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Monday, 13 June 2016

DVD Of The Week: Deadpool (2016)


Let's get something clear from the start, when Deadpool first appeared in comics I was not a fan.

For me, he was the poster boy for everything wrong with storytelling in that medium during the '90s.

He was created as a throwaway character and should have remained as such.

I never warmed to comic book Deadpool or understood his growing army of acolytes.

That is, until this movie came along.

Even I, as a non-fan, thought the Merc With A Mouth's initial on-screen representation in X-Men Origins: Wolverine was pretty messed up, and Deadpool (the film) wisely ignores that, despite being firmly rooted in the X-Men movie universe.

From its unique opening credits you know you're in for something a bit different.

The plotline of Deadpool is basic (to say the least) and boils down to: cancer-riddled mercenary Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) gets tortured and turned into the superpowered, but butt-ugly, anti-hero Deadpool; Wade tracks down the mutant mad scientist responsible, Ajax (Ed Skrein); Ajax kidnaps the love of Wade's life, Vanessa (Morena Baccarin); and, finally, Wade and Ajax fight.

But, honestly, that's not really the point.

Deadpool is hella funny... in a very crass, foul-mouthed, and violent way. Yet surprisingly clever.

Although the Wade/Vanessa romantic sub-plot is key to moving things forward, don't expect any twists or turns along the way. This is linear, laser-focused, storytelling at its finest.

Despite the presence of a couple of the X-Men - and even a visit to Xavier's School For Gifted Youngsters -  and the mandatory Stan Lee cameo, this is most certainly not your run-of-the-mill superhero outing, and, as a change of pace, it makes a welcome addition to the growing genre.

As per the comic books, Deadpool also frequently breaks the fourth wall - not only addressing the audience, but also acknowledging that he's a character in a film so he can poke fun at the X-Men movie franchise as well as Ryan Reynold's much maligned outing as Green Lantern.

The first hour of this 103 minute film is essentially Deadpool's backstory, intercut with a particularly bloody confrontation between Deadpool and a convoy of Ajax's men (a significant percentage of this action you will have seen in the various trailers ahead of the film's cinematic release in February), before the remainder of the story kicks in and everybody heads towards the final big showdown.

On his self-appointed mission, Wade is aided and abetted by a host of interesting supporting characters, such as his old friend, the barman Weasel (TJ Miller), taxi driver Dopinder (Karan Soni), aged flatmate Blind Al (Leslie Uggams), and, representing the X-Men, Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand).

Hopefully, the lesson other filmmakers - and studios - will take from the runaway success of Deadpool is not that it's chock full of f-bombs, sex jokes, and graphic violence, but that it stays true to its source material in character and tone... and that's why it works.

Because, despite all that, Deadpool is most certainly not grim and gritty, even though it goes to some dark places at times.

Instead, with its heightened sense of reality, it projects the stylised feel of an X-Men movie... just a rather peculiar one.

A big grinning thumbs up to Ryan Reynolds, director Tim Miller, and writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, for not only making me laugh a lot but also for getting me to like a character I still can't stand in the comics that spawned him.

Special mention also for the kick-ass soundtrack that truly complements the many moods of the movie.

2 comments:

  1. Agree with every word you wrote. I was determined not to see this movie because, well, Rob Liefield created him. What more do I need to say? But I couldn't ignore the number of people telling me what a great movie it was. And they were right!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was pleasantly surprised last night when Rachel - who usually has no interest in my superhero films - said she'd like to watch this sometime!

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