Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) is a bit of a messed up anti-hero. An ex-special forces, now mercenary idiot who, through a combination of charm and wise-cracks just about masks the unsavoury deeds he performs and the rather unsavoury character that he actually is.
On discovering that he’s been stricken with terminal cancer, he has a life or death decision to make. Does he remain stoic in the face of the inevitable and see out his final days alongside his sweetheart, Vanessa, (Morena Baccarin), or does he sneak away and take up the bizarre proposition that’s been offered to him by ‘the recruiter’ (Jed Rees), to undergo some bizarre experimental procedure to be cured of his cancer, whilst simultaneously adopting super-human powers in the process?
With the latter option a formality, he quickly wishes he’d not bothered as the procedure is particularly gruelling to say the least. Things are not helped with it being performed with unnecessary relish by the sadistic Ajax (Ed Skrein), leaving Deadpool with total face and body disfiguration.
A few explosions and a bit of falling debris later, left for dead and understandably not a happy camper, Deadpool vows revenge on his tormentor and thus a rather large amount of carnage commences…
There’s really not much more to Deadpool than that. There’s much CGi wizardry , some additional super-human characters join the fray attempting to keep Deadpool on the straight and narrow, and a larger than average body count piles up in savage fashion.
Shackled by such a dead-end plot, the film really hedges its bets on Ryan Reynolds’ lead character as he cracks one-liner after one liner and attempts to rip up the Marvel hero rule book, poking fun at the nuts and bolts of the genre with great glee, albeit in considerably reverential fashion.
It’s fast-paced, it’s crude, it’s violent and it rattles off the gags at break-neck pace. Some hit the mark, but a fair amount whistle by, a good deal wide of the target. Above all though, it’s all annoyingly self-aware and smug in that ‘we’re going to rubbish our own scene before you have the chance to’ manner.
Ryan Reynolds, in a role that has a tendency to come across as a sort of vulgar Jim Carey – lite, is sufficiently amusing in places to just about pull this one out of the bag, but it really is nowhere near as amusing or clever as it thinks it is, or indeed needs to be. Add to this, there really are only so many gross-out gags and scenes of super-human characters pointlessly pummeling twelve bells out of each other to no avail in a sea of spurious CGi trickery, that you can watch before it borders on the boring.
Ultimately, the whole contrary, sending one’s self up approach has been done to death and more importantly, done far better than it is here.
There’s a point in the film when someone delivers some smart-arsed, glib comment suggesting that there’s a Deadpool film franchise to be made out of it all.
I dare say there is and almost certainly will be.
There are plenty of people that would whole-heartedly back that sentiment I’d imagine if the screening that I attended was anything to go by, but it’s a rare event for a sequel to ever top its predecessor and considering Deadpool is nothing to write home about – at its best hit and miss, and at its worst, tiresome, I won’t be holding my breath for the next installment.