It’s looking increasingly likely that Deadpool will become the highest grossing R-rated movie there’s ever been, so I should probably write something about it, even though it came out on Valentine’s day and we’ve already passed Easter. Will this success start a trend of R-rated movies? Yes, it already has. We’ve already been told that we’ll be getting an ultimate bummer edition of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice which is more than a half hour longer and totally hard R violent. I think the next Wolverine movie will probably go for an R as well. Basically everyone’s going to try to be cool by being more violent, except Disney, who will are quite happy with cute animals/Marvel/Star Wars, thankyouverymuch.
I’ve always thought of liking Deadpool as the comic book equivalent of being a huge Dane Cook fan. The people who like him seem to really like him, but only him, and have like zero appreciation for the actual art form. It doesn’t help that the character’s biggest champion for the last few years has been Ryan Reynolds, the Dane Cook of acting. In fact, I was downright wary of this movie. Not to a Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice degree, but the trailers didn’t do much for me and the outpouring of excitement from Reddit probably hurt more than it helped. What turned me around? Colin liked it. And Colin has little tolerance for super heroes these days.
So why would a man like Colin give a pass to a movie like Deadpool? For one, Deadpool exists to simultaneously celebrate and shit on comic book super hero movies. The timing couldn’t have been any better, with 2016’s slate of movies threatening to be a breaking point for fans who survived the various breaking points of 2014 and 2015. When Deadpool goes to Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, he quickly roasts the X-Men franchise and the limited budget of his own movie. He’s aware of tropes and often tries to subvert or at least mock them when they come up. Deadpool is a character basically free of consequence, and he revels in that freedom.
Basically, Deadpool‘s more like an OK comedy movie than anything we’ve seen so far, as the jokes extend from the opening titles all the way past the end of the credits. A lot of it’s referential, and not even necessarily to comic books or super heroes. I mean, that after credits scene is mostly funny if you know about Ferris Bueller‘s after credits scene. Even that hard R violence isn’t free of the funny, as Deadpool will either mock his enemies, kill them is grotesque ways, or get himself injured in a slapstick fashion. I’m starting to describe what comedy is now, so I’ll stop and just say the somewhat immature humor landed for me more often than not, and made the whole thing worthwhile.
Frankly, I just didn’t think the potential for a character that wants to be only vulgar, violent, and very aware that he’s in a comic was that great. That leaves no room for subtlety or genuine insight, for the human connection that makes Superman, Spider-Man, or Batman stories great. Yeah, I guess if the lampshading was extremely on point, Deadpool could have been the Airplane! of super hero movies, but realistically, I was expecting maybe a Spaceballs. It was in the ballpark. A good movie, with a game cast, if not necessarily one that will be memorable for me. But to you Deadpool guys (because I know you’re all men): hey, congratulations. You made it. Please take pity on us Superman fans.