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Deadpool - Review

Deadpool

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 3.5 out of 5

MARVEL’S Deadpool sets out to be a non-conformist superhero movie that celebrates excess: whether that’s violence, bad language or nudity and sex. But while the result exhilarates more than it frustrates, it’s not a complete genre re-shaping success.

There are some crass moments that leave a bad taste, while some of the violence does feel overly excessive and at odds with the comic tone. It also lacks the finesse of Matthew Vaughn’s Kick-Ass, which put a similarly non-conformist spin on things with a greater degree of success.

But for those willing to go with the flow, Tim Miller’s film lives up to the potential shown in its superb advertising campaign, emerging as a fun ride that still manages to shake things up a little within the Marvel universe.

Ryan Reynolds reprises his role from X-Men Origins: Wolverine but immediately looks to blow away the memory of that film and other comic book misfires (his own Green Lantern included), while also poking fun at the genre itself.

He plays former Special Forces operative turned mercenary Wade Wilson, who is diagnosed with terminal cancer around the same time as he finds the love of his life, and agrees to take part in a rogue experiment designed to heal the disease and unleash his inner Mutant powers.

The ensuing torture leaves Wilson horribly disfigured and vowing revenge against the man who subjected him to it (Ed Skrein’s Ajax), while also re-inventing himself as the anti-superhero Deadpool.

Miller’s film opens as Deadpool is about to catch up with Ajax and his henchmen in a gloriously executed freeway shoot-out and then flashes back to the key moments in Wilson’s past, thereby mixing up the final act showdowns with those bittersweet memories.

And for long periods, it’s a riot of subversive energy that plays to the strengths of Reynolds’ particular brand of wise-cracking comedy, while also leaving audiences gasping [and laughing] at the no holds barred violence and profanity that accompanies it.

Miller finds plenty of inventive ways to kill people, while Reynolds has equal fun tearing into a script that allows him to mercilessly berate anyone who gets in his way. And the gags come in fast and furious fashion, taking on everything from Wham!‘s greatest hits to superhero movie failings.

However, there are times when proceedings over-step the mark, with some of the rape jokes in particular feeling wholly unnecessary, while the extended torture sequence also drags on and feels like something more out of an Eli Roth movie.

And no matter how hard Deadpool tries to distance itself from certain comic book conventions, the final act still amounts to a smack-down, albeit with lesser stakes than the more traditional ‘save the world’ scenario. Rather, it’s more of a save the damsel in distress, which invites accusations of a more bygone attitude to filmmaking given that the feminist movement isn’t really well represented here.

There will also be some viewers who tire of the wise-cracking, smart-ass nature of proceedings, especially as a couple of scenes hint at an intimacy and emotional investment that is never fully realised.

But in spite of such flaws, Deadpool does entertain. It’s a guilty pleasure of a superhero movie that feels as naughty and as reckless as its central character intends. In that regard, it’s mission more than accomplished.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 108mins
UK Release Date: February 10, 2016