I love Deadpool. Let it be known.
When I was young (whew, here we go), I ate up any comics I could get my hands on. That didn’t happen often. So around age fifteen when I finally started to make my own money (thank you, Taco Bell!), I began delving into the wide world of funny books. It’s a hard plunge to take. So many classic series, so many new things on the shelf, where does one start? My first pick ups were Watchmen and Understanding Comics, and they still stand as two my most formative reads. It wasn’t long after that I attempted to jump into contemporary stuff, and since DC was a bit of mess at the time Marvel seemed a little more appetizing. Not many titles were flourishing in the early Aughts, but somewhere between a Moz-lead X-Men overhaul and
Bendis Scarlet Witch crushing the Avengers I found the first Deadpool ongoing
The series that launched careers for Joe Kelly and Ed McGuiness didn’t have those creators by the time I got to it, but I collected the series piecemeal and by Gail Simone’s run on the final arc of that title I had found my comic avatar.
Deadpool served as my usher into direct market comics. Something about the character drew me in. He was an underdog, a C-lister, a foil to the seriousness of the superhero genre. Then, somewhere in 2008 his popularity exploded. Marvel realized they had a sleeper in their stable, and Wade Wilson suddenly graced the pages of three ongoing and a bevy of guest star appearances. Hell, he’s practically the mascot of Ultimate Alliance 2.
So that brings me to a subject that myself, and an army of Deadpool fans new and old, have at the forefront of our minds — when the fuck is the Deadpool movie coming out? After the mostly abhorrent X-Men Origins: Wolverine fans have been hopeful about Wade Wilson’s chances of reaching the big screen.
For awhile they looked decent. Ryan Reynolds, the one and only choice for the role, is a Deadpool fan and stalwart for keeping the dream alive. Reynolds expressed his excitement from day one, even the days before the release of Wolverine’s solo adventure. There’s a reason he stuck through the terrible Wolverine film: to make sure he was first name on the list for a potential spinoff. But with the post-The Proposal megahype, he started landing films left and right, and his interest and career path looked to be heading elsewhere. Things looked particularly bad at the height of the Green Lantern promotion when it was rumored Warner Bros might try to fill the GL sequels as quickly as possible in order to fill up Reynold’s schedule.
Good for us DP fans: Green Lantern failed to draw big numbers, and Ryan isn’t tied into a franchise as strongly as he once was. Recently, it’s become common fair for the obligatory Deadpool movie question to be asked at every movie press interview. This time it was for Safe House, where Reynolds co-stars with Denzel Washington who is in a career-defining role as an angry, yet capable, black man.
Slowly, painfully, this thing has come together. Every movie cycle for Reynolds it’s the same line of questioning, and the same song and dance about needing to do it a certain way, and keep it faithful and all that jazz. Yet this time I sense something, a certain frustration, a fatigue or sorts. He flat out says it: the guys cutting the checks are weary of something like this. Even more telling, when questioned about Green Lantern sequels Reynolds dully replies on the subject of big budget movies and steers the conversation back to Deadpool. There should be no doubt which character he’d prefer to jump into.
Little while back Russ at Adventures in Poor Taste wrote a pitch perfect article on the six qualities the Deadpool movie needs to be successful. He nails it, on every single point. In no way do I want to repeat his list, but I will sum up his points here.
- Detach completely from whatever that thing we saw in Wolverine. – An abomination. I sat down to watch that movie extremely excited to see the first instance of Deadpool on film. I’m still taken aback that they sewed his mouth shut and gave him swords for arms… A flippant disregard for the history of a character.
- A solid, and familiar supporting cast – An easy one to mess up, but the most wide open stipulation on this list. Probably a little early to put Taskmaster or Cable in a script, but fan favorites like Blind Al and Weasel are superb candidates.
- Keep that anti-hero status – A big sell to Deadpool is he’s kind of a bad guy, but not really. The lines of his morality are even more skewed than his sanity, which leads to the next point.
- “Crazy, but not too crazy” – A pet-peeve of mine when it comes to writers approaching Deadpool is sometimes they take the insanity thing too far. Somehow the guy is a schitzo, psychopath, inclined to hallucinating, frequently hears voices and an imbecile. Then some writers him just make a him a silly guy who likes to mouth off and eat tacos. He’s a character that can represent a lot of different ideas of “imbalanced”, but the I would say “balance” is more of key word when it comes to making Wade a sympathetic, but capable, character.
- Fourth-wall breakdowns – A necessity. To me, if you’re not having Deadpool address the fact that he’s a movie/comic character then why the hell make the movie at all. Without it he’s essentially Deathstroke, which would be a cool film, but not close to what DP can deliver.
- Rate that shit R – Perhaps the most essential factor in for the Deadpool movie because it precludes the delivery of the previous five points. A Deadpool movie with anything below an R-rating will simply not work.
And that final bullet brings me to the point of writing this. Start reading Twentieth Century FOX.
You have script, a director and an A-list actor eager to get this started. There’s only one thing missing: a budget. Greenlight this thing! What is the hold up? Let me guess:
You don’t want to risk making an R-rated superhero flick.
I get it — there is a huge difference between R and PG-13. The latter allows you to engage is wide-scale merchandising, and target a demographic that often leads to big-time cash-money: kids. It’s pretty obvious you do not think you can turn a profit on this movie.
You business executives are typically smart people, but I wouldn’t say you’re always keen to the pulse of the public. You see a character with no brand-name recognition, an off-beat premise and an unorthodox formula. The Deadpool movie requires a tone that has no comparison in the genre. It’s a risk. I understand that. But let’s make it clear:
Deadpool bucks trends faster than he can clear out a chimichanga stand. His meteoric rise is unrivaled, and his popularity grows every day. His fanbase might seem modest, but his widespread appeal among comic aficionados covers a large brand. This is a character propelled by humor. At his heart Deadpool is satire, and people seem to understand parody pretty well, even without the source material. Oh, and he’s a goddamn ninja. Even more appeal.
The alternative to an R-rating does not lay a sound foundation for the character, or that matter, success. Sure you’ll be able to sell a few thousand Deadpool Talking Katanas, but the movie itself will not carry the true essence of Wade Wilson. Why does that matter? Merchandising will probably even it out, right? Yeah, but chances of sequels are slim. Hell, if it’s successful enough a Deadpool/Wolverine team-up movie is not a complete fantasy, amiright?
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. FOX executives, or whoever makes the damn decisions over there, take the leap and bless the Deadpool movie with a R-rating and a budget. Everything is in place for a very good film. Listen to your talent! It will work. I’m not simply doing this because I’m a frenzied fanboy, I’m doing it because I honestly think it could a fantastic, genre-changing experience.
Millions of moviegoers are in anticipation. Get paid. Get laid. Get Wade. Don’t let the world down, FOX!