|'Reynolds' second crack of the Deadpool whip wholly deserves a continued position in the X-Men film universe'.|
If you're a fifteen-year-old boy, then there's a significant chance that Deadpool is your new favourite film. If you're not a fifteen-year-old boy, then this latest entry into the ever-expanding, increasingly dominant field of big screen comic book adaptations will still undoubtedly entertain, whilst also feeling remarkably familiar in its narrative structure.
Having not been a fifteen-year-old boy for quite some time, my opinions on Tim Miller's directorial debut fall firmly into the latter camp. Deadpool is both fun and solidly made, but essentially conforms to the template of a superhero origins film, something that becomes ever more apparent as the plot unfolds. Miller does mix things up a little by presenting the first half of his film out of chronological order, but there's no getting away from the customary beats throughout the script that the director is perfectly happy to follow.
With such a conventional narrative at its core, Deadpool also falls into a few other familiar pitfalls of the comic book genre. Primary antagonist Ajax (Ed Skrein), whilst offering a more personal adversary for Reynolds' anti-hero to face off against than yet another villain bent on world domination, lacks the development to become genuinely memorable; a problem magnified further in his henchwoman Angel Dust (Gina Carano). Whilst X-Men members Colossus (Stefan Kapičić) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) arguably present the same issue on the side of the good guys, both are redeemed somewhat by presenting a necessary and counterpoint to Deadpool's violent and amoral brand of justice.
It's therefore down to Reynolds to build Miller's film from its solid but somewhat by-the-book origin story foundations, a job he carries out admirably from the very beginning to the film's brilliantly conceived post-credits scene. It's clear that the leading man is a genuine fan of the character - evidenced further through his additional credit as a producer - and both Wade Wilson and his fourth-wall-breaking alter ego feel like perfect matches to Reynolds' acting idiosyncrasies. Unlike 2009's version of the character, which deserved to be buried, Reynolds' second crack of the Deadpool whip wholly deserves a continued position in the X-Men film universe.
Providing Reynolds with plentiful material to work with is a script that is unrestrained in its humour, often refreshingly so. In amongst the fairly constant stream of coarse gags - giving the teenagers in the audience something to giggle at throughout and then quote incessantly after watching - there are some genuinely sharp lines with seemingly very little off the table. Look out for jokes at the expense of the X-Men franchise, 2011's Green Lantern and even Deadpool's own relatively small budget in comparison to other Fox comic book films. It's just a shame that the studio weren't willing to give other less inspired areas of Miller's film the same freedom for unorthodox creativity, as it would likely have elevated the consistently very good Deadpool to genuine excellence.