Deadpool (2016)

Rating: B-

Dir: Tim Miller
Star: Ryan Reynolds, Ed Skrein, Morena Baccarin, Leslie Uggams

I don’t have much time for superhero films because, virtually without exception, they all seem like wish-fulfillment for teenage fan-boys.Not that they can’t sometimes be entertaining, but they’re typically brain-dead nonsense with zero repeat viewing value. Deadpool isn’t actually very different there. However, the film is saved by its remarkable self-awareness, apparent right from opening credits proclaiming it was directed by “An overpaid tool” and stars “God’s perfect idiot”, and which make the movie as bulletproof as its hero. Who cares if Reynolds, as Deadpool, is simply repeating his character from Blade 3, with a worse complexion? Certainly, the story here is now great shakes. Diagnosed with cancer, Wade accepts an offer to turn him into a superhero, only to discover the plan is turn him into a slave. He escapes, blessed with amazing healing properties, but horribly disfigured – his burns, inexplicably, don’t heal – and goes after Ajax (Skrein), the man responsible.

It’s an entirely generic comic-book origins plot, and saved purely by Reynolds’ whole-hearted embrace of the character. Deadpool is not just a dick. He knows he is a dick; what’s more, he revels in his dickishness, and drags the audience along, through sheer force of dick will. When pointing out the stupidity of its own existence and universe, it’s wonderful, not so much breaking the fourth wall as riding a wrecking-ball through it, Miley Cyrus-style. Less effective is when trying to be what it is mocking, though even then it generally remains the entertaining nonsense described above. Being R-rated certainly helps there, enhancing the crunchiness of the violence. However, it’s a shame that “mature audience” tag appears mostly to be present so Reynolds can deliver penis references. If falling short of delivering the savage skewering comic-book movies definitely deserve, I’ll settle for a cheerful appreciation of its own absurdity