Do we think it’s any f *** ing good?

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Contents -

re­leased OUT NOW! 15 | 108 min­utes

Di­rec­tor Tim Miller

Cast Ryan Reynolds, Morena Bac­carin,

Ed Skrein, Stefan Kapi­cic, Gina Carano

Cap­tain Amer­ica: Civil War may have the big­gest cast, X- Men: Apoc­a­lypse the grander scale, but Dead­pool will surely be the most ar­gued- over su­per­hero film this year. Long in and out of de­vel­op­ment hell, it fi­nally ar­rives as an R- rated aber­ra­tion in a sea of PG- 13 span­dex flicks. It’s loud, ob­nox­ious, de­fi­antly puerile and mostly good fun.

Wade Wil­son ( Ryan Reynolds, in his se­cond crack at the role fol­low­ing 2010’ s X- Men Ori­gins: Wolver­ine – en­tirely ig­nored here) is a down- at- heel mer­ce­nary, work­ing a string of mi­nor jobs. When he meets Morena Bac­carin’s Vanessa, the pair em­bark on a whirl­wind ro­mance that’s cut short when Wade is di­ag­nosed with ter­mi­nal can­cer. Tak­ing off on his own, he signs up for a mys­te­ri­ous treat­ment that of­fers to save his life and give him su­per­pow­ers, but in­stead leaves him im­mor­tal, dis­fig­ured and in­sane. Cue a bloody re­venge plot as Wade, now go­ing by the name Dead­pool, hunts down Ed Skrein’s vil­lain­ous Ajax – while mak­ing loads of knob gags!

Dead­pool starts strongly, wav­ing its freak flag high. It’s a rare film that can claim its open­ing cred­its as a comic high­light, but that’s the case here, with the cast and crew names re­placed with “a Bri­tish vil­lain”, “moody teen” and, for di­rec­tor Tim Miller, “an over­paid tool”. It’s a strut­ting lead in to the open­ing, eye- pop­pingly vi­o­lent tableau, and a hint at the film’s cen­tral con­ceit: the main char­ac­ter knows that he’s in a movie and fre­quently talks to the au­di­ence.

This could eas­ily have come across as smug and an­noy­ing. In­stead, the tone is gen­er­ally well- judged through­out. Dead­pool is a rubber- limbed cross be­tween Spi­der- Man and Wolver­ine with a dash of the malev­o­lent prankster­ism of Michael Keaton’s Betel­geuse, but he’s not with­out em­pa­thy or mo­ments of ap­par­ently sin­cere emo­tion. Reynolds is clearly hav­ing a blast in the role, both in and out of the mask.

The rest of the cast are solid too. Ed Skrein makes for a sur­pris­ingly grounded vil­lain, while TJ Miller pro­vides dead­pan snark as Wade’s bar­tender buddy. Bac­carin is a lit­tle one- note, but that’s down to thin ma­te­rial. Much bet­ter is Bri­anna Hilde­brand as Ne­ga­sonic Teenage War­head – a sullen goth girl turned X- Man, whose dis­mis­sive re­torts are some of the film’s fun­ni­est mo­ments.

Ne­ga­sonic’s not the only mem­ber of Marvel’s mu­tants here. In­deed, it’s slightly sur­pris­ing just how closely Dead­pool ties into Fox’s wider filmic uni­verse. Colos­sus ( Stefan Kapi­cic voic­ing a hulk­ing CG bruiser) is a ma­jor player through­out, and there are sev­eral so­journs to Xavier’s man­sion. That said, it misses the op­por­tu­nity to re­ally say any­thing about those films, other than bluntly point­ing out that the stu­dio couldn’t af­ford cameos from any of the A- list X- guys, and Dead­pool spec­u­lat­ing over whether he’ll meet “McAvoy or Ste­wart?”. That’s a bit of a missed op­por­tu­nity. In­deed, for all its out­ra­geous be­hav­iour and fourth wall- break­ing flour­ishes, this is ac­tu­ally a fairly con­ven­tional su­per­hero ori­gin tale.

Dead­pool re­ally isn’t like any other su­per­hero film

“Start spread­ing the news…”

The city’s sup­ply of black leather was get­ting dan­ger­ously low.

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