Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Deadpool

A former Special Forces operative turned mercenary is subjected to a rogue experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers, adopting the alter ego Deadpool.


After a BRILLIANT marketing campaign that set some pretty high expectations, the wait is finally over. The timing of things is perfect, especially with the superheroes overload we are getting lately. I'm not complaining. We like comic book movies, they're fun, but even the most hard core comic book fan can tell you that right now we are oversaturated . Some of them are really good and then we have the Fantastic Four. I was blown away by this film, I loved every minute of it. Coming from someone who didn't know much about Deadpool character, it surprised me in so many ways. It sure as hell beats Kick-Ass and is many, many cuts above Green Lantern. This offshoot of the X-Men series feels like a nasty child next to the shiny delegations of the MCU, as represented by Disney's Avengers franchise and Sony's not-so-amazing Spider Man. This wholesome "reboot" pulls off that postmodern trick of getting away with formulas and cliches simply by pointing them out. Deadpool knows what world its in and since it exists within this world, the movie is fully aware of it: self-aware in every way and self-referential. It completely breaks the fourth wall, with its main character looking at the audience and stating something that we are already thinking about in today state of comic book films, this is beautiful. 


Let's talk about this, as it's easy - especially nowadays - to watch a comic book film and just go like "OMG! There's so much action and cool stuff, him punching things really hard, I loved it!" Thats' not what I loved the most about. It's the script. The script is extremely funny. It's a smart structure, one that really sidesteps the major issue with origin stories: the suited up main attraction being mostly absent for the first hour or so. Plus, Wolverine or Superman require something interesting to do - for the most part - but what Deadpool is up to here is less important than the fuss he makes about it and the film still is quite entertaining (a fight, a kidnapping, a rescue attempt and roll credits). 


For years, Hollywood hasn't known what to do with this "Sexiest Man Alive" and his caustic charm. At least in this film they new exactly how to use Ryan Reynolds: an actor whose smooth leading good looking man roles have long disguised one of the sharpest funnyman in the business; as fans of The Proposal, Definitely, Maybe and Just Friends attest. Here he truly has his role of a lifetime, with his mad energy fuelling the film and his likable almost Clooneyesque goofiness. It's not the kind of star profile that immediately screams "blockbuster" and Reynolds first appearance as Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) offered sadly little hint of what he could do with the role. Indeed, this film function as a star vehicle for him, demolishing his physical beauty - a small price to pay when an actor's tongue is this gloriously sharp. Though, even with a face that's been horrifically shattered into what his friend likens to the "offspring of an avocado that had sex with an older avocado", Ryan Reynolds and his character are a blast of laughing. Giving all these self-referential potty talk a delirious comic momentum. 


He's at his best as Deadpool, nailing snappy jokes and slaying one liners; weirdly similar to his cousin Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man but with more sugar in the mix. Reynolds genuinely is fun and he seems to enjoy giving the chance to his chimichanga-loving hero the main stage he deserves. His love story with Vanessa (starring Morena Baccarin) doesn't appear like a plot devices at all. They have good chemistry that sells the love story even more, they feel like a real couple who really enjoys each other. Though Ed Skrein does a far better imitation of Jason Statham as this British badass than he managed in The Transporter Refueled, he doesn't look or sound like a proper villain. He looks more like the villain henchman. In fact, that "British villain" joke in the opening titles is misleading. The Brit in question would usually be some well-spoken, mature UK born male, someone like McKellen, Stewart or the much missed Alan Rickman - I won't spoil it but the opening credits sequence features what might be described as an honest cast list.          


Deadpool is at its best in its moments of meta-humour - wondering whether it will be James McAvoy or Patrick Stewart in charge at the X-Mansion. It even confirms the hall-of-fame status of Richard Curtis's "I'm just a girl standing in front of boy..." line from Notting Hill. This humour was present in the original Deadpool  comic books written by Fabien Nicieza and artist/writer Rob Liefeld; here screenwriters R.Reese and P.Wernick doing much wittier work than Zombieland or G.I. Joe: Retaliation, stay true to the same spirit. Lastly, this movie is extremely fast paced, there's not a single dull moment, no shaky cam, no over abundance of cut, every shot looks clear and when there's CGI; it's incorporated very well into the movie (Colossus) and used as a tool serving the visuals. With the superhero genre showing no signs of slowing down, Deadpool is a refreshing break from the established norm. 


Overall Miller and Reynolds bring it all together, not only making something hilarious, thrilling and fun but also making Deadpool one of the most satisfying super-antihero movie. It might not be a cutting-edge comedy, but it is a cutting-edge Marvel movie and right now that's saying something. This love story/ horror movie/ superhero movie is as grotesquely dirty, bizarre and jaw-droopingly violent as it wants to be. For what it needed to be it was awesome and far better. Exactly what it should have been. An "innocent pleasure".

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