When that test footage was leaked online back in August 2014 (and sorry, it’s no longer available online incase you were wondering), the whole comic book fraternity woke up and took notice. Now, while I have a penchant for sequential art, I wasn’t particularly familiar with Deadpool. That being said, a comic book adaptation of a sassy, foul-mouthed “superhero” (he doesn’t like you using that word!) who doesn’t mind the odd bit of gratuitous violence?!? I’m in!
And 18 months later the studio – 20th Century Fox in this case – took notice of the remarkably positive feedback, delved deep into their ever-so deep pockets and ponied up $58m to get this thing off the ground and onto our screens. A bold move for a not particularly well-known comic book character, who’s fictional world would certainly steer the good ship Deadpool into R-rated waters. For those of you of a British persuasion, an R rating in the States means anyone under the age of 17 must be accompanied by an adult to see the film. A money-taking nightmare for a “super hero” movie, right?
Wrong! Deadpool has flown in the face of failure and taken $316.7m worldwide (figures from boxofficemojo.com) in a little over a week of release – and only 5 days in the States, it’s largest domestic market. It’s had the largest opening weekend ever for an R-rated film and could well become one of the top grossing R-rated movies of all-time. It’s a triumph!
Why is it a triumph? Well, when you have people invested in a character, the world he/she inhabits and the drive to service the fans of said character with a story true to its origins, much can be achieved. Deadpool works. Of course, ironically, Ryan Reynolds turned up as Wade Wilson/ Deadpool in the totally forgettable X-Men Origins: Wolverine back in 2009. A completely water-down version of the actual character and a memory Mr Reynolds (probably) wished to erase. His affinity with the character was the driving force behind this production and together with first-time director Tim Miller, has conjured up a truly unforgettable and highly entertaining film.
Much fun is to be had with the self-awareness of the character and the (sometimes) ridiculousness of the situations he finds himself in. His self-deprecating nature draws us to him. He is the absolute antithesis of a comic book “hero” – the anti-Captain America. He is who he is despite his “abilities”, not because of them. The very nature of his circumstance allows him to push beyond the normal to achieve his goals, often to hilarious effect. He is (mostly) uncaring, but not devoid of thinking of others. That he is something we have not seen before on the silver screen – a wholly “original” character when compared to the Marvel mainstream – works to his advantage. This breath of fresh air has drawn the audiences in, swelling the coffers of Fox and letting the studios know that it’s OK to make an R-rated comic book adaptation – as long as it’s true to itself and not R-rated for the sake of it. Deadpool 2 has already been announced. If you have the wherewithal to sit through the credits – and for a Marvel film you probably always should – they tell you so. That post-credits scene is worth the wait!
I could say much about Deadpool. About how its breaking of the 4th wall defies convention, its referencing to production costs and casting choices breaking all sorts of boundaries, but I’ll go no further. You should find out those things for yourself. Deadpool is a highly enjoyable, gratuitously (but also very entertainingly) violent piece of cinema. It’s 108 minutes of jollification. Go see it and enjoy!
Thank you for reading 🙂