The trouble with Deadpool is, it wants to have its cake and eat it. ‘Look at me!’ it shouts, ‘I’m a superhero movie but I’m different to the rest!’ And maybe there’s a certain amount of truth in that statement, but when the ‘difference’ is a 15 certificate rather than the usual 12A and a series of knob gags directed straight to camera, well, that’s really not enough to justify our time in the cinema. I’ve had a sneaking admiration for Ryan Reynolds since the brilliant low budget indie, Buried, and he’s been the prime mover in getting this ultra-violent, potty-mouthed franchise onto the big screen, but really, I expected a bit more than this.

Reynolds plays former Special Forces Op, Wade Wilson, now reduced to beating up hoods to earn beer money. His world changes when he meets Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) and a love affair ensues, but it’s cut horribly short when Wade discovers he’s in the late stages of inoperable cancer. When he’s offered the chance of salvation, the opportunity to be turned into a ‘superhero’ he reluctantly goes along with it. But the process is a slow and painful one, administered by the psychopathic Ajax (Ed Skrein) and once transformed (and hideously scarred into the process) ‘Deadpool’ swears revenge on the man who has turned him into a superman.

I don’t want to be completely negative about the film. I enjoyed the opening slo-mo credits sequence, (if the rest of it had been as classy, this would be a kinder review) and just occasionally a few of the wisecracks actually made me smirk. But the 15 rating allows for quite horrible levels of carnage and when two characters from the X-Men franchise wander in trying to enlist Deadpool to their team, it starts to feel as formulaic as any of the other spandex-clad offerings out there. Fight sequences (and there are a lot of them) seem to go on for ages and watching indestructible people being repeatedly punched in  the head really isn’t my idea of fun. For all it’s much-vaunted ‘originality,’ the film ultimately comes down to a man rescuing his girlfriend from the bad guys, a trope we’ve seen a gazillion times before.

I’d be the first to admit that this probably wasn’t aimed at the likes of me. Advance word is that Deadpool has wracked up impressive viewing figures in the USA and a sequel is inevitable. I for one, won’t be in any hurry to repeat the experience. This is a big, loud, slick slice of mayhem, with occasional signs that suggest it could have been so much more than that.

2.5 stars

Philip Caveney

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