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Tuesday, 17 May 2016



To hear the internet's commentary on Deadpool, it's the most amazing, revolutionary film to ever hit cinema screens, so the bar had already been set pretty high before I even got around to watching it, and it was going to take a lot for it to live up to expectations. But the trailers looked fun, the marketing campaign was sound, and Ryan Reynolds had made it very obvious that he understood and was a big fan of the character, so chances were good that I'd enjoy the film.

Set in - what I think is the X-Men film universe, I'm not sure, Deadpool follows Wade Wilson, a former Special Forces operative who meets and falls in love with Vanessa, a prostitute. Not long after he proposes to her, however, he discovers that he is sick with cancer, and out of desperation turns to the Weapon X program. After the process leaves him with a potent healing factor, but also severely disfigures him, he sets out to hunt down Francis, the man who ran the program, and who claims to have the key to restoring Wade's good looks. However, there are also two X-Men after Wade - Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead - who want to convince Wade to join them.

The film itself is - you know, it's fine.

The proposal scene.

A bit forgettable, if I'm being honest.

I did enjoy it: The humour was usually good, even if it only actually made me laugh three or four times over the entire one-hour-forty-minute running time. Most of the jokes come from the dissonance between Wade's reactions to the world around him and the relatively more serious situations he's in, and that's a comedic formula that works pretty well. The jokes veer off into being a bit questionable at a few points, but I'll grant that that's always a bit of a risk when you have a joke heavy script, and god knows it could have been a lot worse.

The action scenes, as well, are also pretty much fine. Not necessarily brilliant, because after a while they all feel a bit same-y, and because there's a bit of over-reliance on CGI, which doesn't work all that well because Deadpool's CGI isn't very good and looks out of place in every scene it's in, but it's fine. More than serviceable, usually interesting to watch, just generally okay.

Deadpool's mask is also partially CGI, and that bothers me a whole lot.

The characters are interesting, although none of them, with the exception of Wade himself, are really well-rounded - they're all pretty much 2D archetypes with one hat (or about three, in Vanessa's case), playing their respective single character traits as loudly as possible. I'd stop short of even saying that Wade himself is that layered, because you can more or less get the measure of his entire character (motivations, hidden depths, and all) by the time you're through the first act.

The plot is predictable, being essentially a rehash of the same action film plot that by now we've seen a dozen times: Bad guy personally wrongs good guy, good guy carves a bloody path to bad guy and picks up some unlikely allies on the way, bad guy captures love interest to use against good guy. The film does occasionally try to obliquely reference that it's a cliche action film plot, as if to yell 'it's satire' at us and thus be excused from criticism over it, but the fact remains that playing out a cliche plot absolutely straight and with very little deviation isn't really satire, no matter how many times you wink and nod at the audience about it.

The pacing also isn't exactly brilliant. Most of the film is devoted to Deadpool's origin story, and they kind of counterbalance that by having it be in flashbacks, intercut with the more action-y 'hunting down Francis' plot, before foregoing flashbacks entirely in the third act. That's not actually a terrible way to go about it - in fact, I'll take that over superhero films where you spend the first half trawling through the protagonist's pre-superhero life any day of the week - but it doesn't help with the film feeling stretched too thin, because it means that the purported A-plot only gets about four scenes devoted to it, including the climactic final battle.

They do make a very pretty couple. I mean, I super would watch a romantic
comedy about them, which is what large chunks of this film are.

It also means that certain supporting cast members end up very underused. Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead show up all of twice - once to interrupt Deadpool as he talks to Francis, and once for the final showdown - as does taxi driver Dopinder, although he at least has the excuse that he's definitely not meant to be a main character.

But I did enjoy the film, and if there was a film night and you said you were putting it on, I would watch it without complaint. I will almost certainly watch the sequel - purportedly including Cable - when it's out on DVD. But I probably won't seek this film out again, because while it was an enjoyable romp, it just wasn't the groundbreaking instant classic a lot of people have said it was. Still, fun film. Ryan Reynolds was very good.

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