Chris Schulz is the deputy head of entertainment for the New Zealand Herald.

Movie review: Deadpool

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A scene from the movie Deadpool.
A scene from the movie Deadpool.

You have to wonder how this exchange slipped past Deadpool's financial executives.

"Why are there only two of you living in this gigantic mansion?" says the mutant man in red to fellow Marvel characters Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead. "It's almost as if the studio couldn't afford any more X-Men."

That wry dig that takes aim at Deadpool's underpowered US$50 million budget - less than a third of most Marvel movies - wouldn't happen in an Avengers film.

But there's lots that happens in Deadpool, a hilarious, ultra-violent and therefore fairly faithful adaptation of the cult comic book character, that you wouldn't see elsewhere in Marvel's overbearing, overly serious superhero universe.

Like the opening montage, which features a slow-motion car crash while crediting appearances by "a CGI character," a "moody teen" and "a British villain", before calling the film's director, first-timer Tim Miller, "an overpaid tool".

Or having Deadpool, played by a fizzing Ryan Reynolds, catching a taxi to his bad guy confrontations. Those two scenes that bookend the film deliver some of its best moments, thanks to brilliant banter and a creepy subplot that occurs between the supe and the cab's hopelessly lovelorn driver.

Then there's the climactic love sequence, in which Deadpool uncovers his face to reveal - spoiler alert - a wonky Hugh Jackman mask.

If you're sick of superhero movies, this the superhero movie for you.

"I'm super, but I'm no hero," warns Deadpool early on, before living up to his reputation with a thrillingly mad onslaught of dick jokes, bad taste asides, foul-mouthed rants, horrific torture sequences, dodgy sex scenes, an arm amputation and many, many more dick jokes. Thankfully, Reynolds delivers far more hits than misses and at just 108 minutes, Deadpool never outstays its welcome (remember to stay in your seat for some promised post-end-credits shenanigans).

You have to love a film that includes a fourth wall break during a fourth wall break, then has the main character tell a joke about it.

If there's one complaint, it's the fact that underpinning Deadpool's sly winks to the camera is a fairly generic superhero origins story.

It goes something like this: Man falls in love (to Morena Baccarin's Vanessa Carlysle); man gets terminal cancer; man offered chance to live by being injected with mutant drugs; drugs work, but man-mutant has falling out with dodgy doctor (Brit character actor Ed Skrein); dodgy doctor kidnaps girlfriend; big bad boss fight ensues.

By the time the big-thing-falls-from-sky finale is over, you can't help but think Deadpool's low budget might be starting to show - especially when Carlysle finds herself in a slow-moving death trap.

But Reynolds is superb as the smart-mouthed anti-action man, chewing up the scenery and easily wiping super-flop Green Lantern from the memory while delivering zinger after zinger.

He's got all of the swagger, and gets most of the LOLs. Let's hope next time Deadpool gets the budget to match them.

Director: Tim Miller
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Gina Carano, TJ Miller, Ed Skrein, Rachel Sheen
Running time: 108 mins
Rating: R16 (graphic violence, sex scenes and offensive language)
Verdict: Meet the superhero who's sick of superheroes

- TimeOut

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