Deadpool is the name of a Marvel Comic's antihero who has remained a fan favourite among comic book nerds for over 20 years. The character first appeared in The New Mutants #98 which was published in February of 1991. Famous for his ability to regenerate, his acerbic wisecracking sense of humour and the ability to break the fourth wall (he speaks to the audience), Deadpool is essentially the Bugs Bunny of the X-Men universe. FOX previously tried to include Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine but failed miserably, mainly because they saw fit to sew his mouth shut thus eliminating one of the character's most popular features.
Stories featuring Deadpool touched the lives of many people including Ryan Reynolds, a hardcore fan who went on to star in the film adaptation comic, which we are reviewing here. The development of the current Deadpool film started in 2004, and it took 12 years to properly bring this most popular comic book antihero to the big screen.
The film tells the story of Wade Wilson, an ex-special forces soldier and mercenary who, after being stricken with cancer, enters into a secret government program which he hopes will cure him of his disease. Instead of being a cure, however, the treatment gives him super powers with the unfortunate side effect of distorting his features so that he becomes hideously ugly. The remainder of the movie focuses on his transformation into Deadpool and his attempts to find the man who experimented on him in order to restore his previously handsome features.
Ryan Reynolds is cast as Deadpool. He is best known for his roles as the womanizing VanWilder in the movie of the same name, and Woman in Gold in which he co-starred with Helen Mirren. His role in Green Lantern was not memorable, but he shone as the magnificently sarcastic and arrogant character of Monty in the independent comedy Waiting.
Morena Baccarin plays Vanessa, the love of Wade Wilson's life. Baccarin is most famous for her role as Inara, the beautiful Companion in Joss Whedon's Firefly. Her role in Deadpool is underwritten, but she provides a more than adequate female counterpart to Reynold's Deadpool.
Also featured in the cast are the comedian T.J. Miller (Silicon Valley, Family Guy, Big Hero 6) who plays Deadpool's sidekick Weasel, and Ed Skrein as Ajax, the film's villain. Both are excellent.
The greatest flaw in this movie is the script. It was written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick who previously earned film kudos with Zombieland, and then failed to amaze with GI Joe Retaliation and Dinosaur. At first glance this script appears excellent with dialogue that crackles with enough comic book related humour to keep Deadpool's fan base spectacularly happy, but the truth is that the film is very much of its time and will age badly. A large number of the jokes may not have any lasting impact. References to Hugh Jackman, for example, are destined to fall flat when Mr. Jackman exits the role of Woverine and goes on to bigger and better things. There are also many references to 1980s pop culture including shout-outs to the band Wham and the horrible animé cartoon Voltron which a large portion of the audience will not understand.
It has to be said, however, that at this point in time Deadpool is still a cracking good movie. So see it at once.