‘A fourth wall break inside a fourth wall break? That’s like, sixteen walls…’
Due to its gargantuan success, there are plenty of naysayers looking to tear apart the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) at every opportunity. Accusations of ambitionless, bland action fare abound with the release of every new film in the Avengers series. Whilst there is a smidgen of truth to that, nobody can deny the ambition and bravery that Marvel has exhibited away from the Avengers franchise.
On paper, both Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant Man had the potential to be massive flops but both were critically and commercially successful and with Deadpool, Marvel has rolled the dice again. The success of Christopher Nolans darker, grittier reboot of Batman coupled with Marvel ramping up the violence for the first time in Daredevil and Jessica Jones, has perhaps helped to pave the way for Deadpool. Even taking that into account though, it is still initially jarring to see sex, violence and bad language in a superhero movie.
Ryan Reynolds has long been attached to this project, ever since his first appearance as Deadpool in Wolverine. Reynolds repeatedly promised fans a proper R rated film, in keeping with Deadpool’s persona in the comics, and this has been emphatically achieved. Swearing and violence alone don’t make for a good film however, but luckily Deadpool has many more strings to its bow aside from plain vulgarity.
In terms of the cast, Morena Baccarin has been in everything from Firefly to Homeland and she excels in her first major film role as Wade Wilsons love interest. Silicon Valley’s T.J. Miller is hilarious as always and Ed Skrein makes for a convincingly emotionless antagonist. It is Reynolds who holds everything together though, with a cocky but likeable turn.
Deadpool shows how effective a brainless action film can be when everything goes right. Even the marketing campaign was spot on, whether it was Reynolds showing up to interviews in the full Deadpool costume or even narrating his own honest trailer, MCU knows how to drum up interest and this has helped to push them alongside Pixar to the forefront of producing consistently successful films.
Traditionally, Sony’s X-Men franchise was perhaps the most moribund part of the MCU but Deadpool has provided a much needed shot in the arm. Still waiting for Marvel to trip up? Don’t hold your breath.