After years of development and months of one of the most ambitious, in-your-face advertising campaigns the world of cinema has ever seen, if would have been a real anticlimax if Deadpool had been terrible. Or, even worse, if it had been blah. Thankfully, it’s actually pretty good.
However, though it doesn’t disappoint it also doesn’t defy expectations. It deviates from the regular “superhero movie formula”, as they say, but so did all the trailers. If you’ve seen the trailers, you already know what Deadpool’s deal is, and not much surprises as a result. That isn’t to say the story is predictable. It’s just that nothing happens here that wouldn’t happen in the comics.
One of the film’s most unsurprising elements is how wonderful Ryan Reynolds. Ever since that bit of test footage in 2014, it was almost a given that he would be wonderful, but it’s good to have confirmation. He’s doesn’t truly transform into Deadpool until he puts the suit on but his suitless Wade Wilson is also excellent, which is great because he spends quite a lot of the film out of it. He’s sleazy but sweet, awful but charismatic. He’s not really an anti-hero like he’s often described. He’s more of a criminal who doesn’t mind wreaking havoc, killing people and causing pain as long as his loved ones are safe and his face looks good. But Reynolds is only one of the stars in the sparkly Deadpool sky. TJ Miller, for example, is amazing as Wade’s best friend Weasel. His deadpan delivery and blank expressions make it difficult to tell if Miller is secretly one of the best actors of his generation or if he just genuinely has no soul.
Something that is surprising is how little a few of the trailers’ main players are actually in the film. Besides the final battle and a couple of tiddly scenes earlier on, neither Colossus (Stefan Kapičić) nor Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) have much to do. Deadpool looked like it was going to redefine the genre in the sense that it seemed to feature a lot more women than we’re used to from male-led comic book solo movies. Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), Negasonic, Angel Dust (Gina Carano) and Blind Al (Leslie Uggams) all looked ready to step up to the forefront. As it turns out, only Vanessa, Wade’s fiancée, has a storyline of her own. Blind Al is amusing and mutant Negasonic has awesome powers, but neither of them really do anything. They’re just there to flesh out the cast. Hopefully that will change for the sequel, or, in an ideal world, Negasonic’s future spinoff series. Think of the children, 20th Century Fox. The children would want this.
Aesthetically, Deadpool is stunning, or as stunning as a film of this subgenre can be. There aren’t any artistic, sweeping shots through the wilderness, but there are explosions and fire and oversized structures falling down all over the place. The fact that Deadpool has the ability to recover from disembowelment and grow back limbs also makes room for a lot of weird but beautiful creativity. Seriously. Watch out for that shit.
Most importantly of all, the film is bloody hilarious. The gags start during the opening credits (which are actually truly spectacular) and don’t stop until the end. Occasionally a joke will feel misplaced or misjudged, or it will be difficult to tell if you’re just laughing because everyone else is, but on the whole the jokes are relentless and infectious and they cover the entire joke spectrum: satire, meta jokes, dick jokes, visual jokes… You name it, it’s in there. However, there’s not that much underneath the humour. The laughs come hard and often, but they’re also pretty hollow. If it wasn’t funny as hell, Deadpool probably wouldn’t be that good. But who cares? The same was true of the comics, and if you like the comics, chances are you’re going to like the shit out of this.
Watch our Deadpool video review below: