks this is an Adults-Only comic book adaptation!)
The film follows the misadventures of Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) a low level enforcer who finds true love with Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), only to be diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer on the night he proposes to her. A mysterious recruiter offers Wade a chance for salvation, an experimental cure for cancer that will not only cure him but make him into something more than human.
With no other choice, he accepts the offer but finds himself in the hands of Ajax/Francis Freeman (Ed Skrein) and Angel Dust (Gina Carano) who inject him with a special serum that will trigger mutation at a time of extreme stress. After weeks of torture, the mutation begins triggering an incredible healing factor and physical prowess but severely disfiguring his face and skin in the process. He escapes, intending to track down Francis who claims he could cure him. After realising he can not face Vanessa looking the way he does and on the advice of his best friend Weasel, he becomes a masked vigilante named Captain Deadpool! He begins hunting own Francis and taking down the organisation that made him. Deadpool finally tracks down Francis and battles his way through various thugs before facing off with Francis, only to be interrupted by the arrival of X-Men Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead who want him to tone down his behaviour and language and join the X-Men.
When Vanessa is held hostage by Francis and his men, Deadpool reluctantly teams up with Colossus and Negasonic for a final face off with Francis, Angel and a small army of thugs for a final battle, that may well see one man finally become a hero…or perhaps not!
What can I say but… Deadpool rocks! As a good friend artist and writer Jon Brown summed it up, “…its a true Valentine movie for all the comic book fans!” Forget the mishandling of the character in the first Wolverine movie, something that the movie references itself, forget your misgivings of Ryan Reynolds as a comic book hero in Green Lantern and don’t think that the trailers and hype have all been for nothing. Rarely have I enjoyed a movie so much on so many levels. It’s incredibly well made, with great performances by all the cast, great action sequences that combine really good physical stuntwork and CGI trickery and enhancements. It’s very, very funny and – Yes – it’s ‘meta‘ to the point of sheer comic book fan insanity… but without any of the ‘wink wink look we’re making a comic book reference coz we’re cool‘. Its not the shiny but empty promise of Scott Pilgrim, this is Spaced on comic book crack with added kung fu and gun fu!
From the sly digs at its own cast and crew, the best Stan Lee cameo ever, digs at the various incarnations of Professor X, a shout-out for Alien 3, Hugh Jackman impersonations, insane credit sequences for both the opening and closing credits ( which include descriptions of the actors rather than their names as seen from Deadpool‘s perspective), people getting ‘special thanks (with tongue!)” and some insane reworking of classic 70s & 80s themes in way that works better than Guardians of the Galaxy use of music… it works. There’s also a Ferris Bueller styled end-credits scene that makes fun of the normal Marvel movie end credit codas.
Ryan Reynolds is in fine form as the character… it’s as if Van Wilder and Hannibal King decided to combine to become a costumed superhero and happily pokes fun at everything and everybody including himself throughout the movie. He’s in incredible physical shape too for the film and pulls off some nice action beats with effective doubling by real and CGI stuntmen throughout the course of the film.
Morena Baccarin plays Vanessa, the street level version of the Companion she played in Firefly, and you can completely understand why Reynolds would fall in love with her and do anything to get her back. Ed Skrein from Game of Thrones makes a suitably menacing cockney villain as Ajax…don’t call him Francis! Playing Weasel, the longtime friend and confidante of Wade Wilson and Deadpool is T.J. Miller (best known for his role in Transformers: Age of Extinction and as the voice of the cameraman from Cloverfield) and proves to be a great comic foil, assuring the transformed Wade Wilson that wearing a mask would really be a good thing to do but explaining that won’t join him on the road to vengeance.
Former MMA fighter Gina Carano makes a suitably memorable villain as Angel Dust, Ajax’s Number 2 and who boasts superhuman levels of strength and speed. It’s a good role for her – she made a great debut in Haywire, and has given strong supporting turns in Extraction and Heist, since. She will soon be seen in Kickboxer: Vengeance. Brianna Hidlebrand makes a nice debut as teenage X-Man Negasonic Teenage Warhead, a character who gets to give Deadpool as good as he gets verbally. Stefan Kapicc makes a great CGI’d Colossus, a guy who just wants Deadpool to man up and become the soft-spoken superhero and X-Man he knows he could be! (Riiiiight) Karan Soni – from Safety Not Guaranteed – gives a fun turn as Dopinder the Taxi Driver who seeks some inappropriate love advice from Deadpool.
Tim Miller shows huge promise as first time feature director, previously working in special effects. He and the writers, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, closely base the characters created by Rob Liefied and Fabian Niceieza and they deserve a round of chimi-changas on all of us along with the obvious respect to Ryan Reynolds for putting so much effort into this. There’s good work too from Second Unit Director and Stunt Cordinator Robert Alonzo who handles the action for the movie. Alonzo’s previous credits include work on everything from Ultraviolet, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Terminator 3 and Jack Reacher. But there’s major kudos to Marvel and Twentieth Century Fox letting the project come into fruition. Its’ a hard character and concept to deliver properly… a wrong step and it would have been a terrible misfire. Thankfully, it delivers on all levels and two months into 2016, this has my thumbs up as Best Movie of the Year!
The character was created by writer Fabian Nicieza and artist/writer Rob Liefeld, the character first appeared as a supervillain in The New Mutants, before transitioning into the ultimate anti-hero. Deadpool was formerly Wade Wilson, and is a disfigured and mentally unstable mercenary with accelerated healing factor and pysical prowess. He is widely known as the “Merc with a Mouth” because of his talkative manner and wisecracks, as well as his tendency to address the readers and audiene directly, breaking the fourth wall whenever possible, which is used for comedic and story-telling
Deadpool is totally aware that he is a fictional comic book character, and frequently breaks the fourth wall and often has conversations with his two internal monolgues, which are shown by caption boxes in the panels. It has been revealed over the years that Doctor Bong, a foe of Howard the Duck is the voice of logic that appear in yellow captions while Madcap, a foe of Captain America is the psychotic voice which appears in white captions.
Deadpool has also killed much of the Marvel Universe at various times, and even threatened the writers and artists who created him, and the readership of his own books.
There are also several alternate versions of the character, including Lady Deadpool, Major Wade Wilson (a sane but fascist take on the character) and the Dead Pool Kid aka Kiddypool a cowboy version of the character, as well as Gwenpool which began as a throwaway variant cover in a series of 20 takes on Spiderman’s tragic love interest Gwen Stacey re-imagined as various Marvel characters.
Deadpool began his journey to the big screen in 2004 when New Line Cinema started development on the project, but it was put into turnaround and then 20th Century Fox became interested in the project, in 2009 the character in a bastardized form played by Ryan Reynolds and Scott Adkins made a cameo in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. A 3 minute test reel pitch of the character – far more in tune with the comic book version was shot in 2012, possibly with Reynolds an active force behind it – but the studio still didn’t go for it. In August 2014, the footage was ‘accidentally’ released to the public and based on the overwhelming positive response, production was green-lit with much of the test footage being recreated for the film.