Better known as a writer and visual effects maestro, Deadpool is Tim Miller's debut effort as a Director and he couldn't have created a more fun, spectacular and entertaining first feature film! Deadpool was one of my favourite films of 2016 and hence this one off blog review and love in of a truly brilliant film.
"I may be super. But I'm no hero"
From the opening credits onward you know you're in for a thrill ride of a film and one that has been lovingly (and brilliantly crafted) but crucially doesn't take itself too seriously with a constant barrage of self referential gags, one liners, jibes and pop culture references aimed in every direction. Deadpool, the eighth instalment of the hugely successful X Men franchise, was one of my film's of the year for 2016 with it's anarchic anti hero riffing his way through a series of spectacular set pieces, nabbing bad guys and breaking the fourth wall between the film and us as the audience. With this being "Some Douchebag's Movie" as the film's opening credit, I'll commence my love in of this film in the same manner as the film and introduce the overpaid idiots that created such a joyous film for us all to enjoy:
"God's Perfect Idiot" or Ryan Reynolds as the titular anti hero of the film "Deadpool". Just two short years ago and before adopting the red spandex costume he was simply "Wade", a mercenary working out of St Margaret's, a school turned bar for renegade mercenaries seeking action. What happens in the intervening two years would venture into spoiler territory but Deadpool is born via gene mutation whilst losing none of Wade's scatter gun, no off switch approach and constant stream of gags and self deprecating one liners at himself. Wade has however lost two vital components to his life, his love and fiance Vanessa as well as his dashing good looks and he's on a revenge mission to mete out justice to the man who effectively deprived him of both. He can't live without the love of his life and he certainly can't live with the way he looks beneath the spandex mask as "Looks are everything. Have you ever heard David Beckham speak?!". He hasn't though lost his appetite for jokes and sardonic humour and has now mutated into an almost impregnable fighting machine of the X Men fold but is crucially and self titled an anti hero rather than his X Men cousins. Drinker of "blow jobs" in St Margaret's and a massive fan of Wham!
Although self deprecating in the film's script at his own acting talent, this is Ryan Reynolds at his very best and a role he has clearly lovingly adopted and made his own.
"A Hot Chick" or Morena Baccarin as "Vanessa". Popularly known for her excellent television roles in Homeland and Gotham, Baccarin is outstanding here as the love of Wade's life but don't underestimate her in St Margaret's or plan a date with her on "World Women's Day". It may make you wince!
"A British Villain" or Ed Skrein as "Francis" or indeed his X Men name "Ajax". In only his 9th feature film outing, Skrein is superb as the loquacious and smiling assassin. Mutated and impervious to pain, his set piece battles with Deadpool are a magnificent highlight of the film.
"The Comic Relief" or TJ Miller as "Weasel". The owner of the St Margaret's Bar for Mercenaries, Weasel is Deadpool's best friend and almost equal in the gag stakes as quite literally the comic relief of the film and brilliantly played by TJ Miller. Although his best friend, he can't help but rip it out of him with the especially obtuse "You look like Freddie Kruger fucked a topographical map of Utah!".
"A Moody Teen" or Brianna Hildebrand as "Negasonic Teenage Warhead". A teenage X Men trainee with the ability to fire atomic warheads! This doesn't of course stop Deadpool from re-naming her "Sinead O'Connor" or "Ripley From Alien 3".
"A CGI Character" or the voice of Stefan Kapicic as "Colossus" an X Man covered from head to toe in steel, as Deadpool often finds to his cost!
"Gratuitous Cameo" or the ever present Stan Lee in another of his famous cameos in the films he helped create via the stories and characters he co-wrote from as long ago as the 1940's.
Numerous further cameos abound in the film with the highlights being Gina Carano as Ajax's match stick fixated mutant assistant "Angel Dust", Jed Rees as "Recruiter" or renamed "Agent Smith" for his likeness to The Matrix character in yet another of the films reverential nods to films of past and present, Leslie Uggams is superb as Deadpool's roommate "Blind Al" and Karan Soni really stands out in his hilarious cameo role of vengeful taxi driver "Dopinder". However, there remains one further character to note from the film's initial credits, and this falls to the Director himself.
"An overpaid tool" Tim, along with the two primary screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick have created a stunning film full of wit and invention, verve and visceral special/visual effects that is a joy to watch every single time. Deadpool has clearly been lovingly and reverently created by an enthusiastic first time Director and clearly with an eye on the detail of the film's anti hero as well as ensuring the film (and characters) don't take themselves too seriously in the process. The film is littered with in jokes, one line gags and pop culture references spanning music, television and film as well as poking fun at their very reason for being, the X Men franchise as a whole. The fourth wall with the audience is broken on far too many occasions to mention, even a fourth wall break inside a fourth wall break as Deadpool sardonically points out to us, the incredulous and smiling audience. I continually found Deadpool to be funny, entertaining, a real thrill ride but even more importantly, a refreshing take on the X Men/Marvel Cinematic Universe. I am writing this some months after it's initial release in 2016 and just days after seeing "Logan", another in the X Men franchise and another refreshing take on the series for very different reasons. Deadpool really plays to it's strengths and indeed revels in them: A titular anti hero that we as an audience root for completely whilst cartoonishly booing the smiling, effervescent villain. The interplay between Deadpool and Weasel is pitched perfectly as two old friends riffing on each other and we yearn for the playful lovers to be reunited in their matching Christmas jumpers! For Deadpool is very much a love story and also a "Horror Story" as our anti hero is quick to remind us in yet another breaking of the fourth wall but as we see Wade and Vanessa's love story quickly (and brilliantly) encapsulated in a three minute montage backed by Neil Sedaka's "Calendar Girl", we as the audience can't help but smile and wish the young lovers on their merry way. The musical choices in the film are another constituent part that never fails to amuse or please me on repeated viewings with numerous brilliant songs book ended by "Angel of the Morning" and "Careless Whisper" by Wham! Obviously!
Deadpool is 108 minutes of brilliantly realised action sequences, often captured in Matrix style slow motion set against a non linear narrative which is often spliced into the aforementioned sequences. Fourth wall breaks direct to camera, gags aplenty and all wrapped into a love story of an anti hero seeking revenge on a smiling assassin with the help of a couple of cast offs that the X Men movies couldn't be bothered to use! Sarcasm aside, I adore Deadpool and a year on from it's initial release it remains one of my favourite films of recent times which I heartily recommend if you haven't already seen it. If you have, go watch this gem again!