dir Tim Miller
scr Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick
prd Simon Kinberg, Ryan Reynolds, Lauren Shuler Donner
with Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, Gina Carano, TJ Miller, Leslie Uggams, Brianna Hildebrand, Stefan Kapicic, Jed Rees, Karan Soni, Hugh Scott, Style Dayne
release US/UK 12.Feb.16
16/US Fox 1h48
Tough love: Baccarin and Reynolds

skrein carano miller
See also:
X-men Origins: Wolverine (2009) Deadpool 2 (2018)
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Deadpool Smug about its own smugness, everything in this movie is pleased with itself, including the filmmakers and characters. It's so insufferably self-conscious that it would be unwatchable if it weren't also very funny. Reynolds delivers a hyperactively snarky performance that can't help but win over the target audience, especially as he underscores the sass with some real emotion.

Wade (Reynolds), aka Deadpool, is in the middle of exerting vengeance on his arch-nemesis Ajax (Skrein) when he pauses to recount his two-year back-story, starting with the moment he met the love of his life, Vanessa (Baccarin), a fellow mercenary who can match him in feisty words and brutal action. When Wade learns that he has terminal cancer, he secretly accepts an offer from a mystery man (Rees) that involves Ajax and his sadistic assistant Angel Dust (Carano) curing his illness while bringing out his inherent mutant powers. But the process is literally torture.

Along the way, X-Men teammates Colossus (voiced by Kapcic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Hildebrand) try to convince Wade to join them, getting caught up in the mayhem that follows. Of course, Reynolds previously played Deadpool in 2009's X-Men Origins: Wolverine, so the film is packed with knowing gags that break the fourth wall, and then some. Because Deadpool is fully aware that he's in a superhero movie, and refuses to take it seriously.

Reynolds nails the tone, mixing raucous physicality with split-second comical timing while also finding Wade's underlying motivation in romantic scenes with Vanessa. But while Baccarin starts off strongly as a serious force to reckon with, she later becomes the standard damsel in distress in a preposterously overcooked action climax. Yes, it's a major mistake to spend so much time poking fun at comic-book movie cliches, then proceed to fall back lazily on all of the worst ones.

Thankfully, the referential humour remains amusing all the way through, just about making up for the trite plotting and an excessive indulgence in digital effects. Reynolds remains charming, funny and sexy in every scene, even when we want to slap him. His chemistry with Baccarin has a zing to it, as does his banter with Miller in his usual comic-relief role. But what makes the film work is the emotive subtext, as this man loses everything then has to come to terms with what he has left. Those of us who aren't bankers or movie stars can identify with that.

cert 15 themes, language, violence, sexuality 8.Feb.16

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