For sheer sassy, smart-assy fun, it’s hard to imagine that anything is going to beat Deadpool – this year at least.
The latest big-screen outing for a Marvel character, Deadpool originally appeared in comic form in 1991, starting out as a supervillain before morphing into an anti-hero.
His big-screen debut arrived in the 2009 film, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, when Ryan Reynolds wielded the katanas for the first time.
But the ‘Merc with a Mouth’ has now got his own movie, and it’s a cracking piece of entertainment.
After small-time and essentially good-hearted mercenary Wade Wilson is diagnosed with multiple cancers, he’s offered the chance of a cure – a cure that will also bestow on him incredible powers.
Unfortunately, there turns out to be a rather unexpected side effect and, after christening himself Deadpool, Wilson sets off to exact revenge on those who put him into that position.
There’s no shortage of violence – but unlike many comic book stories, the violence here has consequences.
In that sense, together with the humour, it’s reminiscent of Tarantino. But what we also get here is the breaking of the fourth wall, as Deadpool speaks directly to the audience throughout the film.
The character is amoral, bisexual, camp, gobby, violent and a Wham! fan, with a self-awareness and fuck-this attitude that reminds me of Hellboy.
Indeed, the Wham! thing brought to mind Hellboy and Abe Sapien’s drunken duet of Barry Manilow’s Can’t Smile Without You in Hellboy II.
The jokes come thick and fast – the excellent script from Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick never lets the pace drop – and the action sequences are top notch.
Returning as the eponymous antihero, Reynolds is superb, while Ed Skrein makes a strong – British, of course! – villain, Ajax.
However much you might expect this to be very much a bloke film, there’s a love story that could broaden the audience, and four very strong female characters in Morena Baccarin as Deadpool’s girlfriend Vanessa; Gina Carano as Angel, a superhuman, mutated member of Ajax’s team; Brianna Hildebrand as teenage X-Men trainee Negasonic Teenage Warhead, and Leslie Uggams as Blind Al, a sassy elderly woman with a penchant for cocaine who is Deadpool’s roommate.
And while he cannot actually claim the credit for creating the character of Deadpool, X-Men co-creator and Marvel’s answer to the All Father and the Godfather combined (if you were to believe his own hype), Stan Lee manages to shoehorn himself into a brief cameo.
If you’re looking for philosophy, then Deadpool is probably not going to be the movie for you – although I will point out that slavery in exchange for effective medical treatment could be viewed as a comment on a society where many workers cannot afford to dissent as it’s their boss who pays their medical insurance.
But hey, that’s really not the most important thing here.
First and foremost, this is a thoroughly entertaining romp that sees Marvel itself actually give the entire rather po-faced superhero genre a massive slap. Fab stuff.