WITH its clever opening credit sequence, self-references and comic book movie in-jokes, breaking the fourth wall and bloodshed, Deadpool is the breath of fresh air the superhero genre has yearned for.
This year marks the 16th year since X-Men became a hit and started the comic book movie trend, and eight since the Avengers world building commenced with Iron Man, and it was all becoming drearily routine.
Arriving at the perfect time to ruffle some feathers as Marvel and DC fatigue sets in, and cater to an older crowd, Deadpool offers some slick adult-orientated fun.
Diagnosed with cancer not long after meeting the love of his life, former special forces operative Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) volunteers to be experimented on.
The result is accelerated healing powers (though his smart alec attitude remains intact) and a thirst for revenge on the cliche ‘British villain’ Ajax (Ed Skrein) who made him that way.
Immediately poking fun at the genre, never taking itself too seriously, and even at times addressing the audience directly, Deadpool is basically Scream of the superhero genre.
The obnoxious, wisecracking, but still charming (the casting of Reynolds is key) character quips about action film budgets, names actors who play other superheroes and wears a cut out of Hugh Jackman over his mutilated face.
It is big on laughs and often inventive, but it is not quite the home run those of us tired of superhero films hoped for.
Simply poking fun at genre cliches is not enough – Deadpool ultimately succumbs to them, and it ends up being as predictable as the movies it sets out to make fun of.
The final battle pales in comparison to the imaginatively choreographed earlier action sequences, with the addition of a couple of X-men characters offering little to the story other than to serve as one-dimensional sidekicks and the butt of a few in-jokes.
However, there is a thrill in hearing vulgar language in a superhero film and seeing a bit of gore that would never appear in other Marvel films.
Directed by: Tim Miller
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, T.J. Miller
Review by Julian Wright
In cinemas now