15 – 108mins – 2016
THE TOXIC-TONGUED AVENGER
Following the damp squib that was last years’ tonally-unstable Fantastic Four reboot, 20th Century Fox have bounced back from their Marvel mire in spectacular fashion courtesy of director Tim Miller’s long-anticipated big screen adaptation of Fabian Nicieza and Rob Liefeld’s super-offensive masked antihero Deadpool.
The mirror image of Chris Evans’ goody two shoes Cap, spurned and disfigured former cancer-suffering mercenary Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) dons a mask to become the titular Captain Controversy and wage an un-civil war on mutant-torturing scientist Francis “Ajax” Freeman (Ed The Transporter: Reloaded Skrein) while simultaneously dodging commitment to the X-Men and using them to win the day and save his kidnapped ex (Morena Baccarin).
Refreshingly distinctive and self-aware from the tongue-in-cheek opening credits (which brandish the cast and crew as “asshats”), Deadpool is a whirlwind barrage of distasteful quips, ultra-violence, gratuitous sexualisation and outrageous injuries, contained in a shiny, meta, self-deprecating wrapper (“McAvoy or Stewart? This continuity is so confusing!”).
Prostitutes, cancer-patients, the disfigured, burns victims, the blind – everyone (including the MCU itself) is ripped a new arsehole in screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick’s rapid-fire potty-mouthed script overflowing with foul-but-funny barbs and witticisms.
There’s a cocky charm to it all, to an extent that the barrage of potentially grim insults don’t sting. This is thanks in no small part to Ryan Reynold’s likeability as the self-confessed “testicles with teeth” and he nails this sour superhero second time around, following a non-sequitur appearance in 2009 misstep X-Men Orgins: Wolverine.
Wade Wilson is such a larger-than-life personality that you don’t even mind that the X-Men seen on screen – Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) – are far from household names. Frequent fourth-wall-breaking digs (“You’re waiting for a sting, with a Sam Jackson cameo, but the budget didn’t stretch that far”) also work in the film’s favour.
R-rated in the US, this messy, NSFW shit-storm somehow avoided an “18” in the UK, perhaps due to the O.T.T. comic book nature of even the most gruesome fight sequences and injuries (kebab-skewering, beheadings, wobbly limbs) which stylishly diminishes the grit and replaces it with wit.
Comic book characters trading cloyingly non-diagetic yuks may bring to mind the camp n’ colourful kiddified neon nightmare that is Batman & Robin, but fear ye not, for Deadpool is perfectly-pitched, intelligently scripted and bucketloads of adult-only fun with a real mass appeal and in-your-face soundtrack to match its slick n’ spunky attitude.
Crisp high five!