Skip back through your memories to pre-2007 when it was revealed that Ryan Reynolds had been cast as Marvel Comics’ insanely popular (emphasis on the “insane”) Merc With a Mouth in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Fans of the character couldn’t be more excited for the movie, as the gabby Reynolds was perfect to play the red-suited mutant mercenary. And then the movie was released. And somehow in the undulating sea of soggy turds that is X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Deadpool – or at least the abortive version of the character displayed on screen – ended up being the turdiest.
Hopes for a spinoff solo Deadpool film were almost entirely crushed under the boot of one really, really bad entry in the X-Men franchise. But Reynolds, ever the trooper, kept plugging away almost exclusively on his own, trying to find a way to make amends for what the studio had done. This went on for years, with the proposed solo film stuck in various degrees of developmental hell. Writers Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese (Zombieland) were brought on to script in 2009, and relatively unknown Oscar-nominated animator and VFX guy Tim Miller was tapped to direct in 2011, but the studio was balking at the true-to-character hard R-rated vision that they had, and things were not looking good.
And then some
fiendishly clever unscrupulous fiend leaked the badass CG test footage that Miller had created to show Fox exactly what he had envisioned online, and the internet promptly moistened the front of their collective trousers. With such an overwhelmingly positive roar from a hungry audience, Fox finally greenlit Deadpool. One utterly hilarious marketing campaign later, and we’re now finally ready to see if it’s been worth the wait. If Deadpool could per-
YADDA, YADDA, MOTHERF–KING YADDA! Enough already! Are you actively trying to find the cure for insomnia with your history lesson droning? Wait, I got it! You, like me, were also a devilishly handsome, wisecracking mercenary with a soft spot for “the little guy”, a winning personality and absolutely no qualms about using high powered rifles on people’s squishy bits, who came down with a big case of the suck courtesy of terminal f–king cancer, and so was also duped into a shady experimental procedure run by human public toilet seats in an attempt to cure the cancer by activating latent mutant genes and giving you incredible mutant healing abilities, but which then left you with horrific side effects, which in my case was a body so horribly disfigured that even the Elephant Man was like “Damn, son!” but which in your case just left you as the world’s first ass ventriloquist.
…What the-? Who is this?
It is I, Wade Wilson aka Deadpool! Or as I’m more popularly known around the rest of the world… Well, they also know me as Deadpool, but do you really need another name when the one you got is as sh-tting cool as mine? I mean they even named a 1988 Clint Eastwood movie after me. I can assure you that that is a bona fide 100% true fact, so no need to look it up, kids.
…Ok then. So exactly what do you think you’re up to, interrupting my review like this? With a face like that, shouldn’t you be off somewhere being a testicle stunt double for some 70-year old German porn star?
Oh ha and f–king ha. I’m breaking the Fourth Wall, you personified dog fart! Talking directly to the audience, just like I did in my illustrious comic book series, and which I also do several times in my sure to be Oscar nominated solo feature film.
You are aware that a movie review is technically always breaking the Fourth Wall, right? I’m literally always talking directly to my audience.
Well, what do you know? The Merc With the Closed Mouth! Ha ha ha ha… Hey what are you doing to my images?! Stop scribbling all over them, damn it! Stop it! Why don’t you leave them alone and rather talk directly to this audience and tell them about your movie?
Well, okay then, Mopey Dick. My movie is AMAZEBALLS! No, really it’s about a Ryan Reynolds-looking tough guy who gets stuck in a maze searching for his balls. Or to put it another way: He finds true love. And luckily his true love also finds his balls. Nudge nudge, wink wink, pork pork. The true love in this case is the inhumanly foxy Vanessa Carlysle (who has an eerily striking resemblance to Emmy-nominated actress Morena Baccarin, by the way), a prostitute with a heart of gold who was able to relate to my supremely f–ked up childhood – there was clown porn, don’t ask! – and also unending affection for deep fried Mexican tortilla dishes. It was love at first penis in vagina.
I couldn’t agree more! With the movie being amazeballs part, I mean, not the genitals part. Much like how Kingsman: The Secret Service kicked off 2015 with a ridiculously unhinged and over the top bang where nothing was taboo, so too Deadpool starts our 2016 comic book movie calendar by stepping as far away from the your typical family-friendly comic book superhero studio production as is humanly/mutantly possible.
It’s a subversive and self-mocking take on the genre, with Deadpool himself constantly pointing out he is no hero. It takes you on a full-throttle, no holds barred ride of skewering raunchy witticisms, bolstering its proudly R-rated status even further with plenty of graphic nudity and sex, and hyper-stylized but amazingly well-choreographed violence.
Which is as God intended it. I mean, can you imagine how much better X-Men 3 would have been if Magneto just magnetically ripped people’s lower intestines out through their ear-holes? Or even better, Wolverine and Jean Grey ditched the romantic tension horse manure and just engaged in a ludicrously athletic year-long sex montage? Because we got that last part in our movie! Leonard DiCaprio and his pet grizzly bear, Mr Fluffybutt, has nothing on how physical Vanessa and I get. At least three Ryan Reynolds stunt doubles lost their lives in the filming of that scene. Their sacrifices will be well remembered.
Going back to that incredible action though, this movie sees you violently throw down several times against the sadistic Ajax, played by Ed Skrein, who was completely inert in the terrible Transporter Refueled but definitely shows some delicious vitality here as the film’s main big bad.
Yes, that writhing sack of butt sores was the one running the experiment that resulted in me looking like a Pablo Picasso/Jackson Pollock mash-up, and I was not about to bring that level of ugliness into Vanessa’s life. Understandably, as a result, I spend most of the movie trying to turn Ajax into the world’s first successful rectal craniotomy patient with my two swords Bea and Arthur (yes, like the Golden Girl!).
Unfortunately, ol’ Ghost of Jason Statham Past does have some mutant abilities of his own as well as emasculatingly physical help in the form of ex-MMA star Gina Carano’s grim Angel Dust. She doubles down on duties as both Ajax’s super-strong henchwoman and the movie’s anti-comic relief, with barely any lines at all but lots of opportunities to frown severely and punch stuff really hard (clearly somebody in the casting department saw Haywire! Just saying!).
Well, it’s not as if the movie is short on comedy, as this will be some of the most viscerally pleasing fun fans could have in a cinema with their clothes on or off! Weasel (TJ Miller), Deadpool’s best friend and merc handler, as well as Deadpool’s elderly blind roomate Al (Leslie Uggans) all provide some hilarious one-liners, but it’s Deadpool’s own constant stream of witty and ribauld gags, delivered brilliantly by the sublimely cast Reynolds, that had me guffawing my not insubstantial behind off. And true to Deadpool’s self-aware comic book roots, the uproariously funny in-jokes and meta commentary flies thick and fast – so much so that I actually need to rewatch the movie as I missed several punchlines from laughing too much – with some of the best being directed at the X-Men movie franchise and its stars. Including Hugh Jackman’s testicles.
Hmmmmm, Jackman testicles.
And speaking of X-Men, the film’s lineup also boasts a pair of them in the form of Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) and newcomer Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand). Almost acting primarily as Deadpool’s clearly lacking moral conscience, both also add considerably to the film’s side-splitting funny moments, along with director Tim Miller’s brutal and bone-crunching action scenes (the non-restrictive R-rating lets him get truly creative resulting in some jaw-dropping/shattering action beats, helped out by unexpectedly polished visuals).
Wait, why in the immortal name of Roger Ebert is your review talking about me in the third person again, like I’m not right here touching myself as I stare at you? Also, isn’t Negasonic Teenage Warhead the most sh-t-kickingly awesome and badass superhero name you’ve ever heard of?!
Er, ewwww. And yes, Negasonic Teenage Warhead is indeed an awesome name, much like her actual powers which looks visually spectacular and is put to great effect in the movie. But as good as she, Colossus, Angel Dust and Ajax are in the film’s action moments, you have to admit that besides for the very palpable chemistry between Deadpool – sorry, you – and Vanessa, there’s very little to the rest of the characters other than showing up to crack jokes and punch people or sometimes crack jokes about people while they’re punching them.
So too, the movie’s totally mental script from Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese also has its slight drawbacks. It is an incredibly entertaining piece of borderline psychotic penmanship, which somehow, through the pitch perfect self-effacing delivery of its cast and Miller’s deft handling of it’s wacky tone, manages to make some childish humour thunderously effective for adults. There’s simply never a dull moment to be found, from its “honest” opening credits scene to its perfectly fitting post-credits sting (yes, there is one, so stay seated), but essentially, the script is nothing more than three extended set pieces. These are cleverly told out of sequence though to get around the fact that there really isn’t that much story there once you think about it, but there’s no escaping its straightforwardness.
Oh, you’re one of those film critics. What not enough mise-en-scene or media in res? You think it needed more allegorical juxtapositioning of sociopolitical commentaries for the metaphysical treatise of humanity’s eternal struggle? Yes, I know douchey big movie words too, buster, and I’m approximately 80% certain that I am using them in the correct sequence!
Oh, don’t get me wrong, the overall simplicity of the movie and most of its characters doesn’t really detract much at all from the fact that Deadpool – that’s the movie, not you – is not just a stupidly fantastic amount of unhinged and unadulterated adult fun (seriously, how the hell did a traditionally stodgy studio like Fox sign off on something this crazy?!) but that it will definitely also keep the action junkies grinning uncontrollably from ear to blood-spattered ear.
This review originally appeared on TheMovies.co.za
Last Updated: February 8, 2016