DEADPOOL is the most knowing and self-aware comic book movie to date. It satirises the conventions of the genre, breaks the fourth wall, and has its characters refer to actors in other comic book movies in media res. This is meta-film-making beyond anything WATCHMEN or KICK-ASS have attempted. The result is a movie that is hilariously laugh-out loud funny, but much much darker than the typical Marvel fare. Because Deadpool/Wade is NOT a superhero. He starts off as a mercenary who's suckered into trying a weird experimental treatment to cure his cancer. But it turns out an evil villain called Francis aka Ajax is going to torture Wade to the point where his genes mutate and then sell him as an evil super-soldier. Wade does mutate and assume awesome healing powers and ninja skills but his whole body also gets fried. He escapes, becomes Deadpool, and goes on an epic vigilante killing spree to find Francis, in the hope that he will reverse the pizza-face side-effects so that Wade can be reunited with his fiancee.
Throughout all of this, Wade/Deadpool chats to us directly and gives us a witty commentary on all his actions. He continuously declares that he isn't a superhero and refuses to become an X-Man despite being an artificially created mutant. And the comedy is crude to say the least. What's really amazing - and kudos to the writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (ZOMBIELAND) - is that despite all this meta-comedy the movie still has heart. Despite all the rude jokes, I absolutely cared about Wade, and felt sympathy for his predicament and believed in the love story that motivates him.
So kudos to all involved. Most especially the writers, but also director Tim Miller in his debut feature for pulling off some fantastic action set-pieces but also committing to the gonzo dark comedy in the first place. But ultimately this is a Ryan Reynolds movie. And just like Robert Downey Junior in IRON MAN one can't imagine this movie without his Van Wilder patter. The supporting cast is also very able including a number of unknowns - from the original Daario Naharis Ed Skrein as Ajax, to Brianna Hildebrand as Negasonic Teenage Warhead. I can't wait to see the film again and catch up on all the jokes I missed on the first viewing.
DEADPOOL has a running time of 108 minutes and is rated R. The movie is on global release.
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