Thanks to some leaked test footage (that Tim Miller definitely didn’t leak) ignited the internet, 20th Century Fox finally gave in and agreed to make an R-Rated Deadpool for a fraction of the cost of your standard superhero movie. A lower budget gave the filmmakers the freedom to make the movie they wanted to make and unleash an anti-hero unlike any we’ve seen before. All the components of an origins story are present and correct, an unlikely hero (sort of) becomes a superhero, there’s a British villain, a heartfelt love story and an unhealthy obsession with Hugh Jackman.
When mercenary Wade Wilson gets a grim diagnosis from his doctor, he’s given just months to live. Despite the support and love of his girlfriend Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), Wade seems to accept his fate and decides ti just enjoy the time he has left. After a chance encounter with a mysterious man who claims he can cure him, Wade joins a secret program (Weapon X) and is bestowed with super powers, ish. Left horribly disfigured and more or less immortal, Wade seeks out the people responsible for his hot new look to restore his pretty face to its former glories. The straightforward plan gets a little complicated as X-Men Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead are trying to recruit him. Oh and his girlfriend gets kidnapped by the bad guys leading to a showdown.
The plot might be simple, and while it does tell an origins story, the script keeps things moving quickly, and Wade doesn’t spend too long mourning his old life. After a plethora of ‘world in danger’ superhero movies, Deadpool’s low key shenanigans are a welcome change of pace from our preconceptions of what the genre can be. To be honest, the plot doesn’t really matter as much as does the movie deliver the meta humour and a worthy incarnation of the character. On those counts Deadpool more than delivers the goods, much like the Jump Street movies, Deadpool’s gag rate comes thick and fast with not all the one liners landing with success. But don’t worry as another joke, or quip or violent outburst is just around the corner.
R-Rated superhero movies are nothing new while no other has reached the same levels of success as Deadpool, we had three Punishers, three Blades, Watchmen and Kick-Ass to name but a few. Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn wrote an inspiring blog about the dangers of the Hollywood machine jumping on the ‘R-rated superhero movies for the sake of it’ bandwagon. There are already a wealth of articles claiming to know the reason for Deadpool’s unexpected massive success, some say it was down to clever marketing, others claim it was down to the rating (which makes no sense as the same people were saying an R-Rated Marvel movie wouldn’t work). In my humble opinion, Deadpool exceeded expectations because it felt fresh to audiences and offered something different within the confines of familiarity.
Unlike the MCU, Deadpool is less bothered about foreshadowing future sequels and just wants to have fun. The first Iron Man laid down some groundwork but ultimately just wanted to have a good time, it also gave us something we hadn’t seen before. The ongoing jibes about not having the budget to include other X-Men, or a proper post credit scene does start to wear thin. The old saying goes that a hero is only as good as its villain, sadly while Ed Skrein can hold his own in a fight, the character is as one dimensional as they come. Ordinarily, these minor quibbles might get in the way of enjoying the movie, but Deadpool is too deliriously entertaining to get hung up on such things.
Perhaps the only disappointment is that for all the potty-mouthed putdowns, nothing comes close to Reynolds’ “cock-juggling thunder cunt” as made famous in Blade Trinity. Deadpool might not reinvent the superhero wheel, it adds some hyper violence and some razor sharp spokes to the bike.