Starring God’s perfect idiot in the role he was born to play, jam-packed with R-rated naughtiness from beginning to end, and riding high on the strength of its raunchy humour, self-referential winks & pop culture references, Deadpool tells the story of the odd, unpredictable, loud-mouthed, sarcastic & delightfully deranged antihero in an unabashedly freewheeling manner, is continually refreshing on more levels than one, and is the funniest superhero flick to surface on the silver screen since Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. But I can’t help but feel slightly dissatisfied, for this film could have been so much more than what it settles for in the final print.
The story of Deadpool follows Wade Wilson, a former Special Forces operative turned mercenary whose plan of settling down and spending the rest of his life with the girl he loves goes outside the window when he learns that he has terminal cancer. After being approached by a mysterious recruiter who offers a cure to his diagnosis, he takes part in a human experimentation program that bestows him with accelerated healing capabilities but also leaves him severely disfigured. Managing to survive the ordeal, Wilson adopts the persona of a masked vigilante and, with his self-healing powers & twisted sense of humour, starts looking for the people who nearly destroyed his life.
Directed by an overpaid tool in what is actually his directional debut, the film’s wicked opening credits clearly indicate the kind of movie it aspires to be, and then follows it up with an ingeniously choreographed, gleefully violent & exuberantly witted first act that also turns out to be its self-defeating moment, for the film is never able to attain that same height again for the remainder of its runtime. Tim Miller’s direction is quite impressive for a first feature but his inexperience also shows up when he allows the film to go into the overkill mode, and is clueless about when & where to draw the line. And although the story hurls one witty line after another, not all of them work out in the its favour.
The first act introduces the eponymous character to the audience in flamboyant style and effectively establishes his origins, eccentric wit & modus operandi but the rest of the narrative is simply a downhill journey. The writers stay faithful to the sardonic tone of its source material, the screenplay brims with playful, profane & parodic remarks, there is sufficient meat on the titular character’s arc, and it follows an interesting trajectory as well but its middle & final acts fail to duplicate the effervescent zest of its opening segment and apart from Deadpool, there are no compelling characters in the movie. Many of its one-liners are hilarious & inventive, but a few of them become repetitive & wearisome after a while.
Coming to the performances, the cast comprises of Ryan Reynolds, a hot chick, a British villain, the comic relief, the moody teen & a CGI character, with only Reynolds leaving a lasting impression. Reynolds’ rendition of Wade Wilson both in & out of the suit makes it one of those perfect actor-character marriages, and it is actually difficult to imagine someone else playing this role with such remarkable finesse. Morena Baccarin & T.J. Miller play Wilson’s girlfriend & best friend, respectively, and are runners-up in the acting department but their work is still no match to Reynold’s input, for the latter carries the entire film on his own. Ed Skrein does well with what he’s given, while the character of Colossus is plainly annoying.
On an overall scale, Deadpool is an endlessly enjoyable, thoroughly entertaining & downright rambunctious roller-coaster ride that delivers on its promise of bringing the “Merc with a Mouth” to cinematic life in an unrestrained, unadulterated & undiluted form, makes blatant use of adult humour throughout its runtime, and even manages to subvert the superhero formula to an extent. But its attempt to defy the norm & follow an unorthodox route only happens on a superficial level, for beneath its surface lies the same predictable & formulaic narrative that we’ve seen many times before. Opening on an extremely promising note but losing its way in the middle, Deadpool works only because of Ryan Reynolds’ swashbuckling, show-stealing & effortlessly charismatic performance and while it had the ingredients to separate itself from the pack, it isn’t as unconventional as it appears to be.