Country: USA, Canada
Genre: Action, Comedy, Adventure
Director: Tim Miller
Music: Junkie XL
Cinematography: Ken Seng
Ryan Reynolds’ much hyped anti-hero, DEAD POOL finally bags his own feature film, seven years after his first-appearance in X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE (2009), and it becomes the latest box-office phenomenon, both domestically and internationally. What are the odds it is against? Firstly, its R-rate manifestly shows the guts to forfeit the increasingly important (profit-wise) Chinese market (the same as last year’s MAD MAX: FURY ROAD 2015), and still profits; secondly, it has been dumped to a lousy February release signifies either that the production company doesn’t have high hopes for it, or much more commendably, a left-field strategy to ignite the heat from the rock bottom; last but not least, its modest budget, estimated $58 millions, is significantly lower than any major studio superhero commodities, which promises a higher rate of return and indicates a new franchise is in the offing.
DEADPOOL is director Tim Miller’s feature debut, and it punchily and timely injects a paradigm-shifting novelty into Hollywood’s mainstay genre where Marvel and DC Comics reside. From the stop-motion and self-mocking opening credits backing with ANGEL OF THE MORNING, viewers are induced to get enchanted by this unorthodox and loquacious mutant, his trademark breaking-the-fourth-wall (at one time it multiples up to sixteenth) interactions are tremendously entertaining, not to mention the ceaseless gags (its teasing victims vary from pop culture, comic book characters, showbiz celebrities, to the protagonist Reynolds himself), salacious innuendos, pulpy slaughters and gallows humour, which all dampen the pretty dark and grisly happenings of how Wade Wilson, a mercenary suffers from cancer eventually becomes Deadpool, a defaced super-human with impeccable healing powers.
Surprisingly, the plot itself is a conventional boy-meets-girl, boy-leaves-girl, then boy-saves-girl three-act, and the British villain Ajex (Skrien), has no ambitious agenda to destroy the world or humanity, he is simply sadistic and enjoys beating the pulp out of his opponent or being battered since he has lost all the feelings, where Deadpool’s recovery ability makes him a perfect rival. Noticeably, due to its budget, the movie doesn’t involve too many exorbitant WTF visual spectacles, and action pieces are quite numbered, Deadpool’s only mutant allies are the preachy Colossus (voiced by Kapicic), and a young Sinead O’Connor lookalike Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Hilderbrand), still, he beats Ajex, who has just one sidekick, Angel Dust (Carano, the girl who can fight but cannot act). Yet, the outcome is mostly rewarding, especially when viewers appetite has been pampered with too many bombardments.
Reynolds spares no effort in showing off his ripped bod and pulls off Deadpool’s unusually audience-friendly character, it is a long-waited recognition and hopefully his career will steer to a new direction. Wade’s love interest Vanessa (Baccarin), whose mutant background has been omitted here, is the only one who plays with a straight-face to at least verify the slightly uninspiring storyline, whereas T.J. Miller’s Weasel, triumphantly upstages others with his competence as a constant purveyor of comic relief.
The sequel has already been put on the agenda, so as a trend-setter, DEADPOOL sets up a new double-wining (both word-of-mouth and box office performance) template for studio franchises and a high bar for its follow-ups, let’s wish it is not just a flash in the pan.