Meet Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds), a former Special Forces operative who now works as a mercenary in New York. His world comes crashing down when scientist Ajax (Ed Skrein) - who promises to cure Wade's terminal cancer - instead tortures, disfigures and transforms him into a mutant who decides to become a masked vigilante and adopts the name Deadpool. The experiment leaves Wilson with accelerated healing powers and a twisted sense of humour. With help from X-Men allies Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand), Deadpool uses his new skills to resuce his love Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) and hunt down the man who nearly destroyed his life.
A straightforward synopsis for a film that is anything but straightforward. Right from the sarcastic opening credits (such as "starring God's perfect idiot", "directed by an overpaid tool", "produced by asshats" and "written by the real heroes here"), Deadpool is your standard superhero origin film while being anything but "standard". Plotwise, it's as regulation as they come and we've seen a hundred times before. But it's in the execution of this standard format that really sets Deadpool apart from the pack. For a start, Deadpool might be super, but he's no hero – he only cares about himself and his girlfriend, and is happy to kill anyone who gets in his way. He's no X-Man, to be sure, even though Colossus keeps trying to recruit him. And the film itself is irreverent and quite cheeky, outrageously funny, exceedingly violent and full of pop-culture references – all while beautifully sending up comic-book and action-film clichés. Reynolds often breaks the fourth wall, refers to other characters in the Marvel universe (paying particular attention to Wolverine), and is sarcastic and self-deprecating. Oh, and the film probably sets some kind of record for dick jokes – plus it's got the best-ever Stan Lee cameo.
Deadpool is a classic example of how to do a movie right. I haven't read the Deadpool comics, but I have it on good authority that it sticks very closely to the tone and spirit of the source material. Reynolds is a big fan of the character and has wanted to do a proper Deadpool film for a long time – and this more than makes up for the poor treatment of the character in 2009's X-Men Origins: Wolverine (in which he was also played by Reynolds, but with his mouth sewn shut – where's the fun in that?). The film had massive success on its theatrical release – critics and audiences alike loved it and it made bucketloads of money for Fox (at last count, a worldwide total of $780.5 million against a budget of $58 million). The marketing campaign was also very well done, with Reynolds taking gleeful part in a series of clever online videos.
A sequel is already locked in, which will hopefully be just as much fun, or even more so, than this first outing. Ryan Reynolds can take a bow, because a lot of the success of Deadpool is down to him – he inhabits the role as though he was born to play it, and stands alongside Robert Downey Jr's Tony Stark/Iron Man and spot-on Marvel casting. If you like your superheroes fun, fast, edgy and somewhat profane, then Deadpool is definitely one to add to your collection – just keep it away from young kids!
• Deadpool is out now on Digital HD, Blu-ray and DVD, from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
EXTRAS: A terrific collection, kicking off with two Audio Commentaries – one with star Ryan Reynolds and screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, and the second with director Tim Miller and Deadpool co-creator/comics srtist Rob Liefeld. There's also Deleted/Extended Scenes (19:14), with an optional commentary by Miller; a good Gag Reel (6:12); the making-of documentary From Comics to Screen ... to Screen (1:20:00), as a series of five featurettes; an Image Gallery that includes Concept Art, Costumes and Storyboards; and Deadpool's Fun Sack, a collection of the marketing videos and trailers (both green and red band). Chikka chikka...