There comes a time in the life of a film studio when things begin to saturate, the glories of the past start breathing down its neck while it becomes increasingly aware that the juices in the machine are running out and the status quo is nothing but an annoying buzz in the head.
A time to call on the gods of novelty, a time to reinvent.
But if the studio in question is in the business of making superhero movies in the mid-2010s, chances are, the gods might be difficult to please.
In 2008, when Robert Downey Jr put on his iron suit for the first time, it was a widely accepted fact that something of consequence was at hand. It was around the same time Christopher Nolan upped the ante with The Dark Knight. The movies were followed by Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America and yes, The Avengers.
But then there was more Iron Man, more Thor, more Captain America, and certainly more Avengers. Although we did see Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man around this time, a thick layer of saturation had settled on the studios. Where to go from here?
Like the character in the movie, the movie itself was an experiment to inject new life into the superhero genre and save it from a slow but certain death.
And just like in the movie, a success.
In a time when even the most (supposedly) action-packed movies shy away from the 'R' rating, Deadpool turned the game on its head.
Wipe away all your memories of the character that made his debut on the big screen in the cringe-worthy X-Men Origins: Wolverine, the new Deadpool is bloody (and) hilarious.
It might seem like an easy job for the creators to kick off a new franchise with the sheer amount of content and story arcs at their disposal, but as we have learnt on numerous occasions in the recent past, it is quite easy to lose the very fabric of the characters and the environment they breath in while translating them the pages of the comic books to that of the the silver screen.
For the ones familiar with the comic book avatar of the character, rejoice, this over the top meta adaption is an 101 in how to do it right.
From the very opening credits, it is clear that the creators of this one are not planning to hold back. In fact, keeping up with the notion of bringing something new to the table, every trick in the book is used to make it as outlandish and shocking as possibly, all the while dodging the pitfalls of such efforts.
Although the movie can be gift-wrapped as a superhero movie, with a ribbon of a love story on top, it will be wiser to discuss the package inside in terms of action and humor on the sheer account of the outrageous nature of both.
The action sequences so violent and unflinching, and the humour so crude and twisted, it will challenge the most seasoned cinephiles to find a film that pulls off both as well. But, if there are any real (super)heroes in this production, it's the writers. The script — loaded with self-references, its takes on the superhero movie cliches, its bashing of production studios and of course, sex jokes — is crafted in such a manner that you'll be hard-pressed to find a single dull moment.
The protagonist breaks the fourth wall at will, and when he does, he taps into the mind of the the viewers. You catch yourself thinking about a certain aspect of the movie, and suddenly the frame freezes, Deadpool looks you in the eye, breaks the fourth wall and joins you on that train of thought. Indeed, the best laughs of the film come not from the jokes played out in the various sequences, but from the self-referential/meta ones involving X-Men movies, movie budgets, the actor's previous ventures and a certain someone's acting skills.
Speaking of acting skills, Ryan Reynolds exorcises his demons and returns to reprise the role of the superhero in red spandex. Although, much of the movie is spend behind the mask, Reynolds slips perfectly into the shoes of Deadpool (not sure whether or not one should be proud of that aspect).
Ed Skrein plays the bad-guy Ajax, who is being hunted by Deadpool so that he can exact some revenge after Skrein's character (as Deadpool puts it) "fu**ed up his face" in an experiment — which gave 'Pool his powers to begin with. But, as the film insists, this is also a love story. And Deadpool's love is Vanessa, played by Morena Baccarin. Although the major theme of the movie revolves around Wade's (Deadpool) attempts to reunite with Vanessa and save her from not-so-good guys, the "love story" completely blends into the overall tone of the movie.
The movie also features Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) of the X-Men in a love-hate relationship with Deadpool; Angel Dust (Gina Carano) and Bob (Rob Hayter) — all of whom come together in spectacularly choreographed easy-to-follow action sequences and jokes that would embarrass even Les Grossman.
It is easy to notice that the movie had a smaller budget — than its more illustrious Marvel or DC counterparts — which restricted the use of CGI, but this only makes the movie look more gritty and not as though it was entirely put together on a computer. What this means is that the CGI, when used, looks rather good.
It is hard to pick flaws in the film, which proves again how important writers are to a production. Although, at some points, it must be stated that the unpredictability of the jokes becomes predictable and that the element of surprise is lost.
It's unfair to compare this movie with other Marvel or even DC projects. But what this film does — and does very well — is to give the studio some breathing space and licence to experiment further in the future.
But at the same time, the studios must not get too comfortable. Every once in a while, a movie does well in the box office and the fact is taken as cue to set a 'tone' which becomes the blueprint for future projects — used so repetitively that it loses its charm. The lesson here is to avoid that.
So, is this the perfect Valentine's Day movie you've been waiting for?
The simple and the correct answer is: Yes.
PS: There is a post-credits scene.
PPS: There's no Nick Fury in the post-credits scene.