Okay, it’s landed on the back of two years of solid hype, and the critics haven’t been kind. But I’ve never met anyone who has stayed away from a superhero flick because a critic didn’t like it, so I don’t think a few slatings are going to sink this one; there’s a billion dollar franchise riding on it, after all.
If you’re looking for something a little different in the super-hero genre, then I’m going to gently turn your head in the direction of 1602. Once again, I’m a bit late to the party, but now that I’m here, I’m hooked.
Marvel Comics likes to reimagine its popular (and unpopular) characters in alternate histories, and I usually find them a bit dull. 1602 is a little different, probably because it was written by Neil Gaiman. This series imagines an alternate history where the super-heroes were born 300 years earlier – in England during the reign of Queen Elisabeth I. All the books are beautifully drawn (especially the covers), the story is imaginative and beautifully told. Surprisingly, it doesn’t gloss over some of the less politically correct aspects of the day, such as the persecution of Jews by the Catholic church. I’m probably two books away from the end but I’m giving the whole series a big thumbs up.
Er… no Deadpool though.
Well… he’s finally made to the big screen – one of the most politically incorrect superheroes ever created. I don’t think there’s much point explaining Deadpool’s background: you either know him or you don’t.
What? Okay, here’s the short version: a former special forces operative suffering from terminal cancer agrees to undergo an experimental procedure to make it a bit less terminal. It works, after a fashion, granting him healing abilities hijacked from Wolverine and amped to a level where he can regenerate missing body parts.
Now, you’d think that being granted a second chance at life would make him a little more grateful. Unfortunately, the experiment leaves our anti-hero horribly disfigured, so no, there’s not a lot of gratitude, but an awful lot of sour grapes.
Deadpool is one of Marvel Comics’ surprise success stories. He has no moral compass, so it’s a happy accident that he seems to end up fighting on the right side.
And the film itself is brilliant; possibly my favourite comic flick of all time. It’s like National Lampoon decided to make a superhero movie. The plot is simple and workable, and along the way the movie pokes fun at itself and the whole genre with the occasional play to the camera (easy to overdo this sort of thing; Deadpool sails close, but just manages to keep it this side of tedious). The fight sequences are excellently staged and the action scenes are tightly directed and a little gory in places. But this is Deadpool; we weren’t expecting anything less from a man who’ll dismember himself while he’s drunk.
And woven through the mayhem, you’ll actually find a little bit of a love story; just enough to make you root for him anyway.
But best of all, it is very very funny; laugh-out-loud funny in fact. This film has been hyped for months and I’m glad that I wasn’t disappointed. I bought another ticket on my way out, so I’ve got no choice but to give it ten out of ten.