At one point in Deadpool there is discussion and commentary over the poop emoji. For those to whom this is unfamiliar, it is just one of the many miniature images that many of us now send to each other, via our smart phones, in the place of dialogue and verbal communication. The emoji in question is a brown blob of supposedly human excrement, donning a cheeky set of eyes and a mouth. Artistically speaking, it is easier to compare Deadpool to the likes of the poop emoji rather than to any other film. An unconventional, anarchistic superhero subversion, Tim Miller’s début feature film is being compared to the likes of Matthew Vaughn’s Kick-Ass. Despite several odd and admirable moments, Deadpool is disappointingly conventional and deflating in its desperation to shock and offend. Designed to rival and contradict Marvel’s ever-expanding cinematic universe, Deadpool arrived in cinemas last week and comes from rival studio, 20th Century Fox. The premise is such: an unhinged anti-hero, out for revenge, delivers his origin story to us through direct engagement with his audience, addressing us and engaging with us from start to finish. Under the tight, red spandex is Wade Wilson, a mildly insane individual who sets about equalling the score following the torture he suffered at the hands of a twisted organisation who left him disfigured; mutated into a self-healing “monstrosity”. When his girlfriend’s life is threatened, his rage and malice only increase but his sense of humour refuses to relent. What ensues is a verbal and visual bloodbath of profanity which peters out as each minute ticks by.
Ryan Reynolds energetically drives the movie, which is a blatant and long standing labour of love for him. Reynolds is humorous, slick and unapologetic, maintaining the film’s wit and pace. The supporting cast are fine but Deadpool remains a real one man show. The film’s biggest mistake is also its biggest asset. However cynical and cold-blooded Deadpool wishes it was, it suffers due to its inclusion of a love story. Unexpectedly, the story itself is believable, charming and humorous but ultimately dilutes the film’s twisted atmosphere. Deadpool tries to have its cake and eat it by introducing a romance which was absent from the original comic. In regards to the film’s wit, all the jokes either hit or miss pretty hard. There are certainly hilarious moments and intelligence lies behind lots of it, which is refreshing. In other moments the jokes fall flat on their face with the odd line proving lazily inappropriate and obnoxious. Deadpool is simply quite dull for its finally forty minutes, lapsing back into typical superhero scenarios and clichés, confirming that it’s not any kind of genre game changer. For a movie which screams all things anarchy, there’s very little at stake and very little to care about here, particularly due to some glaringly obvious plot flaws. Deadpool certainly has a target audience and will undoubtedly satisfy giddy gangs of fifteen year olds who will quote it loudly on the school bus but its meta qualities aren’t original or consistent enough to leave any kind of lasting stamp on the genre it’s trying to de-construct. I can’t begrudge Deadpool it’s success and wish it well as it walks off into the sunset soon to be an overstretched franchise, I’m sure. At least it provides variety but sadly no clarity or originality, suffering at the hands of the corporate studio that half-heartedly churned it out.
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