Late on in the film, a character quips to Deadpool “You are so relentlessly annoying!” And I think this statement sums him up perfectly. As you’ve guessed, this isn’t going to be a favourable review…
Marvel fans have long been crying out for a Deadpool film that not only would do the character justice but would also be faithful to his comic origin – that would mean a full-on violent swear-fest which, in today’s Hollywood industry, would absolutely not generate the desired box office profit. Marvel Studios, however, have decided to do just that, and so we now have Deadpool in all his smart-ass potty-mouthed glory. So who is Deadpool exactly?
Residing in the X-Men universe (although, rather confusingly, not entirely in the X-Men ‘cinematic universe’ thanks to rights issues, despite his appearance in X-Men Origins: Wolverine - Confused? So am I), Deadpool starts out as Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds), a former Special Forces operative turned mercenary in New York. After being diagnosed with cancer, Wade offers himself to an experimental cure but is instead injected with a serum designed to awaken any mutant genes he may have. He develops healing powers (as you do) but is left hideously scarred, hence his need for a costume. He’s now on a mission of revenge, out to hunt and kill Ajax (Ed Skrein), the mutant who inflicted Wade’s condition upon him. So far, so standard comic-book.
Then the “relentlessly annoying” factor kicks in. Actually it kicks in soon after the opening credits, before Wade has even made his transformation. The whole appeal of Deadpool (apparently) is his potty-mouth humour and breaking-the-fourth-wall banter. But something just doesn’t quite click. The humour feels so forced to the point of being cringeworthy at times. I’m all for low brow humour and find crude comedies extremely funny – Superbad, Ted, Pineapple Express et al – but Deadpool just tries too hard. It almost felt as if the script was penned by a 15 year old adolescent who finds the word “fuck” so funny that everyone needs to yell it every five minutes for no real reason. And having a dick joke every five minutes also gets boring fast.
Deadpool’s ‘witty’ banter and constant pop referencing soon grates, and his constant breaking-the-fourth-wall routine quickly becomes tiresome (at one point he breaks the fourth wall within a breaking-the-fourth-wall flashback - that’s like sixteen walls!). He simply ends up coming across like Jim Carrey’s The Mask character, but less funny. And just like The Mask, Wade suddenly develops superhuman strength when he becomes Deadpool (but without explanation) and is able to ping around everywhere like Jackie Chan on speed.
I’m not overly familiar with the source material, but in the world of movies this shouldn’t matter. Whilst a comic movie should indeed stay loyal to its origins, there is always a danger of alienating an audience if there is a lack of broad appeal. Deadpool, unfortunately,achieves this feat gloriously. Put simply: If you ‘get it’ then you’ll probably be of the opinion that Deadpool is Marvel’s greatest cinematic achievement to date. For everyone else, it just comes across as an immature attempt to be hip, violent and funny. It desperately wants to be the new Kick-Ass but fails miserably.
One of the reasons why Deadpool wasn’t a fun watch lies in the fact that the trailer practically gave away every single ‘joke’ – you’ll be hard pressed to recognise something that wasn’t in the trailers. If you were expecting to see the Merc with a Mouth in action somewhere other than that highway set-piece shown in every trailer, then prepare to be sorely disappointed. The choice of visual style is also rather odd. A dull, washed-out and desaturated colour scheme jars with the comic-book violence and playful nature that the film tries so desperately hard to convey. A touch more flair and visual pizzazz may have elevated the enjoyment levels slightly. Only slightly, mind.
Overhyped, juvenile, cringeworthy and simply unfunny. Tries too hard to be hip with pop references, constant digs at the X-Men franchise, and jokes about Twitter. The ugly love-child of Kick-Ass and The Mask, one for Deadpool purists only.