Ryan Reynolds first made his appearance as the mercenary Deadpool in 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine, prompting calls for a spin-off movie.
Initially nothing happened, but that changed in 2014 when test footage was leaked and fan pressure encouraged bosses to greenlight a Deadpool movie, but with a smaller budget than usual superhero franchises.
That meant Reynolds, who has been involved with the project for more than 11 years, and his filmmaking team could give Deadpool the same tone as the comic books – rude, crass and foul-mouthed.
Deadpool is Wade Wilson, a mercenary who discovers he is riddled with cancer. He volunteers for a top secret experiment conducted by Ajax (Ed Skrein), which consists of a series of tortures that eventually turn him into a disfigured mutant with advanced healing and regenerating powers.
Wilson dons his red and black mask and suit to track down Ajax, determined to exact revenge on him for what he has done and win back his girlfriend Vanessa (Morena Baccarin).
The plot may sound like a traditional superhero story, but Deadpool is far from it. It is not the family-friendly movie you would be familiar with; this is very adult with serious nudity, gore and profanity littered throughout.
The jokes take precedence over a complex story arc or character development. It is a gag a minute and it is very hard to keep up.
Not all of the comedy works because it is so frequent, at times excessive and reeks of trying too hard. The humour relies on many pop culture references which only work if you get them, meaning audiences watching in a few years’ time could be left clueless.
The best humour is when the movie pokes fun at itself. Reynolds regularly breaks the fourth wall and talks to camera, acknowledging he’s in a film and questioning why it got made, for example.
There are a lot of X-Men jokes, nods to Hugh Jackman, aka Wolverine, and general parodies of superhero films, including many slow-motion action shots. The tongue-in-cheek credits sequence sets the tone of the piece, and the post-credits scene is definitely worth the wait.
Reynolds, who spends most of the film behind a mask, seems to be relishing playing the bad guy in a film which sends up superhero films four years after his turn in the underwhelming Green Lantern.
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