(AKA background information on myself and how important this movie & character was and is to me - with zero spoils!)
I should preface this sort of review (which, six paragraphs in at the time of typing this, is still not a review) by saying that I’ve been waiting for this movie ever since Wade’s appearance was first rumoured as a platform for a spin-off film during the production of X-Men Origins: Wolverine. When the movie was officially announced in 2009 I had already boarded the hype train. It’s been nearly 8 years since then, and it’s been 11 long years for Ryan Reynolds, six and a half for writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick and first time director Tim Miller.
Deadpool is a hugely important character for me, he’s only my all-time favourite character from any medium. I identify with his lack of self confidence and desire to be better, even if he does get frustrated with himself and fuck up a whole lot (the homicidal tendencies are less frequent). I probably wouldn’t even be the same wreck of a person without the character of Deadpool in my life.
I first branched out into reading comics thanks to his appearance in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, I joined Tumblr a few years down the line and met some absolutely fantastic people talking about Deadpool and getting involved in the RP community. I’ve met a lot of real friends who are absolutely wonderful people all through the character, and their passions for other Marvel Universe characters. I’ve traveled to Chicago three times (soon to be four!), I’ve read new comics and done things I didn’t think I’d ever be confident enough to do and I can easily say I would not have met those friends, flown so far or got involved in so many new things without Deadpool opening those doors. Maybe that’s dumb or oversimplifying things but it’s how I feel, he’s been a life-changing fictional discovery. Not bad for a character most people write off as a one-note joke.
With this movie being something I’ve wanted for nearly eight years, there have been a lot of ups and downs. Green lights, red lights, Ryan Reynolds being visibly frustrated and calling it ‘the worst relationship [he] ever had’. It got to the point around May 2014 when I figured the movie was never, ever going to be made. I read the leaked script dated 2010, I liked the script. It was solid, it had good jokes, it would have been insane (and the movie is). Fast forward a couple of months and San Diego Comic Con hits, only the thing that hit the news hardest wasn’t even… whatever movies they had out that year. The long-rumoured Deadpool test footage ‘accidentally’ leaked.
Holy shit. Holy shit. I lost my mind, I lost. My. Mind. That’s when the #Deadpool Movie tag started on my blog and it’s been posted in consistently since that day, twenty four hours later and Deadpool was given the green light by the studio. September 19th, it’s announced, Deadpool was to hit the big screen early 2016 with production beginning in March 2015.
Ryan Reynolds kicked off the now legendary marketing campaign with the picture of the full costume on the bearskin rug (echoing Burt Reynolds), days later set photos were pouring in from Vancouver. The suit was perfect, the hype was real, the hype train never stopped but by now it was going a million miles an hour.
Fast forward to last night, February 10th 2016, where I’m sitting with friends in the local cinema with arguably the best seats in the house an hour before the ads even begin. Expectations were high.
The review starts here!
Deadpool begins exactly as you’d hope, it sets the tone for the rest of the movie with glee which is infectious. I’ve never heard a full cinema laugh so much and so hard at a movie before, and never so consistently. The jokes are unrelenting, I missed several lines of dialogue because I and other people were laughing so hard. The action is incredible, stylistically shot and beautifully captured. Junkie XL’s score is pulse pounding and fits the character to a T, seeing Deadpool move on screen and land hits to the beat of the soundtrack never gets old.
The movie is based primarily on my favourite run of the Deadpool comics by Joe Kelly, including supporting cast created by Fabian Nicieza, Rob Liefeld and Kelly himself (Weasel, Blind Al, Vanessa & Ajax) who the movie uses for great effect. The locations from Kelly’s run have been updated, the origin has been tweaked and the characters have been altered slightly but it works and it works well. Without delving into spoiler territory I have a theory for the updated origin which I’m dying to share, but with the movie not releasing in the US until tomorrow it will have to wait.
The supporting cast absolutely nails it. Morena Baccarin as Vanessa is equal parts feisty and caring, showing layers to Vanessa and a maturity the comics never quite reached. Wade and Vanessa have fantastic chemistry and they bounce off of one another incredibly well. Their relationship is considerably healthier than their comic counterparts, with the relationship in the movie likely what the comic incarnation of Vanessa imagined it being. There’s no abuse, no aggression, it’s touching and makes up the heart of the entire film.
TJ Miller as Weasel falls into a slightly different job role than Weasel from the comics but, again, it works. His dynamic with Wade is perfect, they have some fantastic back and forths and he gets some good laughs. I wish he was in the movie more.
Leslie Uggams as Blind Al, again, lifted directly from the page but given an update appropriate for the movie, she shares the same fantastic relationship with Wade as she does in Kelly’s books but, again, minus the abuse. Their dynamic is razor sharp, with pranks and an Ikea obsession which works out exactly as you’d expect.
Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) is the highlight of the Merc With A Mouth’s interactions with the X-Men, with Deadpool and Negasonic exchanging verbal jousts more often than not. Colossus (Stefan Kapicic), who I felt did not work in the script, practically shines as the straight man to Deadpool’s comedy act.
Ajax (Ed Skrein) and Angel Dust (Gina Carano) are sneering, self-satisfied villains and a key component in the aforementioned theory I have, which might add a layer of depravity to them which some reviewers have said is missing. Ajax works as the head of the Workshop, an unfeeling, charismatic bastard working to create superslaves for nefarious purposes. Angel Dust, his right-hand-woman, is intimidating and a force to be reckoned with whenever she’s on screen. They’re both having a great time and the performances are enjoyable.
But the main draw here, of course, is Deadpool, Ryan Reynolds himself. This is not the cartoon character from Daniel Way’s 2008 to 2012 run, this is not a voices-in-his-head, hallucinating meme machine. This is a broken, tortured man trying to right his wrongs through good old fashioned revenge and bloodletting while covering up his pain with some fucking hilarious jokes. There’s violent outbursts when things don’t go his way, blended with a sense of humour that can go anywhere from self-depreciating all the way to outright offensive. The tragic origin is brutal and at times hard to watch, Reynolds sells it and he sells it well. When Wade Wilson is angry, you can feel it, his presence on the screen is always commanding and when he comes to blows with his opponents it’s with violence that would be uncomfortable if it was continuously played straight. The character balances on and continuously blurs those lines throughout the entire movie.
Ryan Reynolds is perfectly cast, I had my doubts at first, unsure if he was the right person to pull Wade Wilson off (despite Deadpool himself comparing his looks to Ryan crossed with a Shar-Pei during Cable & Deadpool #2, in 2004). Within the very first scene when Ryan embodies Deadpool it is perfect, Rob Liefeld was absolutely right when he said that people would not be able to see anybody else filling the shoes of this character, like Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark.
The character and the tragedy behind him was the most important part, for me, to see translated onto the screen. I did not want the Deadpool from the 2013 videogame or the Deadpool from Way’s comics on the silver screen, I wanted the Joe Kelly, Fabian Nicieza, Gail Simone, Rick Remender, Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan Deadpool up there, blasting people away and cracking wise. I got the tragic backstory, written by people who understand the character played by an actor who actually gets it.
My friend asked me what I thought after the credits rolled and the post-credits tags faded. Was Deadpool worth waiting the eight years for? We have the Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick Deadpool on the screen now, a mixture of all other writers who have come before them, this depiction of Deadpool is fucking incredible and, dare I say it, just as good. Yes, it was worth the wait.
You spoke, and I listened. I am pleased to say i have, in conjunction with Print Club London, had a variant edition of my Princess Mononoke print from the Blisters Directors cut show printed. The print sold out at the show and so many of you emailed and contacted me to see if there would be another edition or if any prints remained. So i decided that i would do a variant edition so people had a chance to buy something new and the folks who kindly bought the original edition didn’t feel cheated by reprinting it exactly. so i hope this print is sufficiently new and exciting but not too different.
So… we have a brand new colourway, a metallic gold ink layer and some new details to the image.
specs for the print are pretty much the same as before,
edition of 40 / signed and numbered / 4 colours plus one metallic /
release date TBC, price TBC. These will be available on Printclubs online store and my store as well..
Keep your eyes out on my Twitter feed and here on tumblr for details of release. i’d imagine next week.