Ant-Man signalled a change for films taking place in the Marvel universe. The comedically-inclined endeavour proved that the Chris Nolan, sombre offerings are behind us, and a more frivolous, tongue-in-cheek approach can enrich the superhero experience. Deadpool thrives in that notion, as it’s a film that is so self-referential and barbed, it could almost be considered a spoof. But that’s by no means a bad thing, for Marvel needed a change. Their pictures – particularly the origin stories – felt somewhat formulaic, and this Tim Miller production has completely changed the pace: it’s a superhero flick unlike any you’ve ever seen before.
Ryan Reynolds swaps the green mask of The Green Lantern and switches it for red, as he plays Wade Wilson, a mercenary who enjoys living on the edge. He finally finds a woman who can put up/keep up with him, in the form of Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), and falls hopelessly in love – until discovering he is terminally ill. Though facing up to his forthcoming death, he is offered the chance to go through experimental, rogue treatment, whereby Ajax (Ed Skrein) will torture him to discover if he has mutant abilities, which can keep him alive. When they realise he has accelerated healing powers, he is free to live again – but after gratuitous torture, Wade – who now goes by the alias Deadpool – is seeking revenge.
Deadpool is staggeringly meta, breaking the fourth wall persistently, as the eponymous protagonist talks directly to the viewer. He gets behind the illusion of cinema and rips off the mask, evident in when he refers to ‘the Professor’ as being either James McAvoy or Patrick Stewart, completely contradicting the notion of suspended disbelief. Though while the comedy is prevalent, with every other line a witty remark of sorts, it doesn’t compromise on the severity of the narrative, and we still get a sense for the implications of the story, and what’s at stake. That being said, Deadpool remains a refreshingly intimate tale – not about a superhero vying to save the world. He just wants to get laid.
Reynolds turns in a wonderful display, not only encapsulating the charismatic nature to the role, but even impressing in the more subtle, emotionally driven sequences – despite how few and far between they are. The only downside to this picture is that it’s so meta is could almost ruin future Marvel films, as they follow a structure that this completely ridicules. But where that studio is concerned, you’d be willing to bet they have an answer.