Deadpool starts very conventionally, with a CGI opening credits sequence that uses an action scene from the first major set-piece of the film as the freeze-frame background.
But that’s about it!
The credits mock the cast and crew names and right there, you know this is a film that is not going to be conventional, in any sense of the word. The fantastic opening credits are followed by a CGI-heavy freeway chase sequence that is both refreshing and stale at the same time, funny dialogues interspersed with quick editing. Simultaneously with the set-piece, we are provided a flashback sequence that explains our titular hero’s grisly origins that wouldn’t actually be that weird for those who have watched the trailers, as I happened to. The botched experiment that gave Wade Wilson a.k.a. Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) his powers and made his face ugly is carried out by the antagonists of the film, Ajax (Ed Skrein) and Angel (Gina Carano). There is a short and racy love story between Wade and his girlfriend, Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) which, like the rest of the movie, has a lot many innuendos. The villains then abduct Vanessa and Wade, now Deadpool, has to fight to save the day, along with his two friends from the X-men family, Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand). I’m not trying to spoil the movie for anyone (hate spoilers myself!), just telling what the trailers already did. So if you were getting upset over my revelations, calm down because 20th Century Fox have already long since divulged this much information.
If I had to classify the genre of the film, I’d say it’s a superhero/revenge/romcom/adult comedy flick. Too many hats for a single flick to juggle, you say? Well therein lies the problem that “Deadpool” faces (more on that in a little while).
Deadpool is irreverent, raunchy and comical all at the same time. I had to watch the movie in Hindi (unfortunately!) because there are no shows in English in my city. So the downside is that a few jokes lose their charm and their reference in dubbing. Thankfully, the rest of them, and there are quite a few like that, have been packaged for the Hindi language audiences nicely, doing away with the profanities and either using suggestive language or changing the joke altogether. The frenetically turbocharged opening sequence meant that the movie had to decelerate for some gas sooner or later and when that happens, around the time the origin story is in full swing, it does become a bit boring before picking up pace again.
The use of slow-motion action scenes, used probably because of the success of the Quicksilver scene in 2014’s X-Men : Days Of Future Past, serves to differentiate them from other set-pieces that action films, and particularly superhero films use, making the scenes much more effective and memorable. The various references to the X-men universe and jokes about Wolverine and the X-mansion are really tickling too.
Another good thing is that the movie has no save-the-world stakes that are a staple of almost every single superhero film that’s come out in recent years. The stakes here are relatively low and are a refreshing change for this particular genre, along with the romantic story angle and the almost-unending supply of witty, adult-themed one-liners. Yeah, you read it right! This is NOT a movie for family audiences, it’s not for those who get offended at adult jokes and it certainly isn’t for those who don’t like onscreen violence. If you want that, wait till Disney releases its next animated film (sorry, no offence meant. But this is the truth!)
The tendency of the titular character to break the fourth wall (which is what he does in the comics too) is funny too. Ryan Reynolds owns this role. Even if Deadpool movies are made 100 years in the future, regardless of this movie’s finances, his version of the character will remain the benchmark. The beautiful Morena Baccarin does well enough as the hero’s love interest. T.J.Miller as Wade’s best friend Weasel provides comic relief. The rest of the characters, including the villains and support cast, fill out their roles nicely and the climax has a few superhero movie-trademark CGI explosions but the one thing missing is the connect.
While the screenwriters Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese and the director Tim Miller, not to say Fox studios themselves, must be given credit for taking a gamble on a fan-favourite but relatively unknown character (as far as normal moviegoing audiences are concerned), the movie has a sense of hollowness pervading it, and therein lies Deadpool’s problem. I mean I loved the action and the jokes, but I couldn’t connect with the story (as much as it is possible to connect with a fictional, costumed crime fighter’s story). The characters, save for the lead pair, are minimally developed and that does tend to make them a bit two-dimensional. Despite attempts to make a different kind of superhero movie, Fox have a film that’s largely generic, although it has its USP of violence, gore and profanity. This could have been, in part, due to the dubbing but still, I wasn’t satisfied enough to praise it wholeheartedly. 2014’s “Captain America : The Winter Soldier” was also a superhero movie, but still had the connect and the resonance in real world affairs. Comic book fans who have read Deadpool might disagree with me, but sadly, I didn’t like it as much as I wanted to. Yes, I wanted it to be great! The superhero movie genre is in dire need of unique characters and storylines that cater to varied audiences while remaining true to their source materials for the genre to fight viewer fatigue (which will set in, if it hasn’t already, by the end of the decade, or sooner maybe). As a fan of the genre, I want to see that, hence the high expectations from Deadpool. Hopefully, we will get something that meets our expectations when Suicide Squad or Gambit are released. Till then, let’s enjoy the tentpoles like BvS : DOJ and CA : CW. Deadpool, like its hero, might not be perfect, but its a start nonetheless.
Cast : Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, T.J.Miller, Ed Skrein, Gina Carano.
Deadpool is rated A and has a runtime of 108 minutes. It is now playing in cinemas.
Rating : 3.5/5.
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Thanks for reading!