[Robert Wheatley | Lifestyle Editor]
I’m reviewing from a fresh perspective; I hadn’t read much of Deadpool, and merely knew his powers and abilities when entering the film. But, after speaking with my housemates as we (both a little more educated on the Marvel universe) trudged back home after Wednesday morning’s early viewing, we agreed that Deadpool (2016) nonetheless managed to capture the classic character’s personality, wit, fourth-wall breaking ability, and his taste for (arguably justifiable) violence.
Don’t worry, I won’t be spoiling the plot, just describing what aspects of the film I enjoyed – at most commenting on a scene that took place. As you may have expected, the film is pretty violent, but avoids allowing us to see anything too excessive. We see Deadpool cutting his own hand off while commenting on a spoiler alert for the film 127 Hours, and see him quickly slice a guy in half, but other more risqué scenes (like snapping someone’s neck) are hidden from us.
Of course, the film isn’t just about this violence; it’s an exploration of what lead him to becoming Deadpool, and it does so by sticking to some aspects of the original plot. Wade’s cancer is the catalyst for his transformation into Deadpool. This being the reason for him allowing Weapon X to experiment on him in their version of the Hospice. The film explores his cancer briefly, showing the effect it has on his confidence and his relationship with Vanessa and just how much they care about each other.
We also see Deadpool go through various methods of torture, one of which involving him being deprived of oxygen which is quite stressful to watch, and it’s even more upsetting when we see the wit gradually drain from Wade under the sadistic control of Ajax. His mutation alters more than his ability to heal: his face is permanently scarred, and this serves as a burden as he walks among the public in which he is subjected to whispered commentary about his appearance. This was nicely done even if it was brief. I think it’s the brevity that fits with his confident character. Anyone can take an ego hit, especially if they aren’t used to feeling negative about themselves, but Wade manages to overcome this and allows it to instead fuel his desire for revenge and eventually his humour returns.
The endless humour and fourth-wall breaking are the aspects of Deadpool that helps it to stand out among not only the X-Men films, but Marvel films in general. Deadpool essentially serves as our narrator, referring back to flashbacks to help the viewer understand why the situation at the beginning is taking place. To do this, he ignores a fundamental rule in fiction: not breaking the fourth-wall, going as far as offering a fourth-wall break within a fourth-wall break. But I think what makes it work is how we expect it as an audience. The beginning of the film introduces the cast, directors and writers with comedic titles referring to their wealth or character like “a British villain” or “a hot chick”, and I think it’s then that even people that don’t know much – or anything – about Deadpool will start to allow this unconventional feature.
Yes, the film is hilarious. None of the jokes are forced, and they fit Deadpool’s personality perfectly. Whether it’s a snide comeback, his skilled overconfident fighting style, or just his general dickish attitude to people, it works ever so well; you could tell by how often the audience erupted with laughter. It’s not just his retorts to enemies or friends, but also the references throughout the film which – even if you aren’t too clued in on Marvel – you’ll probably get.
In case you were wondering, there are some jokes some may find offensive. While Blind Al is treated mostly with respect by Deadpool, he nonetheless belittles her for her blindness at times. Still, she clearly doesn’t care and always rebuts with something equally humorous. The film is pretty absent of sexist remarks and while women are primarily the ones sexualised, Deadpool avoids unnecessary commentary about women. Vanessa is known to work as an escort but is never belittled for it, and there’s no trope about strong women being a shock to the characters or audience. Deadpool does bring up his confusion about whether it was sexist to fight a woman, or sexist to not fight them just because they are women – Colossus claims he does not like to hit women but is soon knocked back by Angel Dust, Ajax’s buff henchwoman, so perhaps there’s your answer. An interesting scene is one in which Colossus shields his eyes and tells her that her breasts were showing, to which she responds in appreciation, but soon continues on with the fight. Roles of women within the film are, in my opinion at least, mostly treated with respect. Vanessa does not allow herself to simply be a damsel in distress, and aids Deadpool in his revenge. The majority of the fighting is pretty gender-neutral as well, and this does make for much more exciting fight scenes.
I guess I’d better finish on that note: the fight scenes were excellent. From the intense car-fighting scene (not car-chasing: Deadpool literally drops into a car from the highway) at the beginning of the film, to the final battle, he is a masterful user of melee and long-range weaponry; taking down an entire squad of gunmen with only 12 bullets, and fighting another squad with just his blades. His wit carries on throughout this, insulting his enemy or complimenting his own technique which is honestly well deserved.
I went to see this film as someone without much experience of the Deadpool fiction, but it’s one of those films you can watch without needing it. You may miss out on some of the references, and why the X-Men are meeting with him or what changes have taken place from the original plot, but I would suggest the film is enjoyable nonetheless. Deadpool’s history is briefly explored, and the beginning serves to explore the character’s tragedy as well as his hilarity. You really do need to watch it if you love Deadpool, Marvel, the X-Men, or just comedy and action in general, as Deadpool appeals to a huge variety of viewers.
Have you seen Deadpool? Let us know what you think! @TridentMediaUK