Thursday 11 February 2016


Metatext Tool

2015 USA/Canada
Directed by Tim Miller
UK cinema release print.

I have absolutely no idea who Deadpool is.

That is to say, he’s an early 1990s comic book creation... a time when I’d mostly given up on superhero comic books for... any other comic books that were more interesting. What I’m saying here is... I can’t judge this thing in terms of it being a good or bad adaptation.

I didn’t like the trailer for this movie much either... but the only time my friend, who actually did like the trailer, could go and see this was the first night it opened. So it was pretty much sold out for most of the screenings but we managed to get in. I’m really glad we did, as it happens.

Now I was going to be all sure of myself and say this is the third comic book movie I’d seen with Ryan Reynolds in it (an actor who I quite like)... but a quick check on IMDB reveals a slightly different picture. This is, in fact, his fifth comic book movie. He was in one of the Blade movies... which I’ve not seen but my dad is a big fan of those. He was in RIPD, which I kinda liked and my review is here. He was also Green Lantern, which I loved and reviewed here.  Yeah, I was that guy who liked that movie, so you might want to take anything I say with a pinch of salt from hereon in. The other comic book movie Reynolds was in was X-Men Origins: Wolverine, again another movie which I liked despite its general reception. I reviewed it here but... here’s the thing about that movie. I don’t actually even remember him in it but Ryan Reynolds played Deadpool in that movie too. Something which I just can’t recall but which I’m sure I’ll more than notice next time I pop that movie into the player.

This current variant of Deadpool has a slightly different origin, apparently due to the timeline set up from Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Days Of Future Past, which I reviewed here and which I absolutely hated because of the total lack of logic of the starting point from where that movie told its tale. It completely broke continuity with previous films in the series. However, this apparently explains why both Deadpool and Colossus both have some differences to their characters... with Colossus even being played by a different actor.

However, with all this stuff out of the way, is Deadpool a good movie?

Oh yeah.

Like I said, I wasn’t that enamoured of the trailer but the movie itself is an absolute gem. After a quite funny opening title sequence which looks like it could have really been enhanced even more in some kind of 3D release, the film starts off with a battle scene between Deadpool and a load of bad guys which is filled with violence. A lot of the scenes in those trailers were made up from parts of this sequence. Then, just as the old Marvel comics used to do back in the good old days, we get the main character telling you the story of how he arrived at this point and, as the battle continues on, he keeps coming back to it at different points until about two thirds of the way through the narrative, when you’re about caught up on the back story and just why the title character is like he is. This style of getting you hooked on the action and playing ‘catch up’ afterwords is typical of the difference between the way rival companies DC and Marvel used to operate, especially in the 1960s and 1970s, actually. DC were always more linear... Marvel comics made you shift your mindset just a little to accommodate the sequencing.

Now, I said Deadpool, played brilliantly by Ryan Reynolds as some kind of ultra-violent Groucho Marx by way of Bugs Bunny character, tells the audience the story of how he got to this point. Well, he does this by breaking the fourth wall and I believe this is also something that is part of his character in the comics... similar to what John Byrne used to do with his run on The Sensational She-Hulk, I would guess. But when I say he breaks the fourth wall, I don’t mean he does it from time to time... I mean he does it constantly. In fact, he doesn’t break the fourth wall so much as rip it apart with a bulldozer, stamp on it, reassemble it and then kick it some more until he starts bleeding all over the audience... you might want to duck if you’re in the first few rows. And he doesn’t stop at just catching you up with the story... he is talking to the audience constantly, all the way through the movie, and making metatextual references, sometimes at the expense of other characters who are rooted in the narrative.

Slight spoiler in this paragraph: For example, he goes toe to toe with Colossus (played by Stefan Kapicic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (played brilliantly by someone called Brianna Hildebrand) and, when he goes to the X-Men Mansion for help later in the movie and it’s only the two of them at home, he makes a crack to the audience about the producers only being able to afford these two X-Men for the movie. He does this kind of thing constantly (no, I’m really not going to spoil all the jokes for you here) and you’d really think that this would get kind of old real fast but... it really doesn’t. The movie doesn’t become just one terrible metatextual joke and it’s still able to function as what it’s supposed to be... which is a really fun movie with adult themes. Parents should probably not be trying to sneak their kids into this one, though, I think.

The editing and structural fragmentation keeps everything moving forward in a really breezy and exciting, fast paced way and, once again, Ryan Reynolds proves that he can hold this kind of movie together pretty well when required. Of course, he has absolutely great support from the likes of the aforementioned X-Men, T. J Miller as his buddy, a treacherous Ed Skrein as the main villain (who did so well trying to fill Jason Statham’s shoes in the fourth of The Transporter movies... reviewed here) and the absolutely extraordinary Morena Baccarin as Deadpool’s sexy girlfriend Vanessa. Yeah, that’s right, Inara from Firefly/Serenity is in this and the chemistry between her and Reynolds is just electric.

And that’s about all I’ve got to say on Deadpool, I think. Absolutely brilliant movie which I, surprisingly, enjoyed way more than I thought I would, given my response to the trailers for this one. Definite recommendation from me for anyone who likes seeing characters from the Marvel universe done in a truly entertaining fashion and I’m really looking forward to seeing what they do for a sequel to this one, which has already been green lit in Hollywood, it would seem. Looking forward to the ‘harder’ cut on Blu Ray, which is apparently in the works, even more, I would say. Oh, word to the wise, there are a couple of extra scenes right at the end of the credits... well, more like an extra scene and then an extension of that scene hot on the heels of it. So you Marvel fans might want to stick around for that one. Anyway, what the heck? Go see this movie. I had a real blast with it and I hope you do too.

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