Deadpool is a fun movie. If you like superhero movies and want to watch something a bit different within the trappings of people in costumes punching things, go see it. That is all you really need to know.
Okay, okay, you’ve twisted my arm I’ll give you a bit more!
Despite the long drawn out history of this movie actually being filmed in the first place. Especially when you look at the false start for the character that was in The X-Men Movie That Shall Not Be Named. Deadpool has come out fully formed; wise-cracking, fourth wall breaking, vulgar humour and intense violence is intact. It is the modern comics Deadpool you sort of love but on the big screen. The only real changes made to the source material are there to serve telling a broader story that tackles Deadpool’s origins. (Because thankfully The X-Men Movie That Shall Not Be Named never happened in this new post Days of Future Past X-Men timeline!) Ryan Reynolds delivers on his promise that this is the character he was born to play and then some beautifully. The costume, characterisation, action, gore, references and much more are spot on. The film also manages fit in with Fox’s other X-Men movies (and possibly the wider Marvel Universe!) in a fun, playful way that proves that the comic trope of just smashing conflicting tones and character types together in the name of fun can work on film.
It is perhaps the most Marvel Studios movie made by a non-Marvel Studios studio with a Marvel licence. (That’s a bit of a head fuck, but hey that’s Hollywood for you!) There is an attention to detail and care for the source material not seen in Fox’s other Marvel movies. The X-Men films are great but they always compromise and just fall short of being truly special, X-Men 2 withstanding obviously. The Fantastic Four movies…..well….you know….suck. Deadpool however, works. Really well. Probably because it is that classic story of Hollywood Exec types saying it will never be a success and leaving the production team to their own devices to a certain extent and then BAM! We get a Deadpool movie that is actually good.
The film strikes a good balance between letting Reynolds/Deadpool be zany and out there with his humour and references while telling a coherent story that keeps things moving. You can tell a lot of love has been poured into making it feel like a Deadpool comic story arc. One of the good ones at least. This is Deadpool making great observational jokes at his surroundings while poking fun at superhero fiction, in particular modern superhero movies. Rather than the rote “Hi I’m Deadpool, look how kooky I am! Spider-Man would never do something like this! Isn’t that funny?! Laugh! Laugh! YOU SHOULD BE LAUGHING!” humour that has turned me off reading various Deadpool series over the years. The film takes the weird comedic core of the modern character and focuses on that while also making him somewhat relatable. Which is odd for a character I have memories of laughing at for fighting Bullseye to a standstill in a meat-suit,
Go read Deadpool Volume 2: Dark Reign and thank me later.
It is full to the brim with references, blink and you’ll miss it jokes and knowing nods to the camera. The post credits scene being the perfect distillation of what makes both the film and the character so playful and fun to watch. (MILD SPOILERS for a joke that encapsulates the tone for the film and how elements of its framing works: Any film that references Ferris Beuller’s Day Off wins all the awards in my book!)
At the end of the day, Deadpool sticks to its guns and puts the character in the centre, telling a simple action story around him that doesn’t get bogged down in things like tesseracts, mutant cures and a superhero’s place in modern society. Deadpool is here to make you laugh at the genre and all it encapsulates in a good way. Along with some dick jokes and other adult related humour thrown in for good measure. Everything around him is there to serve that purpose.
It is not the ultimate deconstruction of the superhero genre that many wanted it to be but it doesn’t have to be. That’s not what Deadpool as a comic is. It is a fun, silly, out there movie that will entertain and make you laugh for a while. That is all it needed to be and it does that wonderfully.