Did the Deadpool Movie Really Change the Superhero Genre?
Our first glimpse at a Deadpool movie was in 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and boy, was that a bad experience. While Ryan Reynolds got to sass around in a scene or two, he was simply a mishandled background character that was eventually turned into a monster-of-the-week level bad guy.
Luckily for fans, Reynolds continued rallying for the character and the studios eventually produced an actual Deadpool movie. Let’s talk about that.
If you paid attention to the buzz around Deadpool after its release, people praised and feared the R-rating attached to it. A lot of fans worried comic book movies would learn the wrong lesson and just start pumping out violent, grimdark films. While that is always a risk, at the present moment, the right lessons were learned from Deadpool — just look at Logan for proof.
A Mostly Satisfying Film
But why Deadpool works is that it shows how comedy and violence geared towards adults can tell a great story. Now, it doesn’t always work beat for beat, but the end result is a fun film that tells a character-driven story that also stays loyal to the source material.
As a film, Deadpool is fun, refreshing, and never takes itself serious. The kinetic action sequences are unique for the genre, because they use violence to great effect and humor. What works best here is that the film focuses on its titular character so well that you sympathize with him, even though he’s a hired killer who revels in the violence.
Female Empowerment, Kinda
But nothing is perfect, and Deadpool does has its flaws. It is noticeably small-scale, which might bother some. But we notice the biggest flaw is that while there is some awareness to how female characters are portrayed, they never rise to exist on their own.
I mean, there is some respect given to female characters here, especially when compared to other films in the genre. Vanessa is never belittled for being a sex worker, and she shouldn’t be. The film knows this — her boyfriend kills people for money, after all, which is actually something to be upset about. Yet Vanessa never shows more agency than a damsel in distress, and that is something that holds this film back.
There are also Blind Al, Angel Dust, and Negasonic Teenage Warhead, who are all cool and show us more variety than “traditional” female roles of comic book movies, but they all three remain sidekicks to a male character.
Our Final Thoughts
The film does shine still, mostly thanks to Reynolds and his delivery of the jokes. The pacing of the story and the editing also add up. While it’s not my favorite comic book movie, it is still a fun watch, and I recommend it if you haven’t seen it.
Our guest Taylor fell to my side, but Scott wasn’t crazy about some of the referential and intertextual comedy. He has a good point, it may not hold up in a timeless sense, even if it works now.
We do ponder how effective a Deadpool sequel can be. I mean, the first film works because it’s pretty different than everything else we’ve seen. But the sequel has to toe the line of ramping up what’s good and expanding on the universe. Some of the one-off jokes that break the fourth wall just won’t work, so hopefully the sequel is as smart as this one. Check out the teaser and let us know what you think.