Deadpool has been touted to be the movie that changes the superhero genre. And it almost succeeds. Ryan Reynolds dawns the tights in a role that he owns. The film marks the debut of the R rated comic book hero on the big screen and is likely to be a landmark as far as the genre is concerned. The PR machinery behind the movie has been exceptional and generated immense hype before the release. Does the movie live up to it all? It does.
If there ever was a role that Ryan Reynolds was born to play, it is this. It’s no secret that he has wanted this movie for years and has been a vocal fan of the comics. Considering that he is covered from head to toe in spandex through most of the movie, Reynolds does a startlingly good job of emoting using his body. The self referential humor injects life into the proceedings. After a botched chance in X-Men Origins: Wolverine as Deadpool, and Green Lantern, he gets third time lucky and breathes life into the character. He brings a charm which is so vital when you’re portraying a character who’s a jerk.
The plot involves an ex Special Operations officer, Wade Wilson(Ryan Reynolds) who moonlights as paid muscle. After he asks the love of his life Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) to marry him, he discovers he has cancer. He then enlists in a covert operation. In the pursuit of being healed, but is transformed into a deformed being who closely resembles “the inside of someone’s asshole”, as described by the closest thing he has to a friend, Weasel ( T.J Miller). Armed with a few guns, two swords and an endless supply of one-liners, Deadpool goes on a bad guy killing spree with two objectives in mind; to find the man who did this to him, Ajax (Ed Skrein), and being good-looking again. Screenwriters Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese keep the tempo going at a steady pace and there are few dull moments. First time director Tim Miller is completely at ease here and his visual effects background is a plus. After having given stunning visuals for Scott Pilgrim vs the World, he excels here as well.
The protagonist is just a bad guy going after slightly badder guys. Although the movie falls under the umbrella of the superhero genre, the protagonist is not a “hero” by any stretch of imagination. He causes mayhem, murders his enemies, but more importantly, is not possessed by the sense of self-righteousness that other heroes from the Marvel or any other universe are driven by. Hancock tried the same trick years ago with a renegade anti-hero, who had a change of heart mid-way. Deadpool does not have a change of heart at any moment. There is no protecting humanity, and no greater good that comes of the carnage. His mission is personal and his goals are self centered.
The fourth wall is repeatedly broken, and at one point the fourth wall is referenced during a fourth wall interaction, or as Deadpool calls it, “the sixteenth wall?” The movie is constantly self-aware and references to the X-men franchise and the birth of a new Deadpool franchise are all brought up. Although we enjoy Deadpool glancing at us every now and then while explaining things and cracking wise, the tool is overused and gets old after a while. But again, this is only because the film stays true to its comic book roots. Other notable appearances include one from Colossus(voiced by Stefan Kapicic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead(Brianna Hildebrand) who tag along for the climactic battle. As Deadpool cleverly notes, it’s almost like Marvel couldn’t afford more than two other superheroes to be in the mix.
This is not the run-of-the-mill superhero fare and one would not be advised to take kids along to the screenings, unless one lives in India. Due to the liberal dosage of expletives, a lot of the lines are muted for the Indian viewer because apparently, we’re still not ready to hear the word “fuck”, or people kissing, or people getting shot, or people having sex, or people doing most other things.
Deadpool slices and dices the bad guys, while the censor board slices and dices key dialogue, inciting loud grunts from the audience. Lines with references to reproductive parts have also been muted because.. why not. Aside from this, a lovemaking scene has been cut short to make it suitable for family viewing. The irony of an act which is the prime way to make a family being cut out so families can watch the film is not lost.
Staying true to its essence, the movie is likely to be a delight for Deadpool comic book fans as it tries to stay as close to the books as possible. Deadpool is easily the freshest and breeziest comic book adaptation that has been seen from Hollywood in years, and will be a shot in the arm for Marvel’s jaded roster of superheroes.