Deadpool is a perfect example of why fan-made comic book films will always be more successful. Deadpool isn’t the first sweary, violent comic book hero but the fact that he is a Marvel creation and shares the same screen with the X-Men demonstrates a step forward that mainstream superhero movies needed to take.
Deadpool is also refreshingly different. At a time when comic book movies are now resorting to team-ups and hero vs hero to bring some variety to the screen, Deadpool shows that you can still have an origin movie and another introduction of a superhero without it feeling like the usual, cliché-ridden story we’ve seen many times before.
Of course it helps that Deadpool is unlike any superhero you’ve seen. To start he isn’t a superhero. This means he gets away with a lot of violent and creative ways to dispatch his enemies. This is some of the more appealing points of the movie, as we get some great uses of action set-pieces and cool choreography to really show how effective this “hero” is. The way Deadpool counts down his “12 remaining bullets” is a particular highlight.
It also helps that Deadpool is funny. He is funny in a way we haven’t seen in superhero films before. Robert Downey Jr was sarcastic as Iron Man, Thor’s fish-out-of-water gimmick raised some laughs and Spiderman was beginning to get his charisma back under Marc Webb but Deadpool has the best of the dialogue. The film is creative in it’s humour, be it the great put-downs, the visual gags or the self-referential material that even includes star Ryan Reynolds himself.
In fact, Ryan Reynolds may be the best part of Deadpool’s success. For starters, he is clearly a fan and wants the film to succeed. He understands what is needed for an effective Deadpool film and if that means referencing and mocking his own previous attempts, or even studio Fox’s poor efforts, then he isn’t afraid to do so. He also has the screen-presence to be annoying, obnoxious and revolting but still have you rooting for the character.
The film needed this dose of fresh-approach because recent origin movies follow the same basic pattern; hero gets powers, hero experiments with powers, hero gets beaten, hero regains confidence, large set-piece where hero beats villain. Even in films as different as Ant-Man, the same formula is apparent.
Luckily, Deadpool even subverts this slightly. The fact that Deadpool is actually telling the story straight to screen helps, breaking the fourth wall, as well as referencing things a movie character shouldn’t know, but it is also the way the story is framed. It is a flashback primarily but for good reason and this injection of story-action-backstory-action, means that the same, stale formula doesn’t quite repeat itself.
Of course, Deadpool isn’t without fault and as much as this is not your normal superhero movie, it still ends up falling into the generic superhero traps for it’s final act. Huge building destroying action, a generic villain with basic motivation and a quite stale ending which ties up loose ends nicely. Although it is quite refreshing that Deadpool isn’t necessarily teasing a sequel like many other comic book films feel the need to do.
Overall, Deadpool is exactly the shot in the arm that superhero movies needed. This is the year of the big, hero vs hero battles and Deadpool has shown that you don’t need that big name recognistion to make an impact. By subverting the usual tropes, adding some R-Rated action (and dialogue) and taking your source material seriously, Deadpool has managed to deliver not just a good superhero movie, but a good superhero movie starring Ryan Reynolds!
Rating – 4
(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)