For the most part the Marvel universe has presented films that worship the Hollywood superhero movie structure, a structure that works for both them and the fans of Marvel. Deadpool (2016) is a film that seemingly aims to challenge all the archetypes of the superhero movie, but could it be considered a mocking satirical outlook or just another reiteration of Marvel’s power in Hollywood? The director Tim Miller who was the creative supervisor of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010) adds a signature quirky flair to the film, using animation techniques and fast edits.
The film begins which credits, which point out all of the archetypal character and roles in the production, such as that an ‘overpaid fool’ directs the film. Ryan Reynold’s character Wade Wilson immediately continues this satirical and self-referential humour that is present throughout this film. His constant referencing to other Hollywood films and stars gives the film an element of breaking the 4th wall, especially as he narrates and often takes breaks to speak directly to the camera. His character seems to aim to connect with the audience, allowing them to share his experiences and his humorous outlook on them. The film is aware of the audience throughout, and chooses to address them directly through his character. The other characters in the film can often seem very two dimensional in comparison as they do not face any kind of change or journey, he is the only focus of the film and the other characters seem to only be there for narrative purposes. The humour in Deadpool is also often very dark, poking fun at the stereotypes of the Marvel superhero film.
Deadpool still manages to provide bombastic action sequences and unsettling moments of intense drama however, as the underlying tone is darker than the likes of Iron Man. Wade Wilson’s struggle with cancer provides a real relatable issue to ground his origin story, it lacks the dramatic effect of another superhero film as his breaking point could happen to any individual. His issues with his new appearance in society as an outsider also reflect deeper issues, as he is required to wear a mask and be a hero to be accepted. However, any time the drama in the film is heightened comic relief is just a moment away, and Deadpool presents this in every controversial way it can. From the odd but amusing relationships Wade has with Blind Al and Weasel, to his reference to 127 Hours as he cuts his hand off the film does not fail to provide controversy. The films ability to both shock and provide amusement presents itself as a satire of the superhero film. For instance Wade questions Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead whether the studio could not afford any more X-men for the film. Beyond all of the violence, nudity and bad language the film seems to be playing around with the form of the superhero film itself.
The film delivers to the fans, providing comic relief, a great number of action sequences and the cool collected character of Wade Wilson. It is questionable whether the film is trying to say something on a deeper level in relation to the Hollywood superhero movie, or whether it is simply celebrating the genre. But nonetheless, it provides 108 minutes of pure uncensored entertainment.
Personal summary – I can’t argue that this film is incredibly entertaining and will keep any audience member, Marvel or non-Marvel fan completely hooked. Ryan Reynold’s provides many laughs, and the film creates a satire of the Marvel film industry.