Deadpool is effectively another superhero movie, a guy gets super powers and he needs to save his girlfriend. Except its pretty violent, has a lot of swearing, a small budget and sex… So it isn’t really just another superhero movie.
Deadpool is a film that not many people expected to be good, it was a big risk for Fox as they had to hedge there bets on a star that hasn’t always been commercially successful, a relatively unpopular superhero when compared to the likes of Wolverine and a hard 15 rating, it could’ve easily been a disaster. So it is to the films credit that it managed to gross close to $800 million worldwide and was received favourably by both critics and audiences, in fact, especially audiences.
This leads me to the films greatest asset when it comes to its financial profit, its audience appeal. When the film was released I remember people who would never of even seen superhero movies going crazy for Deadpool, even a woman I worked with who hated them, gushed about how much she enjoyed it. The film really does hold a wide attraction due to its low brow and accessible humour aswell as a non-stop marketing campaign that incorporated this, which I think is a really important factor to understand when jumping into this film, as it has launched the character of Deadpool into the stratosphere.
Anyway enough about the build up to the film, what do I actually think of it? Well lets start with the performances shall we? That’s a rhetorical question, we`re gonna start with the performances.
So in the lead role of Wade Wilson/Deadpool we have the mighty Ryan Reynolds. Ahhhh Ryan Reynolds. I have always liked Ryan Reynolds, he is charming, objectively attractive and actually does have the ability to give a really good performance. The problem is, is that he has always been stuck in a film that’s beneath him… Save a couple, but more on them later.
Deadpool is Ryan Reynolds baby, a film project he has wanted to bring to the big screen for some time now. He played the character briefly in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but as the film itself pokes fun at, this was not a fair representation of Deadpool. This is much more of an adult character and Ryan Reynolds seriously owns the role, he clearly has a lot of time and love for Deadpool and the writing really gels itself to his comedic style. This role has really revitalised Reynold`s career and his popularity among audiences has surged since the film was released. His energised performance holds your attention and he clearly understands how to deliver and time the sarcastic one-liners. I want to make a side-note here that Reynolds has been in a lot of rubbish BUT by far his strongest performance is in Buried. I would ask that anyone seek that film out as it is a minimalist masterpiece that starts off as almost a B-movie concept but flourishes into something else entirely by the end of the film.
Playing opposite Reynolds as his girlfriend Vanessa is Morenca Baccarin, I have long been a fan of hers from her early Firefly days where she demonstrated her ability as an actress who could comedy and drama seamlessly. Baccarin is very good at playing sultry, mysterious and interesting female roles, here she throws all that out the window. Vanessa is a woman who is just as sexual as Wade and also equals him in the bad language department. Their relationship is one that is matched and its nice to see them have fun with it. The sex montages are amusing but when the few, more dramatic moments take place, both actors are more than capable and it adds an extra layer to their relationship that is surprising to see in a film that’s primary focus is comedy.
T.J. Miller plays Weasel, Wades best friend. I first saw Miller in HBO`s Silicon Valley which he is pretty funny in. He plays the sidekick here which is meant as no disrespect, Miller is a well-versed comedian and is a strong piece of casting as he can be relied upon to elevate even the most basic comedic material.
Finally we have Ed Skrein, who equals Reynolds in the muscles department and also makes a pretty fun “British” bad guy. He is probably best known for portraying Daario Naharis on Game of Thrones but actually left the project and was replaced. We see enough of him to dislike him and seems like a logical antagonist to Deadpool.
There aren’t many other supporting performances that are onscreen enough to write about, all of them are good and handle the material nicely. There are a few cameos of other Marvel heroes that tie the film into the X-Men universe for those who get excited over the “Universe building” aspect of the Marvel film brand.
Tim Miller directs the film and is an interesting decision from Fox. He doesn’t have any notable directing credits before this film and has done some Special effects work previously. Miller adds a solid hand to the film but its hard to say anything more about his work. The more I watch the film the more I understand why he was chosen, he can certainly blend special effects quite nicely into a shot and he’s also not enough of an established director that would demand too much creative control over the project.
The cinematography by Ken Seng is serviceable and compliments Millers focus as a Director nicely, along with all of the behind the scenes stuff the crew all do a good job, its just nothing is remarkable, non of it really pops or impresses me. Which is my absolute biggest problem with Deadpool, its just missing that extra creative spark that’s going to elevate it into something great.
This film was a financial risk and I really like the idea of Marvel taking more chances with its properties, the superhero formula has grown stale and I actively try and avoid this genre as the stories are too formulaic and predictable. Deadpool certainly doesn’t reinvent the wheel, it plays around a little with its narrative (there are actually a number of flashbacks used to catch us up on the current events in the film) but does nothing major with it and while its fun to see the comic violence play out, the film unfortunately ends with a pretty standard, anti-climactic fight. The soundtrack is also okay, with some comic juxtapositions of love songs playing alongside the violence (the opening scene for example).
Ultimately Deadpool does exactly what it intends to do, its a meta comedy on superhero films while also being one itself. It has enough low-brow general humour to appeal to as much of a 15+ audience as possible while also having a number of winks and nudges to the more devout Marvel fans. Its actually quite interesting to note that for the upcoming Deadpool sequel Tim Miller has left the project, with the cited reasons being that he wanted to focus more on style and Reynolds wanted more humour. This poses an interesting predicament, as its nice to see Reynolds really want to hold onto a property he loves, but equally Miller may very well have wanted to develop the film to keep it fresh. Marvel have stuck by Reynolds as they will not have wanted to change the humour that made this one so successful, which is frustrating as it feels like less of a creative decision and more one to guarantee box office returns.
I own the basic Blu-ray edition of Deadpool and its packed with extras, theres commentaries aswell as a number of promotional shorts that were produced for the film. All of these special features are nice and lend a bit more meat to the Blu-ray. There was a steelbook released which I didn’t pick up, it is now out of print but can be purchased for an expensive price from independent sellers. Links to both of these versions can be found here: