deadpool1The odds of rolling a double six with two die is one in thirty six. Now compared to the astronomical odds of winning the lottery or successfully navigating an asteroid field (apparently 3720 to 1) it’s still quite a feat. So imagine the fear and trepidation of the masses when Ryan Reynolds decided to suit up for the third time after two critically panned displays as the Green Lantern and the Merc with the Mouth the first time around in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

When the most beloved comic hero of the last twenty years with the most rabid of fanboys is getting his own movie the stakes are high, especially when the studio aims for a more adult audience than Disney’s family friendly Marvel films. So does the ‘Pool have what it takes to get Reynolds out of jail free or will he have to pay a hefty fine?

deadpool2Relatively green-behind-the-gills director Tim Miller has a lot of talent and backing to do so.  Miller, whose Blur Studios brought a delightful and funny short animated video Gopher Broke to the attention of the Academy, nominated for best short in 2004, is actually best known for his work on opening sequences for Thor: The Dark World and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and had previously worked on the cult-hit Scott Pilgrim vs the World. Would that grimy, 8-bit humour mesh well with the anarchic off-script styling of Deadpool, the knowing nods to the audience usually seen in Mike Myers films, and the visceral, realistic superpowers and violence last seen in Kick-Ass?

Of course, whilst Ryan Reynolds plays the title character one man alone doesn’t make a film, and the rest of the roles are wonderfully cast and surprisingly fleshed out for a genre which usually places little emphasis on secondary characters unless they have been introduced solely for the prospect of launching later films.

deadpool5Whilst love stories in action movies can feel tacked-on, comic fans are aware many of Deadpool’s greatest battles and adventures have occurred due to his love of a woman, admittedly in those cases his ongoing rivalry with Thanos is caused by their love of Mistress Death. While she has not yet appeared instead the wonderfully talented Morena Baccarin (Firefly, Gotham) plays current love interest Vanessa Carlysle.

A former spec ops soldier turned merc for hire, Wade Wilson’s life is turned around by meeting Vanessa, but after a beautiful year together their bliss is shattered when cancer is found throughout his body.

deadpool3Enter the Recruiter, telling Wade he can be turned into a super soldier, that his cancer can be cured, and not wanting to let Vanessa watch him wither away to nothingness he decides to leave her and go through the treatment whatever the cost. But when do superhero origin stories start in a happy place? With his primary care-giver Ajax (Game of Thrones’ Ed Skrein) a sociopath immune to pain, Wade soon realises it’s not going to go well.

All of this is told in Tarantino style flashbacks interspersed with current action, the audience seeing some terrific action with commentary provided by Wade as he takes time out to address the what is happening as its unfolds. While this could have ended up as a mess, the back and forth is hilarious as Wade attempts to track down Ajax for what he did to him, references are as wonderfully pop-cultural as those employed on Buffy the Vampire Slayer; nothing is sacred and without becoming a parody Wade’s musings still take the genre apart wonderfully.

deadpool4Whilst being headhunted for recruitment to the X-Men by Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) (“yes, wonderful name, Deadpool was a terrible choice can we swap them?”) he riffs on the absence of their more prominent teammates, Wolverine in particular lambasted from start to finish and even the gratuitous cameo by Mr Marvel himself, Stan Lee, made fun of in the opening credits.

This film is clever and funny and can be downright charming and considering the more “serious” Marvel/DC films due out later this year, gives a much-needed second wind for the genre.

Deadpool is on general release now




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