Deadpool – a spoiler free review

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Ryan Reynolds IS Deadpool

It’s true, I saw it in the credits of the Deadpool movie. Of course, Ryan Reynolds is actually a whole bunch of characters – he’s been in quite a few movies and tv shows you know. If you’re not familiar with Deadpool but you know your Ryan Reynolds, this film is like Berg (from Two Guys and a Girl) mixed with Hannibal King (from the 3rd Blade film).

If you don’t know Deadpool, he is a rip off of DC’s Deathstroke. Marvel and DC have a long history of copying each other but this isn’t one of those sneaky ones (like Thor being a variation of Wonder Woman). No, Marvel’s Deadpool takes ownership of his copycat nature – his name is only a few letters different from his DC counterpart. Add to this the fact he kicks around in a costume that looks like something Spider-Man rejected and his main super ability is a healing ability given to him by the same program that experimented on Wolverine, then there appears little reason to like this character. And yet, Deadpool is one of the most popular comic book characters.

A lot of this stems from his wise-cracking (also stolen from Spider-Man) which is enhanced by a self awareness possessed by only a few characters across pop culture. Deadpool knows he is a fictional character and often breaks the fourth wall to talk directly to the audience. In fact, in the Deadpool movie, there’s “a fourth wall break inside of a fourth wall break. That’s like, sixteen walls.”

Speaking of the movie (this is meant to be a review after all), the opening sequence is beautiful. The camera pans over a tableaux of an action sequence while words pop up on the screen. Instead of names, as is normally the case, these words are the characters’ roles written in a comedic manner that acknowledges typical stereotypes found in these sorts of films, e.g. “A British Villain”. After this, nothing in the first half of the film is anything you haven’t already seen in the trailers and tv spots but that doesn’t make it any less brilliant.

One of the things I like about this film is the pacing. There is a surprising number of touching, emotion filled moments in the movie but as you settle in to these scenes and begin to tune out you are quickly transported to the next action sequence or laugh out loud crudeness. Deadpool’s trademark self awareness is also here in all its glory. There are references to Ryan Reynolds’ acting ability (or lack thereof), his critically panned Green Lantern movie and the fan-despised turn at Deadpool in that Wolverine film. My favourite of these humorous meta-narrative moments was when he asked the X-Men characters which Professor X he was going to see, James McEvoy or Patrick Stewart.

My nerd knowledge meant that I caught a few of the in-jokes and references but I probably missed quite a few too. Regardless, I like when properties with a rich source material reach out to their fans like this. That said, you don’t have to be a fanboy (or girl) to appreciate this film. It’s funny, full of action and has a killer soundtrack. There’s also plenty of eye-candy with one scene set in a strip joint and a few gratuitous shots of Ryan Reynolds’ chiseled body.

I’m not saying the movie is perfect but it’s damn good. It’s going to make a lot of money and there’s no reason you shouldn’t contribute to its earnings. It’s a film I will happily watch again (there are too many lols to keep up with during the first viewing) and some of the one-liners in there will probably make their way into our collective discourse.

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