Deceived, taken away from his woman and experimented on to the point of physical deformity, Wade Wilson, the mercenary known as Deadpool, now seeks bloody revenge on those that did the experimenting.
Dredd was a comicbook film that had balls enough to aim itself at an older audience than what is generally aimed at with these sorts of films, and despite its quality suffered for it at the box office; so it came as something of a surprise when Fox (known more for messing up superhero franchises than being bold with them) announced that their Deadpool film, featuring a character that, if known by the general public at all, was from the horrendous interpretation in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, was to be a hard R rating (15 or 18 here in the UK).
Facing three major challenges before they even got started, the makers had to a) create awareness of the fan-favourite character, b) do him justice and c) circumnavigate studio interference in doing so.
With Ryan Reynolds as figurehead, the production managed to tackle all these issues with gusto. Doing the character justice meant bringing on a savvy writing team and pushing for a higher rating, both of which could only be achieved through the lack of studio interference, so all this hinged on one decision; write a film that could be made for significantly less than the average superhero movie. So, in a time when most superhero films are budgeted at £150,000,000 minimum, Deadpool was made for an estimated £65,000,000. Many birds killed with one stone.
With just awareness left to be build, the Deadpool team put together a marketing scheme that outdid even Guardians of the Galaxy for creating familiarity and good will, and outstripped just about everything else for sheer exposure. Could the final film ever live up to the marketing?
Damn straight, and in such a carefree manner that in some aspects it’ll surpass your expectations.
Its relative lower budget IS evident, mainly in the lack of massively apocalyptic events, but as is so often the case, this has forced the makers to be impressive in more creative ways while delivering a smaller, more personal film.
Narratively and structurally Deadpool is more akin to Zombieland than any superhero movie, even down to the brilliant opening credits (best opening credits on any comic adaptation since Watchmen), which isn’t surprising in light of the fact that the writers of Deadpool are in fact one in the same as the writers of Zombieland.
The story itself is very streamlined, but is presented in a way that keeps it interesting and pacey, delivering action and laughs as frequently as possible while not being afraid to throw in something serious/tragic to aid in the development of a character that could so easily have been one-note.
In today’s climate of superhero cinema it’s actually a breath of fresh air to have a film in which the main character’s struggle, and the outcome of which, doesn’t have world shaping consequences. It’s just a dude taking care of his own business.
Ryan Reynolds is no stranger to characters that are quippy to the point of annoyance, but in this case it’s fully intentional and perfectly in keeping with the spirit of the character, and while this is as amusing as you’d hoped it would be, the funnier material comes from a place of more abstract and edgy humour that is a little harder to define and, as far as language and gratuitous blood-letting goes, beyond anything that Marvel Comics would dare publish (barring Deadpool Max).
Combining the character humour and development of Joe Kelly and the absurdist-meta of Daniel Way (two of the best writers of the Deadpool comic, in this reviewers opinion in the very least), and adding an edge that this particular character can manage better than most, this could well be the definitive version of Deadpool.
First time director, Tim Miller, previously a digital FX specialist, has put himself on the map in a big way, and while the smallish budget does show at times, he stretched it impressively (even considering that there’s a fully CG character throughout a decent portion of the film) creating well thought out, funny and sometimes epic action-set-pieces. The action isn’t trailblazing, but its presentation is absolutely unique.
The action besides, Deadpool is a great looking, wittily constructed film that does its director credit enough to be described as near pitch perfect, at least insofar as a risky character being made by a dubious studio on a medium budget by a first time director can be pitch perfect; but as with Super, The Shawshank Redemption, The Usual Suspects and Warrior, it’s hard to imagine Deadpool being any more enjoyable if any of the elements that has gone into it had been different, be it an increased budget or a more experienced director.
Marvel Studios and Warner Bros had better be on top form to be in the running for best superhero film this year.