Based upon Marvel Comics’ most unconventional anti-hero, DEADPOOL tells the origin story of former Special Forces operative turned mercenary Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds), who after being subjected to a rogue experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers, adopts the alter ego Deadpool. Armed with his new abilities and a dark, twisted sense of humor, Deadpool hunts down the man who nearly destroyed his life.

Deadpool finally bursts on to the big screen proper with a blur of flying body parts and the sound of broken bones.

The result is an irreverent, bloody, offensive, relentlessly juvenile and highly enjoyable blast of superhero nonsense that crucially knows full well that men and women dressing up in spandex and saving the world is inherently nonsense.

It's a film that embraces the comic character's tendency to break the fourth wall so completely that even its post credits scene is a meta gag about post credits scenes (though not necessarily the ones you'd expect).

Key to making all these potentially tiresome nods and winks to superhero movies work is Ryan Reynolds himself, committing to 'Merc with a mouth' Wade Wilson with a level of conviction and enthusiasm for a comic book character that was entirely absent in both his first failed outing as the character in X-Men Origins: Wolverine and the Green Lantern (both ruthlessly dismissed here). An arsehole Deadpool may be but he's a very funny arsehole.

A decent supporting cast includes Morena Baccarin as the love interest, TJ Miller as his best friend Weasel, Leslie Uggams as his blind black OAP roommate, Karan Soni as an Indian cab driver and the wonderfully named Brianna Hildebrand as the equally wonderfully named X-Men trainee Negasonic Teenage Warhead. Some of them may not get the screen time they deserve but they all manage to make an impression nonetheless.

Slightly less interesting perhaps are Ed Skrein and Gina Carano as fairly standard villains.

Overall it's an entertaining if flawed effort that, meta gags and time-hopping narrative structure aside, is still a fairly conventional superhero origin/revenge story at its heart (and yes, one that comes complete with the requisite Stan Lee cameo). It's also, unsurprisingly perhaps, far from subtle (its idea of a depiction of female empowerment is to have Wilson's prostitute girlfriend celebrate International Women's Day by taking him from behind while wearing a strap-on) and one action set piece away from being truly great, yet still enjoyable enough to make all the effort to get the character faithfully to the screen worthwhile.

Review by Kevin Knapman

Deadpool (15)

1h 48m

Director: Tim Miller
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, T.J. Miller, Yorick Van Wageningen, Gina Carano, Brianna Hildebrand

UK Release: Wednesday 10th February 2016