By Jake Winwood (Wolverhampton)
When Deadpool first came to the big screen seven years ago the idea that he could become a box office hit couldn’t have seemed more ludicrous. Ryan Reynolds’ first outing as the ‘Merc with a Mouth’ couldn’t have gone much worse as the producers inexcusably sewed his mouth shut and gave him powers that left comic book readers utterly baffled.
So, needless to say, Deadpool’s big screen debut was not all that popular. Thankfully the stand-alone film that the X-Men Origins: Wolverine after credits scene teased never became a reality. Now, with the events of X-Men: Days of Future Past, erasing Deadpool’s first appearance from history (at least in the on screen universe), Fox have the chance to reboot the character they got so spectacularly wrong first time around. So has the studio done justice to Deadpool this time?
The first thing to say when talking about Deadpool’s second big screen appearance is, completely forget his first. Seriously, erase it from your memory. Any reader of the comics will tell you that wasn’t Deadpool. Ryan Reynolds may be playing the anti-hero once again but this is the version that he always wanted to play. Which leads me on nicely to the films leading man. Ryan Reynolds has had a rough time when it comes to superhero movies. After his first outing as Deadpool he went on to star in the awful Green Lantern movie, unsurprisingly both roles are referenced in the new film.
Ever since he was introduced to the character back in 2005, Reynolds has been desperate to bring Deadpool to the big screen. It’s taken a decade long struggle to get the character his own solo film and Reynolds has certainly seized the opportunity. For someone associated with Deadpool for a decade and someone who has spoken so openly about the disappointment of Fox’s first attempt at Deadpool, it seems fitting that it is Reynolds who finally gets to portray the character fans have being crying out for.
Ryan Reynolds has made the role his own this time around and it is not surprising to see people suggesting that this is the role he was born to play. Reynolds and Deadpool just works, as he stays true to the character by not shutting his mouth for the duration.
Had things turned out differently Deadpool could have been a PG-13, a decision which would have been a massive let down. Instead the producers decided against it and the result is the foul mouthed merc that fans wanted. This is a movie that’s not afraid to push boundaries. I for one was afraid that the movie could be toned down but any fears were soon quelled. From the opening credits it is clear that Deadpool is simply not your run of the mill superhero movie.
Deadpool will invariably be tagged a superhero movie, but it’s debatable whether it should. After all, Deadpool is no hero, as he himself admits. Though it does have many of the plot points of a conventional superhero movie, Deadpool is anything but a conventional superhero. That is perhaps why the movie proves to be such a resounding success. It maintains much of the winning formula we’ve seen in previous Marvel flicks while adding enough to make it feel refreshingly unique.
Part of what makes Deadpool so unique is the humour. Personally, I was worried that the wise cracks in Deadpool would grow stale quickly but I was pleasantly surprised to see that the film got funnier as it went on. Unfortunately some of the jokes lose their impact as a result of featuring in the trailers but there are plenty of laugh out loud moments audiences will not have seen. While the humour in last year’s Avengers: Age of Ultron felt rather forced, it is surprising that it doesn’t here. Deadpool is funny from beginning to after credit scene (stay and watch it) and never really stutters.
The Merc with a Mouth is infamous for breaking the fourth wall and it is in these moments that the movie is at its very best. Deadpool is a film that refuses to take itself seriously, never more so than when Reynolds engages with the audience. There are numerous references made to instalments from both the X-Men universe and Marvel Cinematic Universe while there’s still time for Reynolds himself to be referenced as well as for Deadpool to show off his fixation with Wolverine himself, Hugh Jackman.
All of this would be pointless though if the plot wasn’t solid, and Deadpool’s is exactly that. There is certainly nothing ground-breaking about the underlying story being told and that’s okay. Crucially, Deadpool is a film that doesn’t try to do too much. It’s a small scale movie at heart with Deadpool himself citing the lack of major X-Men. Initially I was disappointed to hear that the movie would run for less than two hours, but it’s clear that this was fitting. Age of Ultron suffered as a result of trying to cram too much in, something which Fox have not tried to do with Deadpool. Thus, by keeping the plot simple the main character has been allowed to shine, which was the most important thing after his previous on screen appearance.
It really is difficult to criticise Deadpool because it does so much right. Many thought the big screen could never do him justice, many were wrong. As I’ve mentioned some of the jokes you’ll see coming, certainly with some of the earlier ones I was mouthing along with Reynolds’ character having heard them in the trailer. However that is only a small gripe because there’s so much that hasn’t been seen. Ajax, the main villain is decent enough but rather forgettable once the film is over because the producers were rightfully more focused on nailing Deadpool.
Deadpool has exceeded my expectations in the same way that Ant-Man did last year and Guardians of the Galaxy did back in 2014. This is a big year for superhero movies and it couldn’t have started much better. Attention will now turn to next month’s Batman vs Superman and then the hotly anticipated Captain America: Civil War, both of which are sure to be box office hits. However, for me Deadpool has set the bar pretty high and considering the weight of expectation DC or Marvel’s big-hitter could well flounder. So maybe, just maybe, Deadpool the anti-hero is going to be the unsung hero of 2016.BEST QUOTES