Deadpool breathes new, vulgar life into stagnant superhero genre


Photo Credits: Fox

Naman Agarwal, Staff Writer

After seeing the trailers and hearing the news of its massive box office success, I walked into the theater to watch “Deadpool” expecting a mind-blowing, fourth-wall breaking action flick packed with intelligent witticisms — a sort of “Archer” for the big screen.


For better or worse, that’s almost exactly what I got — just maybe without the intelligence.


The movie marks Marvel’s first “hard R” rated film, starring Ryan Reynolds as ex-Special Forces operative Wade Wilson who, after a diagnosis of terminal cancer, seeks out experimental treatment that promises to not just cure him, but give him “powers that most men would only dream of.” Wilson receives regenerative superpowers, but is horrifically disfigured in the process, which leads him to believe that his girlfriend, Vanessa, played by Morena Baccarin, won’t love him anymore. In the hopes of reversing his mutation and winning back the love of his girlfriend, Wilson spends the movie tracking down the man responsible for his disfiguration.


The Good


  • With the success of “Deadpool” along with other recent Marvel-produced forays into mature content, such as “Daredevil” and “Jessica Jones,” we can almost certainly expect a forthcoming increase in R-rated superhero franchises in the coming future. Studios have often been resistant to place an R-rating on a movie for fear of losing out on a larger audience, especially for a superhero franchise where a significant chunk of ticket sales come from younger teenage audiences. “Deadpool” proves that an R-rated superhero franchise can be more than just commercially viable; it can even be a runaway success.


  • The movie’s use of references and meta-humor is excellent. From the opening credits, which highlight the superhero movie clichés that the film’s characters will inevitably fulfill (“A Hot Chick”… “A British Villain”… “A Moody Teen”) to its numerous fourth-wall breaking moments, “Deadpool” constantly references itself and other superhero movies. At one point, Wilson references the fact that the only two X-Men he sees throughout “Deadpool” are Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead: “Funny I only see the two of you. It’s like the studio couldn’t afford another X-Man!”


  • “Deadpool” is unrelentingly self-aware. The film constantly makes jokes about the studio, the creators, Ryan Reynolds (especially his previous stint as Green Lantern) and more. Considering that I had to watch the trailers for both the next Avengers movie and the next X-Men movie, (both of which featured a team of superheroes who must band together to save the world from some kind of CGI-mutant-robot-villain) the film’s careless sense of humor about generic superhero plots was definitely refreshing.


The Bad


  • When the movie was first announced, fans and media alike were the first to say that “Deadpool” would be a groundbreaking movie that would redefine superhero movies, based on its crass humor and promise of a film worth its R rating. However, “Deadpool” almost seems as if it’s trying too hard to be edgy — it’s so chock full of profanity and sexual innuendo that it seems like it’s more a movie for kids in junior high than the adult audience it was purportedly written for.


  • The story, while layered with a sense of irony and a vulgar protagonist, still retains most of the generic tropes that are ever present in modern superhero films. There’s the forgettable villain, the dark origin story, the predictable arc, and a big “world-shattering” final act that doesn’t really stun as originally intended. While the low-brow humor makes for an entertaining film that definitely breaks from some comic book film stereotypes, it isn’t the audacious rejection of the modern superhero film that I was hyped to see.


Final Verdict
While “Deadpool” definitely wasn’t the game-changing redefinition of the superhero genre, its insolent sense of humor, penchant for over-the-top violence, and clever writing make it an entertaining deviation from the standard “Avengers”-esque superhero flick.