Although many people like to complain (perhaps with good reason) about the seemingly never-ending glut of superhero movies that Hollywood has been churning out in recent years, many of said people are not aware of just how broad the superhero genre actually is in its original comic book form. Not everybody is a square-jawed do-gooder who saves the day by beating up the bad guy – the concept of a “superhero” has been chewed up and spat out for decades now on the page, and there are a whole host of antiheroes, deconstructionist experiments and downright weird subversions of the more well-known basic setups. One such example is Deadpool, a character who frequently breaks the fourth wall, seems to be completely self-aware that he operates inside a comic book medium and has a tendency to wholeheartedly embrace portrayals of sex and violence that you don’t often see from his fictional contemporaries.

It’s both surprising and tremendously entertaining to see pretty much all of these traits present and correct in his first big-screen solo outing, which makes for a genuinely refreshing and unusual take on a familiar premise. Pitched as an out-and-out comedy it succeeds handsomely, gleefully poking fun at the very genre it’s a part of (even to the point of taking the piss out of the other X-Men films and lead Ryan Reynolds’ previous forays into this area). The violence is also amped up to an almost disturbing degree at times, and the sexual content is hardly shied away from – it’s difficult to imagine a pegging scene in the official Marvel Cinematic Universe films, for example. The decision to essentially make a comic book superhero film for adults completely pays off, and although the film tries to have its cake and eat it (for all its tonal subversion, the plot still plays out just like any other movie of this type) it should be commended for pushing the boundaries of its genre and finding something fresh and new in a familiar field.

DEADPOOL
A bold attempt to faithfully adapt what many thought was an unfilmable property9
Probably the funniest superhero movie ever made9
Openly subverting genre expectations and not being afraid to mock itself9
Really thoroughly making the point that explicit sex and violence can work in this type of film9
Still sticking to the tried and tested superhero template7
Bechdel Test Passes
  • Features more than one named female character
Bechdel Test Failures
  • None of the named female characters talk to each other
9Overall Score

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