Over the recent months I’ve come to terms that I might be suffering from superhero fatigue. Yes that’s right, maybe the world is too full of superhero movies.
We all know the basics by now. Seemingly normal person gains powers, fights crime in a spandex suit or cape, faces off against a big baddie and gets the girl. Or maybe they don’t get the girl, perhaps they suffer a devastating loss and slink back into the shadows, vowing never to fight crime again. Well until the next super-villain threatens their city. We can separate these films into light-hearted comic affairs such as Guardians of the Galaxy, or the moodier gritty feel of films such as The Dark Knight. Whichever route filmmakers decide to go down, they will always face the same problem. The story has been done before many, many times. You can get a different actor and put them in a different suit, but how can you make a superhero film feel truly original nowadays? Cue Deadpool.
We’ve had wise-cracking, comedy superheroes before, but Ryan Reynold’s portrayal of Deadpool is something else. Throughout the film’s runtime, it proves surprisingly difficult to pick a line of dialogue from the guy that isn’t a gag. Reynolds delivers these gleefully and often. Many are hilarious, some maybe could’ve done with a longer think through in the writing room and a few zip straight over your head as Deadpool leaps from one scene to the next. The result is a character and a film that doesn’t take itself too seriously, which works strongly in the film’s favour. Deadpool may sometimes act like a caricature of a real person, but there’s a lot of fun to be had with the character.
The film might not prove to be as spectacularly violent and gory as you’ve been led to believe. Sure limbs do go flying, and at times blood splatters but it never feels excessive in the world Deadpool inhabits. We never stray into full-on Tarantino territory. The film knows it’s aimed at an older audience however, and shows little restraint in acknowledging this. At times it can feel like nudity and swearing are thrown in just because they can be. We get a montage marking the passage of time, with Deadpool and his girlfriend’s sexual exploits during different holiday seasons, and perhaps the best Stan Lee cameo to date which I won’t spoil.
Being an origins story, the plot itself is nothing revolutionary. The film knows it’s introducing yet another superhero in a market full of hundreds, so instead of making him something different, they play with the way the story is told. The opening sequence is very cleverly done, thrusting us straight into Deadpool’s world and the way he operates when he struts his stuff. The film constantly jumps forwards and backwards in time, which can prove a little confusing at times, but our friendly neighbourhood narrator Deadpool is always at hand to explain in his own unique way.
The amount of times the film pauses to give the audience a knowing wink are beyond count. The Deadpool team have successfully developed a film that re-defines meta in-references and fourth-wall breaking. This is one of the film’s biggest strengths. I went into the film cautiously optimistic and was rewarded with a really fun time. Acknowledging mine and many other’s superhero fatigue is a move that proves successful. It may not revolutionise the market, or be quite as clever as it thinks it is, but it gives the world of superhero cinema a much needed breath of fresh air.