“A fourth wall break inside a fourth wall break? That’s like… 16 walls,” quips our superhero, as he tells the story of how he came to be. We have of course, met Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, his first outing as a superhero (let’s not mention the second). This is a funny origin story filled with cheap dirty jokes and it isn’t afraid to make fun out of itself – and everything else.
Deadpool finds itself flipping the bird at its own heritage (the opening titles tells us that it’s produced by “ass-hats” and directed by “an overpaid tool”) and cracking jokes at how complicated these multiple timelines have become. Ryan Reynolds plays Wade Wilson, a crude cynic whose life is ruined when an enforced mutation leaves him looking like “like Freddy Krueger face-fucked a topographical map of Utah”. This Deadpool is different. Wade is talkative (and you can’t shut him up) and quick-witted because of course, he’s the ‘merc with the mouth’.
The film starts with Wade already having chosen his superhero name, in costume and in a bit of a scuffle on a freeway. He’s after the man who turned him into a superhuman experiment. This storyline is intercepted with flashbacks of how he came to be where he is, following Wade’s cancer diagnosis, falling in love and eventual disfiguration by a mad man. The mad man, (Ed Skrein‘s Ajax) is a superhuman too, and Wade is after him because apparently he can reverse what he’s done. Ajax is the antagonist who, unlike in other superhero films, has a presence from the start (not turn up in the last hour, threatening the world).
Morena Baccarin is a standout as Vanessa, Wade’s edgy girlfriend who stands by him through his cancer, who he later leaves to cure his disease. T.J. Miller‘s Weasel barely gets any screen time, but is funny when he appears while Gina Carano is Angel Dust Ajax’s right hand woman who’s literally there for the muscle. Fellow X-Men metal-man Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) and stroppy teen Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) are good additions, but not enough to convince us that this film is part of the X-universe (a joke Deadpool makes). The best part of this film is the fourth wall breaks, which stay true to the comic-book Deadpool’s slapstick nature. Deadpool may fall far from the X-Men tree but it’s a start for the series to branch out, and for Marvel to play with one of its best heroes to create a ballsy, R-rated joy ride that’ll leave you in stitches.