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There has certainly been no shortage of superhero movies this year, as the Marvel, DC, and X-Men universes all delivered a ton of different and exciting silver screen outings. We saw comic book icons duke it out over ideological differences, we saw magic appear for the first time in both the DCEU and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and we finally even figured out what specifically caused Charles Xavier's hair to fall out during the events of X-Men: Apocalypse. If you're a fan of comic book heroes and villains, then 2016 has probably been a great year for you so far.
However, there's one movie that stands out against the competition: Deadpool. Somehow, against all odds, Wade Wilson's low-budget, R-rated solo adventure has risen above the rest, and stolen our hearts in the process. Now that all of the major comic book movies of 2016 have premiered, we've compiled a list of reasons why Deadpool is undeniably the best of the lot. Check out our arguments and let us know what you think in the comments section below.
The Story Was Simple, Yet Effective
While the other superhero films of 2016 dealt with apocalyptic threats and bad guys with grand, dastardly schemes, Deadpool kept things simple and restrained, and it was all the better for it. At its core, the film was nothing more than a romantic comedy/revenge tale with buckets of blood thrown in for good measure, and wasn't trying to be anything more. That simplicity allowed the film's story to breathe more, and it offered Tim Miller and Ryan Reynolds the opportunity to play to its offbeat, quirky strengths whenever possible. The stakes weren't even that high in Deadpool; Wade Wilson literally just wanted get his good looks back so Vanessa will love him; that's a perfect example of heart over spectacle.
It's A Genuine Standalone Story
In an era defined by cliffhangers, teasers, and the promise of seemingly endless story, Deadpool represents an oddity. It's one of the few superhero films to hit theaters in recent memory that features a self-contained beginning, middle, and end. Unlike Batman V Superman, which teased the imminent arrival of Steppenwolf, or Captain America: Civil War, which basically served as a backdoor pilot for Marvel's Phase 3 films, Deadpool tells its own story and is unconcerned with things like continuity and teasing future plotlines. Sure, there's the promise of Cable in a future installment, but Deadpool actually resolves everything that its main story establishes between the opening and ending credits.
It Made The Best Use Of Humor
With regards to use of comedy, 2016's superhero movies ranged from good (Doctor Strange) to downright bad (Suicide Squad), but none of them even come close to comparing to Deadpool's perfect blend of action with humor. From the film's opening title sequence, to the Ferris Bueller-esque stinger at the end of the movie, Deadpool delivered consistent laughs that helped balance out the darker aspects of the film's material. The resulting effect was an incredibly palatable film that was able to run the entire emotional spectrum. It can't all be doom and gloom, and Deadpool used its humor perfectly to offset the inherent seriousness of its story.
Ryan Reynolds Perfectly Adapted The Character
There's a strong case to be made that no actor in recent memory has been better cast in a comic book role than Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool. From his raw physicality, to his fast-talking, smart assed sensibilities, to the hilarious fourth wall breaks, Reynolds absolutely nailed everything required to deliver a pitch perfect Deadpool performance. Even compared to similarly talented newcomers like Ben Affleck's Batman and Tom Holland's Spider-Man, Reynolds represents the gold standard for superhero introductions this year. I made a prediction towards the end of 2015 that Ryan Reynolds' Wade Wilson would be the comic book character to steal the show in 2016, and as of now I completely stand by my original hypothesis.
It Used Its R-Rating To Its Advantage
Although PG-13 remains the bread and butter of the superhero genre, Deadpool proved that an R-rating could really elevate the right property -- which is something that 20th Century Fox will seemingly continue with the upcoming release of Logan this spring. The vulgar language, sexual content, and insane levels of violence helped Tim Miller realize the world that Wade Wilson lives in, and added a layer of grit and grime to the X-Men universe. While properties like the Marvel Cinematic Universe often fail to properly show the consequences of violence, Deadpool held the camera on every last brutal detail and made the audience feel everything. That goes a long way towards making us care about what happens to these characters. It was a gamble, but one that clearly paid off, as Deadpool has gone on to become the highest grossing R-rated movie of all time.
What are your thoughts on this year's selection of superhero movies? Give us your thoughts in the comments section below!