Deadpool (the character, and the movie), is obsessed with equating sex and violence. When he says “I’m touching myself tonight” after murdering a bunch of dudes, it isn’t just a wisecrack. He really means it. It’s a kind of miracle that the ensuing scene doesn’t play out as repulsive, rather it’s genuinely funny, as is most of the film, thanks to Ryan Reynolds dialling up his charm as well as his smirk, and a tonal tightrope of a script from Zombieland writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick.
The marketing surrounding Deadpool has loudly proclaimed it a superhero movie for adults, or at least adults who want to indulge their inner teenagers’ desire for dick jokes and ultra violence. The closest comparison in terms of R-rated, self-aware super heroics are the Kick-Ass films, but this is even less subtle, obliterating the fourth wall early on. I worried this meta schtick might wear thin, but the constant ‘this is all a movie’ jokes end up being some of the best gags.
Going all-in on its outrageous content means Deadpool does stand out from the horde of superhero movies, mostly for its potty mouth but also for a pretty grim torture sequence and some nudey sex scenes (and a completely arbitrary few minutes in a strip club). But it’s also pleasingly small-scale. The world isn’t in peril, Deadpool just wants his girl back. It’s a scrappy, lowbrow little movie that really wants to offend as well as amuse, and succeeds on both counts.