Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy

Directed by: Tim Miller

Starring: Ryan Reynolds,  Morena Baccarin,  T.J. Miller, Ed Skrein

Eleven years. That’s how long it’s taken for Ryan Reynolds and co. to give Deadpool his own movie. After the character’s much maligned treatment at the hands of X-Men Origins: Wolverine back in 2009, fans have been clamouring desperately for a movie worthy of their favourite ‘Merc With A Mouth’. So finally, after years in development, and an impressive piece of test footage that was leaked onto the Internet a few years back, Deadpool has finally made his way to the big screen; and with the film looking set to smash box office records for a February weekend in the States, it looks like we’ll be enjoying Deadpool’s company for some time.

But has the long wait been worth it? Well, yes and no. For die-hard fans, Deadpool will not disappoint. Everything that made Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza’s creation such a cult hit is all present and accounted for. From his snarky sense of humour, to his R-rated sensibility, to his trademark fourth wall breaking, this is the probably the best version of the character fans could’ve hoped for.

From the opening credits themselves, fans know they are in safe hands, with jokes ranging from the low brow toilet variety right up to commentary about how many X-Men the studio could actually afford, to jokes about Ryan Reynolds himself, everything sings nicely, and Ryan Reynolds delivers the goods magnificently. Yes, the Merc with the Mouth is the role Reynolds was born to play and it’s clear he’s revelling in it. Mainly because he knows how lucky he is.deadpool-still-05And herein lies the central problem with Deadpool (and there are quite a few): This is a film made strictly for the fans. It’s a fanboy film through and through, made by fanboys for fanboys. The rest of us meanwhile, might wonder what all the fuss is about. For while some may welcome Deadpool as a respite from the standard Marvel Studios and DC comic book fare, the film is actually not as anarchic as it thinks it is. I’m sorry to say kids, fourth wall breaking, dick jokes, gory violence and sweary humour do not a subversive superhero tale make.

At one point, Ed Skrein’s central one dimensional villain even goes so far as to proclaim how annoying our hero is, in a way foreshadowing what some non-fans and newcomers may feel. Even I, as a fan of the character, found myself becoming increasingly irked by the constant barrage of one liners and in-jokes. Whilst all this may work exceedingly well on the pages of a comic book, on the big screen it can become increasingly frustrating.deadpool-still-03Story wise, the film follows every standard superhero origin story beat one would expect, never wavering from its pre ordained path, right the way to saving the damsel in distress in some epic final battle. Ed Skrein and Gina Carano suffer as the villains in woefully underwritten roles, whilst Morena Baccarin is left to suffer the fate of the standard ‘hot girlfriend’ whose only job in the film is to look good in increasingly skimpy outfits. TJ Miller, as Wade’s best friend, Weasel, is likewise woefully underused, but does manage to score with a few nifty one liners, whilst Deadpool’s mutant companions of Colossus and the beautifully named Negasonic Teenage Warhead impress in their limited roles.

But of course, this is a not a film that relies on its story, but a film that relies on the love its makers have for its central character. Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick’s script more than delivers on its character’s promise, yet fails to put him in a film that never lifts itself beyond the surface or actually does anything truly revolutionary.

Deadpool is a highly flawed film, and non-fans and newcomers may find the character’s constant snarky sense of humour just a tad bit annoying, whilst others may wonder what all the fuss is about. However, for die-hard fans, this is probably the best version you’re going to get.

★★★