‘Deadpool’: Strictly for fans only (IANS Review, Rating: **)

Film: “Deadpool”; Director: Tim Miller; Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Ed Skrein, T.J. Miller, Morena Baccarin, Gina Carano, Stefan Kapacic, Brianna Hildebrand and Leslie Uggams; Rating: **

“Deadpool” is sure to elicit a bipolar reaction. Based on Marvel Comics’s most unconventional anti-hero, “Deadpool” is the original story of a former Special Forces operative who turns into a mercenary and is now out to seek revenge against the man who nearly destroyed his life.

Designed as a raunchy action-packed film, the narration begins on a snappy, frivolous note with snazzy opening credits that read – God’s Perfect Hero, A Moody teen, A CGI Character.

Narrated in a non-linear manner, the film opens with a masked Deadpool hitching a ride in a cab to waylay thugs, on a busy motorway. But before getting into the first action sequence, which is racy, brutal and generic, he reveals, “The best love story starts with a murder”.

This lays the foundation for a gory love story to unravel along with his interesting back-story. It reveals how Wade Wilson, a former Special Forces guy with decent good looks is transformed into Deadpool — the mask-wearing hero with superpowers and whose face, “like an avocado”, elicits a cringe-inducing effect.

On the performance front, Ryan Reynolds with his bohemian prankster attitude with twisted humour, propels the film from its harried start to its blockbuster finale. He oscillates between Wade Wilson and his alter ego Deadpool, with the ease and grace of a panther.

A far cry from a superhero template, he is tough and agile with a scandalously profane tongue that blabbers non-stop and katana swords that he carries along with his attitude. He breaks through the so-called fourth wall, talking directly to the audience. And more often than not, it works.

Morena Baccarin as Wade’s love interest Vanessa Carlysle is well-cast and worth a mention. She is engaging with her feisty presence and shares a great on-screen chemistry with Ryan. Together, they make an ideal couple.

Ed Skrein as Ajax, Wade’s nemesis is far from fear-provoking, but it is Gina Carano as his assistant, Angel Dust who steals the show with her grit and power.

In his endeavour, Deadpool is assisted by Two X-Men – Colossus in a motion-captured performance by Stefan Kapicic and Brianna Hildebrand as Negasonic Teenage Warhead. They try to intervene to keep the delicate balance between mutants and humanity from getting too violent.

In sub-plots, Leslie Uggams summons up some good laughs as Deadpool’s blind roommate, while T.J. Miller as his best buddy Weasel brings a dollop of shrewdness to his character as the barman at Sister Margaret’s Home for Wayward Girls — the watering hole where Wade hangs out with other toughies.

Debutant director Tim Miller with his background in animation gives sleek visuals with some amazing action sequences. But what does not work for the film is its quirky screenplay with forced faux-edgy humour. The shallow script which intertwines the other superhero universes adds to the disappointment.

Indian audiences will be fascinated with the Indian character Bhupendra and the background score that plays in his cab.

This film will appeal to Deadpool fans and those who like to see mindless action which is coupled with bawdy dialogues to humour their sensibilities, this Valentine.

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