It’s finally here! Deadpool came out on Wednesday and for the most part, the movie seems to be living up to the hype – with an 8.8 score on IMDB, and an 85% ‘fresh’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes. But, there’s one section of cinema-going society that’s notoriously hard to please, those fanboys and girls that have seen the characters all the way from page, to TV series, to the silver screen – the comic book fans. 2016 is a huge year for comic book movies, and we’re super excited for everything coming this year.
Enter Neil! He’s our resident self-confessed comic nerd and film buff, and he’s going to be sharing his expert opinion on all the big comic movie releases this year. Deadpool has kicked the year off pretty damn well, we feel, but let’s see what Neil thinks:
Deadpool was first introduced in X-men spin-off ‘the new mutants’ in the early 90’s as Marvels answer to (or rip-off of) DC comics’ Deathstroke. The character had a meteoric rise within the Marvel universe which saw him evolve, in a few short years, from villain to anti-hero, commanding his own ongoing title. It's this first series, written by Joe Kelly and drawn by Ed McGuinness that makes up the basis of this Deadpool movie: a clever move by the writers as it's widely regarded by fans as being the best.
The movie is a fanboy’s dream. The film makers asked what the fans wanted and delivered exactly that (and then some). Breaking the fourth wall- check, accurate costume- check, chimichangas- check, mature (read: immature) content- check, knob gags-check. This is the ‘merc with a mouth’ ripped right out of the comic book and thrown onscreen.
Most films wait at least until the end of the opening credits to get going but here the opening credits are a clever take on a genre flooded with cliches. Instead of the stars named we get a list of tired tropes ‘a British villain’, ‘a CGI character’, ‘a moody teen’ are all promised, and delivered over the course of the movie. There are even a number of occasions that Deadpool becomes the very thing it's making fun of, and is at its best when it's subverting the genre that birthed it.
The films plot is fairly thin, a pretty basic revenge and rescue origin story covering ‘the workshop’ section from the Kelly/McGuiness comic. Origin movies are a hard tightrope to cross as time is limited and inevitably characterisation is lost. In this case, the villain from the comics, Dr Killebrew, has been axed in favour of his henchman Ajax (or Francis). Alas, neglect to provide us with any tangible back story or motivation, he is reduced to a fairly off-the-rack ‘moustache twirling bad guy’ (a growing problem in Marvel films). Hopefully we get a more rounded villain in the sequel.
In other areas the film is more faithful or the source material, blind Al, Weasel and Vanessa are all present and correct and bring some heart to the constant gags. The film has the most success with Deadpool himself. Ryan Reynolds does right by the character. From the first minute he assaults the audience with a constant stream of one-liners and charismatic chatter. Yes, some of the jokes fall flat, but that is inevitable given the sheer volume here, and the overall effect is a pretty note-perfect portrayal of the original sarcastic tone.
The action set pieces are solid and stylish and are bolstered by the inclusions of Colossus and, the superbly named Grant Morrison creation, Negasonic Teenage Warhead. The whole thing zips by in no time and is the definition of a guilty pleasure.
Fans of Deadpool rest assured the ghost of 2009’s X-men Origins: Wolverine is firmly put to bed. Despite a bland villain and weak plot, holding it back from being a classic, there are more than enough action, one-liners, and winks to the fans to show the movie as a resounding success.
VERDICT: 3.5 out of 5
Deadpool omnibus by Joe Kelly
Wanna know more about the characters from the film? This is the book for you, and by happy chance the best Deadpool stories committed to page. Weasel, Blind Al, Ajax all start out here. It also features Dr Bong a villain who has a bell for a head.
Uncanny X-Force by Rick Remender
Available in a big omnibus or single volumes, for those who want to spread the cost, this is quite simply required reading for any comic fan. Deadpool features in a hand picked team of X-Men tasked with doing the jobs others can't, or simply won't, do. Also featuring Wolverine, Archangel, Fantomex, Psylocke, Deathlok and an alternate universe Nightcrawler.
Deadpool- the good, the bad and the ugly by Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn
Probably the best of the latest Deadpool volume. This is an emotionally jarring Deadpool story. Not just wall to wall jokes this has some punch behind it and sees a vulnerable Deadpool struggle to save someone he loves.