The prevalence of comic book movies in pop-culture as of late has seen many doubt its longevity as a genre. In spite of Marvel and DC having relatively long term plans, as far as their upcoming movies go, there have been overt suggestions that the genre will ultimately go the way of the western and become forgotten.
Given the Marvel vs. DC vs. Sony vs. 20th Century Fox power struggle that has been evident for what feels like forever, it’s fair to say that comic book fans aren’t entirely spoiled for choice as far as seeing their favourite superheroes on screen. For example, the newest addition to the Marvel universe as of late has been the lacklustre Ant Man – even phase III only promises four entirely new superheroes being introduced into the fold, giving unfortunate wind to the Western genre comparison. Suffice it to say, comic book fans have long been desperate for something entirely new.
Then, along came Deadpool.
Initially introduced in Wolverine, Ryan Reynolds was unable to give Deadpool the justice he deserved, resolving since then, to release a standalone movie – for the fans, above all else – which is where Deadpool truly begins to set itself apart from the rest.
Given the green light a mere 24 hours after fans pressured the studio, the movie was given a $50 million budget, a mere speck in comparison to the $279.9 million reserved for The Avengers: Age of Ultron. In spite of this, the movie offers audiences a much different – and in some ways, far better – experience than Age of Ultron. Rather than relying heavily on amazing CGI sequences, Deadpool offers fans an actual comic book experience brought to life – but what makes Deadpool a game changer, you ask?
Let’s face it, there aren’t many actors you can point to and say, ‘he/she was born to play…’, yet Ryan Reynolds is the realistic embodiment of Wade Wilson – and even when Deadpool takes over, the hilariously vulgar quips and unrelenting magnetism that Ryan Reynolds takes ownership of, keeps audiences focused on him in the movie, just as they have been in the comics. We also can’t ignore the sheer enthusiasm of all those involved in the making of the movie; Ryan Reynolds and his marketing team being at the forefront of providing audiences with the amazing promotional material, for one.
But what truly makes it a game changer doesn’t necessarily lie in the movie’s plot, but how audiences have reacted to it since release. It’s not your run of the mill, CGI infused superhero fest, offering quick quips and hefty punches in every scene, followed by more CGI fighting; it’s a gritty, dark and ultimately more believable movie, offering an entirely different take on the, ‘my father was really rich and I have a lot of spare time’, or, ‘a spider bit me and my uncle died’, rhetoric prevalent in more traditional superhero films; there is no cosmic need to be good and true flying around Wade Wilson’s head – just filthy jokes and Hello Kitty: Deadpool offers more indie movie-like sensibilities, with an entirely different focus to other movies in the comic book canon.
Having said that, the premise of the movie still relies on relatively traditional storylines seen throughout cinema: there’s a protagonist, love interest, a bump in the road/turmoil, an antagonist, a struggle and a resolution to said struggle. But, the difference with Deadpool is, is that it removes the concept of a noble sense of purpose, almost imperative in other comic book movies, and replaces it with vulgarity, humour, violence and multiple references to self-gratification; it’s brilliant, clever and very, very silly.
Deadpool is also a warm welcome, really, when considering the saccharine sweetness that Disney has forcefully imposed on The Avengers, purely for the sake of merchandise sales. Deadpool is, resolutely, a comic book film for adults and has not sacrificed any of the integrity, grit of vulgarity that has made the comic books so wonderfully successful – and it has paid off substantially: Deadpool debuted at $135 million, proving that the ‘merc with the mouth’ is exactly what audiences want.
Ultimately, the comic book genre is a cash cow, less concerned with creating amazing cinematic content, and more with CGI fuelled moments and merchandise sales; and therein lies its potential demise; Deadpool is a welcome release, that relies on content, rather than money and its success has been unfounded – with Deadpool 2 already announced and ultimately, a bigger budget for Ryan Reynolds to play with, it seems that Deadpool has changed the game for the better.