When you think about it, Deadpool is just like every other comic book movie adaptation. There’s a victim – usually a woman, sometimes the world – that must be saved by a tragic hero. Despite protestations that he is not the latter, Deadpool is no different to his current counterparts on the big screen.
It’s in his telling of the story that he differs, and it is very literally his telling. Deadpool, and its makers, delights in breaking the fourth wall as the title character directly addresses the audience; and Ryan Reynolds, who portrays the titular hero, merrily makes fun of himself.
Deadpool may not agree with the title of hero, but what makes him deserving of the prefix anti? Is it the fact that he murders people (his words) in his personal quest for revenge? If that’s the definition of an antihero, then virtually every superhero becomes an antihero.
Is it his dirty mouth? His disregard for the rules? His penchant for violence? It can’t be. While other superheroes may keep it clean thanks to their age restriction, many would let loose a volley of foul words if they were allowed. As for the latter two: it doesn’t hold back the likes of Iron Man or Superman.
The sheer delight, and novelty, of Deadpool, is that it’s willing to deconstruct the film as it constructs the plot by talking to the audience, being self-referential, making the kind of jokes no one in Hollywood is prepared to make in a film, and delivering no-holds-barred action.
Massively entertaining from the word go, the movie could be about Deadpool going to the shops for milk and you’d still love it. The story may be as familiar as the one in that movie you saw last week, but the film’s style explores the potential of film in an almost theatrical sense.
Tim Miller – directing his feature debut – is, according to the opening credits, an “overpaid tool”. But audiences will be only too happy to throw money at him if it means he’ll give us a sequel. I’m hardly ever one to encourage prequels/sequels/reboots/remakes, but this is a character who has crept into our hearts and made a mark like no super/antihero since, say…Wolverine.
Considering that Deadpool is portrayed by Ryan Reynolds, it’s little wonder. Despite his self-deprecating quip in the film, he’s a great actor who is often the only good thing about the movies he’s in. But with Deadpool he’s part of a collective dedicated to restoring your faith in how much fun a film a can be.