[Deadpool spoilers probably follow. It won’t be anything too dramatic or earth-shattering but if you want nothing at all to be spoiled about the movie, go see it and then come back.]
Deadpool was a damn good movie. I’ve been interested in the merc with a mouth (as most people know him to be called) since I first started comics–in fact, his comics (#1-8 backlogged) were the first comics I ever owned. I’ve waited impatiently for his movie to come out for years, though recently I’ll admit I’ve been hesitant and a bit nervous.
Wade Wilson’s life–and outlook–are pretty fucked up. Sure, he’s got tons of humor and we all like his jokes about chimichangas. However, the Deadpool game (Activision, 2013) is a good example of why I’ve been so hesitant to get excited about his newfound popularity. The game was a lot of Deadpool patting himself on the back about how awesome he is (not unheard of for him by any stretch but not exactly why anyone likes him) and cheap fart/food jokes. It was a classic beat-em-up video game, sure, but I didn’t feel like it had any of the grit and feeling that I wanted from a Deadpool game.
(High class stuff, see.)
There’s a great tumblr post that I’ve seen circling around plenty that sums up some of the important facts about Wade Wilson that often get pushed aside for his more quirky quips about Mexican food.
It’s a lot easier to reduce him to just a bunch of jokes, making him what I like to call the Gir of comic books. (Remember Gir, from Invader Zim? Super random, super dumb, known for spawning a zillion quotes about wanting waffles?) There’s even a reddit thread about this comparison.
Deadpool is so much more than that, however, and the movie delivered that in a way I was not even able to hope to expect. It was funny in the fart joke way but also incredibly witty. The fourth wall jokes were more than just “ha, yeah, that’s me, I’m a badass.” They were intertextual, insightful, surprising, and legitimately funny.
Deadpool was also a sufficiently gory, dark, and fucked up movie. (One dad brought an 8-year-old-kid in to our theater and then promptly left again, luckily before the multiple sex scenes or strip club scene. By the way, Stan Lee’s cameo was the most clever and appropriate one I’ve seen him do yet.)
People have already spoken up in praise of the film (which is closing in on $500 million at the box office), as well as leveled fair criticism, notably about the 2 1/2 rape jokes in the movie. (I say 1/2 because one of them was a poorly handled scene but right on the edge of it.)
People have also started speaking up about a logical fear that movie studios will see the success of Deadpool’s gory, R-rated, smutty hilarity and try to emulate it.
As both above tweets put it, the idea is to be different. Deadpool is such a unique case for that brand of humor and darkness that I can’t readily think of any other hero (or antihero) that could fit the niche to emulate it. Not to mention there’s probably no one who can do it as well as Deadpool.
So what do we take from Deadpool? That we want something new. We want something separate from DC’s current ubergrit routine or Marvel’s family fun formulaic cutesy that we’ve been getting. Deadpool bridged them both.
Here’s hoping that other studios follow suit in breaking the mold, not just trying to trudge along after the merc with a mouth. It’s a pretty gross and bloody trail to follow, anyway.