If you are expecting a schmaltzy, feel-good superhero film, be warned: Deadpool is firmly not that.

This is a cheeky irreverent “superzero” film about a fast-talking former special operations agent who becomes the subject of inhuman experiments at the hands of Ajax/Francis (Ed Skrein from the Game of Thrones). When attempts to stimulate his latent mutant genes result in complete disfiguration, Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) decides it’s time for revenge.

The film opens with spoof credits: there are no names, just archetypes: “hot chick,” “moody teen,” “British villain,” “comic relief” and so on. In the first scene Deadpool (Reynolds) is riding in the back of a taxi playing Mera Joota Hai Japani. The driver introduces himself as Dopinder and the red-and-black masked spandex-suited character replies, “Pool, Dead”. Since Deadpool’s spandex suit doesn’t allow him to fit in a wallet, he pays Dopinder in high fives.

The tone has been set. Deadpool frequently breaks the fourth wall to takes us back in time and explain why this is a love story. The deeply troubled no-hoper Wade falls madly and lustily in love with the equally damaged Vanessa (Morena Baccarin from Homeland). When he is diagnosed with cancer, Wade submits to an off-the-grid treatment that promises to cure him. This is where he meets the ruthless Ajax.

Going meta

Believing that he is going to be transformed into a superhero, Wade remarks that he doesn’t want a green suit or an animated one, clearly referencing Reynolds’s disastrous outing as Green Lantern in the superhero movie from 2011. Yes, everything is meta about this film with plenty of sharp quips about Wolverine, Hugh Jackman and the X-Men. (Deadpool made an appearance in X-Men Origins: Wolverine).

Wade’s love story transforms into a horror story and his scarred body is likened to avocado (“like an avocado had sex with an older avocado”) and “testicles with teeth”. He is transformed into Deadpool, a super-specimen with immense strength, speed and accelerated healing abilities.

Director Tim Miller and screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick turn the superhero formula sideways. Deadpool advocates murder and revenge. When guns fire, brains splatter. This is no cutesy, do-gooder superhero for kids. Deadpool is the antihero and he loves it. (The profanity and violence have been sanitised for Indian audiences.) As far as origin stories go, this one’s a blast, in no small measure due to Reynolds, who clearly relishes the part, and director Tim Miller, who keeps you entertained and amused throughout.