Following the mammoth success of the X-Men franchise and Marvel Cinematic Universe, superhero films have become a fully fledged genre of their own over the past decade.
From the beginning, Deadpool is extremely self-aware and ready to poke fun at the superhero genre along with its cast, X-Men connections and the complicated 12 year journey it took to get ‘the merc with a mouth’ onto the big screen.
What sets this apart from movies such as Kick-Ass or Guardians of the Galaxy is that the bloody violence is just as prominent as the humour and style. Better still, unlike Kick-Ass with its underdog theme, Deadpool is a self-confessed bad guy fighting other villains. It’s much more of a fair – and dangerous – fight and yes, there are moments you’re going to want to look away if you’re squeamish.
Ryan Reynolds takes the lead role – one he first signed up for in 2004 – and despite having his face covered for the bulk of the film, it’s hard to imagine anyone else in the role. Clearly 12 years was plenty of time for Reynolds to really get the character.
Wade Wilson is perhaps the most reluctant of all Marvel creations, describing himself as a fu**ed up tooth fairy who knocks out the teeth and keeps the money’ – a former special services hitman who now finds himself making a living by scaring nerdy, young pizza delivery boys who stalk the cliched hot girl in town.
All the crime is organised through an underground bar where Wade meets local prostitute Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) and a love story begins. A sex scene montage follows which would make even a 50 Shades fan blush and the pair soon find themselves engaged.
But tragedy strikes when Wade is diagnosed with terminal cancer but a mysterious offer of a cure turns out to be 24/7 torture by arch-villain Ajax and his cronies in an underground laboratory where the Weapon X programme is carried out. A plan to make super-villains out of the terminally ill.
It’s a much more engaging origin story then we are used to and having a dual-storyline that meets up for a thrilling third act makes it feel less of a chore than last summer’s Fantastic Four. Whereas that movie only had 15 minutes of action at the end, in Deadpool there’s brutal violence, fast-paced action and witty humour from the first frame until the last.
There are plenty of references to other Marvel movies as well as perhaps one of Stan Lee’s most shocking cameos yet. But whilst some of the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies can at times feel weighed down with constant in-jokes, references or cross-over moments, this is just sheer fun.
Deadpool slots into the X-Men universe with ease whilst also setting up its own lane. It’s a smart (and probably cheaper) move to have included lesser known mutants like Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead as it allows Deadpool to take on a much more adult tone but still putting in appearances at Xavier Mansion. If this movie performs as well as it deserves to, then hopefully in the sequel we will get some more on board.
Deadpool is one hell of a thrill ride that manages to breath some much needed fresh life into the increasingly crowded superhero genre.
Released in UK cinemas on Wednesday 10 February 2016.
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