Released in 2016 with Ryan Reynolds once again taking on the role of a superhero or at least a Marvel comic book character the film takes a Marvel film to slightly more mature audience. It does tie in to the X-Men films as it is set in the same universe. The film was directed by Tim Miller, and also stars Morena Baccarin and Ed Skrein plus Stan Lee does his usual Marvel film cameo.
I am not going to say yet again that I am a fan of Ryan Reynolds because every time I do a review of a film he’s is in I spend the majority of the review drooling over him so all I am going to say is…Ryan Reynolds big fan…right moving on.
My experience of the character of Deadpool has been from what I have heard from comic book fans, a few games and an episode of a Spider-Man cartoon. Apparently in the comics Deadpool is fully aware that he is a comic book character so his whole thing is breaking the fourth wall. For those of you who don’t know what that means, it basically is the term used to describe when a character references the fact that they know they are in a movie, game or TV show. Remember when Psycho Mantis read your memory card and moved your controller in Metal Gear Solid?? Fourth Wall break. Or when Wayne spoke directly to the camera in Wayne’s World?? Fourth Wall. Get the idea?? Excellent…so there may be some tentative links to the character in the comics but as I am only going on what I’ve heard I don’t know how the movie relates exactly to the comics.
So as this is the first Deadpool film it is naturally an origin story so how did Wade Williams transform into the Merc [mercenary] with the Mouth??
Read on and I’ll tell you…
The story is mainly told by Deadpool himself during flashbacks, but for the sake of making things a little easier, it will describe what happens in the continuity that it takes place rather than the order in which the film tells it.
Wade Williams (Reynolds, obviously) is a former Special Forces operative that now works as a mercenary in New York City, in a bar he frequents he meets escort Vanessa (Baccarin), and the two become romantically involved. A year later Wade proposes to her, and she accepts. A moment later Wade collapses, and he is informed that he has terminal cancer. Vanessa remains with him, saying they will fight his cancer together but Wade does not want her to watch him slowly die.
He is approached by a man who offers him the chance to join an experimental programme that will cure his cancer. Initially he is sceptical but decides that if it cures him then he and Vanessa can still be together so he leaves her behind and enters the programme. He meets Ajax and Angel Dust, both of whom have been through the programme themselves, and unlocked various powers within themselves. The pair use a serum that will unlock an individual’s mutation but only under severe trauma. Wade is basically tortured by Ajax (whose real name is Francis and Wade mocks him constantly about it) and finally his mutation is unlocked. Wade can heal any injury, this cures his cancer but leaves him disfigured as a side-effect. Wade learns from Francis that the programme is designed to unlock someone’s mutation but only so they can be condition to be slaves to be used by the highest bidder to do their bidding. Wade escapes and attacks Francis but Francis tells him that there is a cure for his disfigurement, Francis is able to get the upper hand whilst Wade is distracted, and is left for dead.
He survives the ordeal and tries to reunite with Vanessa but is too afraid to do so because of his appearance. He decides to track down Francis and get him to cure his disfigurement so he and Vanessa can be together again.
In my Green Lantern review I said that I think Reynolds is desperate to play a comic book character, but the characters that he has played Hannibal King in Blade Trinity and Hal Jordan in Green Lantern did not fit him as an actor. I have been watching Reynolds (on TV not in a weird stalker way) since he was in a sitcom called 2 Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place, and he seems to have a very laid back, funny and charming personality. This comes across in interviews he has done. So he needed to play a comic book character that would allow his own personality to shine through in a way that suited the character. Hannibal King was funny in Blade Trinity but the film itself was pretty poor when you aren’t laughing anymore and Green Lantern was not a good casting for him. However…I think with Deadpool Reynolds has finally found the comic book character that fits him like a glove. It is obvious that Reynolds is having a blast playing the character, and everything he does, just works with the character of the Merc with the Mouth that ridicules Ajax…or Francis…mercilessly.
Morena Baccarin is insanely hot in this film, and she has no problem with showing off that amazing body of hers. As far as her character goes I like her, she and Wade are both messed up in their own ways, him as a former special forces soldier and her as an escort, but they find a way to make their relationship work. Wade proposing to her and her staying with him after he is diagnosed with cancer shows the audience that they are genuinely in love and not just screwing one another.
Ed Skrein is a decent enough bad guy, and his reactions whenever Wade calls him Francis is priceless. I am not exactly clear what his mutation is because he is very strong, and says that he doesn’t feel pain or anything else any longer. Thing is he is impaled at one point, and although he escapes he was stabbed through the chest. I am not doctor…although I have probed my share of people over the years…still I would think that even if you can’t feel pain being stabbed through the chest could still kill you even if you don’t feel it.
This is where I am going to try and link things to the comics…as far as I understand Wade was used in a programme called Weapon X (apologies if that is not right) which combined numerous powers from other mutants into him. Hence “Deadpool” as he is a combination of other mutants powers, including Wolverine’s ability to regenerate. The process drive Wade insane so he is completely unpredictable and it is not ever made especially clear which side of the line he is on…good or bad.
In the film the ability to regenerate is his own mutation and he maintains the same personality that he had before. His motivation for entering the programme and then tracking Francis down again so his disfigurement can be cured is all so he can be with Vanessa. As motivations go that is about as clichéd as you can get so the story is very tired and adds nothing new. We even have the bit when Vanessa is captured by the bad guys and he must rescue her…blah…blah…blah…
Like I said this film is part of the X-Men Universe but I am not sure exactly when it is supposed to take place, even Deadpool comments on the continuity as in this version Colossus is Russian not American. He is therefore not the same person we have seen in the previous X-Men films. Colossus is also trying to recruit Deadpool into the X-Men and indicates that this isn’t the first time Wade has been given the opportunity to join them but we don’t ever see him interacting with the X-Men. When exactly was he approached to join them?? Plus there is a great Fourth Wall break when Wade heads to the X-Mansion to get help to rescue Vanessa from Francis but I will not spoil it.
This film is a 15 and unlike the child friendly films of the past it takes full advantage of its rating. There is plenty of blood soaked action, admittedly it is played more for laughs but there is plenty of violence, and the in-jokes regarding Colossus not being familiar with seeing so much carnage is a great reference to the previous ratings of the other films. Plus as I said Baccarin has no issues with showing off her body is all its amazingly perfect glory…so there is a fair amount of sex and nudity too.
The story is a real negative but it is really just there to give Wade motivation to enter the programme but the thing is there are a hundred other ways that the film could have told his origin story. I am not sure about the continuity either. Now Reynolds played Wade Wilson in X-Men Origins: Wolverine so I am not sure if this is supposed to be the same character, but if it is then what was the thing that Wolverine fought at the end of that film, because apparently that was Deadpool. I have no idea what the canon is and like I said neither has Deadpool himself. Is this the same character as in X-Men Origins: Wolverine?? It seems unlikely and I have heard no one recognises that film as actually being canon anyway despite Hugh Jackman being in it.
Despite the weak story I really enjoyed this film and it is actually only the second film that my skin sack’s friend Gaz and I have ever been and seen together at the cinema and both liked (the other was Dredd). Reynolds has found the comic book character that suits him perfectly and I look forward to seeing other films about the Merc with the Mouth on his own or him popping up in any future X-Men films.
Deadpool is getting a solid Thumbs Up because it is a great film, everyone involved is clearly enjoying themselves and any film in which Baccarin takes her clothes off is always going to score high points from me.
8/10 – The weak story, Wade’s past familiarity with the X-Men and the way he gets his powers are all downsides to the film, however, those are just niggles when compared to everything else I have talked about. If you are a fan of Reynolds, check it out, if you are a fan of comic movies, check it out, if you want to see Morena Baccarin take her clothes off, check it out…you know what…just check it out because you won’t be disappointed