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This R-rated comedy-actioner may only be your ‘bag’ if you get the crude toilet humour and jokey references – but there’s no doubt film executives have been shown that ‘playing it safe’ with ‘family friendly’ movies is not necessarily the only way to make money.
This has just amassed $300million worldwide in five days despite being made for a modest (in movie terms) $58m – plus the impressive ‘shock factor’ marketing costs.
Adult audiences (particularly the 18-40 age demographic) have been crying out for something different – especially in the superhero genre that has become a tad repetitive – and Deadpool delivers in absolutes spades of gratuitous violence to accompany the non-stop hilarity, which pushes its ‘15’ certificate rating to the limit.
Ryan Reynolds completely reinvents the character he played briefly in the much-maligned 2009 X-Men Origins: Wolverine – see plenty of in-jokes to both that film, Hugh Jackman, Green Lantern and many more – by taking the beloved character to the extreme. And then some.
He stars as super-sarcastic former Special Forces operative-turned-mercenary Wade Wilson, who after letting down his guard for new flame Vanessa (Morena Baccarin, who coincidentally is Copycat in a comic-book lore) finds out he’s dying from aggressive terminal cancer.
He then gets double-crossed into partaking in an experiment (a bit like what happened with Wolverine in the early X-Men movies) that promised to cure his illness, but instead gets left for dead and horribly disfigured by criminal mutant Ajax (Transporter: Refuelled’s Ed Skrein) – who can’t feel any pain due to the removal of his nerve-endings – and his super-powered cohort Angel Dust (MMA star Gina Carano).
But when Wilson literally comes back from the ‘dead’ with accelerated healing powers and enhanced abilities, he adopts the red-suited and weaponry-laden alter-ego of Deadpool, and looks to hunt down the man who nearly destroyed his life – and get his girl back.
And the past year or so of said life is shown through clever back story flashbacks that take place during one major ‘super violent heads-blown-off and all-guns-blazing’ set-piece – which actually works quite nicely.
Along the way his bartender best friend Weasel (Transformers: Age of Extinction’s TJ Miller) helps ’Pool with some equally as effective comic relief, and two X-Men – metallic super-strengthed Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) and moody fire/energy-wielding Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) – join the ride.
Deadpool even references why only two of them ever appear to be in Xavier’s mansion: “It’s a big house. It’s weird I only ever see two of you. Almost like the studio couldn’t afford another X-Man.”
And that is just one of maybe thirty in-jokes that makes Deadpool one of the most refreshing movie experiences in quite some time – and comes complete with a catchy soundtrack that features artists from DMX to Salt N Pepa and Neil Sedaka and Wham.
It does fall foul of the usual superhero ‘generic ending syndrome’ as it slightly runs out of steam in the third act – but after so much exhausting comedy and violence that comes before it – this is easily forgiven.
Fox studio execs looking for their answer on how to replace Hugh Jackman’s headlining Wolverine in the X-Men movies when he retires may just have it.
Rating: 4/5 Gavin Miller