There was some worries that 2016 might be the year that the superhero genre imploded. In fact, Steven Spielberg ominously predicted last year that it would soon go the way of the western. These fears have already proven to be unfounded, though. Because I can reveal that all is still well within the comic-book world. Why? Because of Deadpool. That’s why.
Having been privy to an early screening of Deadpool, I can emphatically reveal that the beloved Marvel Comics character has an edge and sharper, vitriolic wit that genuinely speaks to comic-book fans. It also delivers a new brand of gory and over the top violence that its peers haven’t had the rating to showcase. Even Steven Spielberg himself will be impressed.
Yet, Deadpool’s meta and subverted tone doesn’t just piss all over the genre that it’s now trying to fit into. Instead of being like the ignorant fan that’s annoyingly just being different for the sake of it, Deadpool pokes fun at its peers in a playful yet brazenly honest fashion. To try and quote, or even tease, any of his remarks wouldn’t be fair. Instead, I’ll just let you know that pretty much all of the time they land deliciously.
Even its measly budget, which is rumored to have come it at around $50 million – which, if true, is just under 1/6 of the $279.9 million Marvel reportedly spent on Avengers: Age Of Ultron, worked in the film's favor. Obviously, Deadpool wouldn’t be able to go toe to toe visually with its peers. So, instead, the action and fight sequences are tinged with humor and have an economy to them that not only lends itself perfectly to the film’s fast and furious pacing but was a necessity.
Deadpool really does have the feeling of a film for the fans. Just look at the recent revelation that there is a secret post-credits scene that the press wasn't privy to. Rather than risking this revelation being leaked before moviegoers even have the chance to see Deadpool, the studio and Team Deadpool kept it from view. Smart... and fan-savvy
That brings us to Ryan Reynolds. After Deadpool's underwhelming debut in Wolverine, the 39-year-old has been on a mission to finally do the character justice for sometime. But only if the character was given the freedom to be as vulgar and violent as necessary, and have the same fourth-wall breaking dynamic as he did with the audiences in the comics.
It also helps that Ryan Reynolds embodies the separate characters of Wade Wilson and Deadpool so perfectly. As Wade Wilson, he showcases an unrelentingly sexy magnetism that you just can’t take your eyes off, while when he turns into Deadpool, he still has the biting comedic timing to deliver the barrage of quips and jokes that have long been associated with the character. Something that he does without coming close to being annoying.
Most excitingly though is the fact that this is only the beginning. Because not only is Deadpool expected to return a hefty box office haul over the next few weeks, but Deadpool 2 has already been confirmed. And because of its, likely, impending success, Fox will now give the team an even bigger budget with which to cause mayhem.
Let’s just hope that Reynolds and his Deadpool team spend it wisely without diluting down the original’s tone. But since Deadpool was made on such a shoestring budget, the chances are they’ll respond to their new riches by just making jokes about them anyway.
While my knowledge of comic books isn’t at the level of some of my esteemed colleagues, I’ve always been a keen groupie for the genre. This is a love that first twinkled with Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man, but that fully kicked into gear with his 2004 follow-up – which, alongside The Dark Knight, is still my favorite comic book film of all time – and wasn’t hampered by Daredevil, Hulk, or The League Of Extraordinary Gentleman in between. (Seriously, I like that campy movie.)
While Batman had been a permanent fixture throughout the 1990s, it was the 2000 release of X-Men that really legitimized the comic-book genre and opened the door to the multi-stranded universes that are still thriving today. But, even though the box-office numbers continue to rise almost sixteen years after Bryan Singer’s mutant blockbuster, 2015 was the year that the genre threatened to stagnate. Not a lot. Probably not even a little. In fact, it would probably be more appropriate to say it plateaued.
That might seem strange when you consider that Avengers: Age Of Ultron grossed $1.405 billion. But the sequel failed to match the charm and thrills, or box office, of the original, instead coming across as a more exuberant re-hash. At the same time, fans couldn’t help but consider what the still enjoyable Ant-Man would have been like if Edgar Wright had overseen it, while the less said about the catastrophic failure of Fantastic Four the better.
With Deapool, the genre now has a franchise that can firmly keep it rooted in a fresh and funny manner, where fans can turn to hear well-crafted jokes about previous comic book films. Hopefully, sequels will take aim at not just Fox's X-Men films, but also Marvel and DC's cinematic universes, too. And while the jokes might sting a little, they'll be integral to keeping the films honest and less serious. It's probably still a bit too early for Fantastic Four jokes, though. Maybe for Deadpool 3.