SAN DIEGO – There is no debate who won Comic-Con on Saturday. It wasn't the man in the bat suit vs. the Man of Steel. It wasn't those marvelous mutants who continue to reboot themselves in new and interesting ways. No, a Merc with a Mouth took the convention by storm and his name is “Deadpool.”
Assuming you never saw “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” or haven't followed the twists and turns of how long its taken star Ryan Reynolds and director Tim Miller to get this solo movie off the ground, “Deadpool” will be something of a shock. The popular Marvel Comics character has always been aligned with the mutant universe, but he also has an offbeat sense of humor that often finds him breaking the fourth wall. It”s not necessarily the most commercially safe material and would make any studio have second thoughts. To those around him Deadpool is insane which always made the casting of Reynolds (at the height of his career) something of a no brainer. Then again there was some irony that Reynolds is experiencing another bomb at the box office this weekend (“Self/less”) as the first footage of “Deadpool” may mark the beginning of his true comeback.
20th Century Fox will no doubt put what has to be a red band trailer online as soon as possible (perhaps before you even read this), but like “Ant-Man” this is a superhero comedy that will break expectations. A partial origin story, the trailer sets up that the only way former special ops agent Wade Wilson (Reynolds) can attempt to stop an aggressive cancer spreading through his body is to agree to subject himself to an experiment that could give him special healing powers (think Wolverine, but not so pretty). The catch is that he”d then become a mercenary for a not-so friendly group. Considering how loving and beautiful his wife is (Morena Baccarin) you can see Wilson's got a lot to live for and the choice is easy.
In the preview he's already making self-referential jokes. Strapped down in a gurney for the experiment he quips, “Please don't make my super suit green or animated.” (the beginning of the “Green Lantern” digs). Wilson is soon in Deadpool”s familiar black and red suit (Reynolds says it's the most accurate comic book to movie suit ever) and prepping for a hit while listening to Salt-N-Pepa's “Shoop.” He jumps off a freeway overpass through the roof of an SUV where he takes out whoever he needs to take out. The car flips and a bunch of other thugs with guns clocked approach it. Deadpool puts his hands up and says something akin to “I know what you're thinking, 'Why am I wearing the red suit?' It's to make sure you don't see the blood!” He then jumps out of the vehicle blowing one of his his adversary's heads right off (at least the part with brains). He kills most of them, but still ends up with a bullet hole straight through his leg. Of course, being Deadpool – who feels no pain – it elicits a nonchalant response similar to “dammit.”
Oh, and then Colossus shows up. Yep, Colossus (this time played by Andre Tricoteux) from the “X-Men” movies arrives in full metal form. He's got a young superhero he wants Deadpool to train and her name is Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand). And, of course, Deadpool adores the name.
The rest of the preview features some comic riffing between Wade (whose face looks horrific after so many injuries and missions) and Weasel (“Silicon Valley's” T.J. Miller). During the panel director Tim Miller revealed that T.J. wrote a bunch of jokes for the movie and Fox makes sure you get a taste of his particular sense of humor in the teaser.
To say the surprise sneak went over like gangbusters is the understatement of the week. The audience gave it and Reynolds a standing ovation cheering, “One more time!” So, moderator Chris Hardwick, wanting to avoid a riot, made sure they showed it one more time.
During the panel Reynolds credited the fans for making the movie happen in the first place. About a year ago footage from a “Deadpool” test had leaked. The online reaction turned out to be the kicker for Fox finally giving it the green light. Reynolds says, “You made the studio do this. You twisted their freakin' necks.”
“It's an actual miracle that a studio will let us make 'Deadpool' let alone an R-rated 'Deadpool,'” Reynolds adds. “No matter what the ratings babies will love this.”
The panel also featured a running gag about, um, well it began with T.J. Miller asking, “How many of you saw horses get [expletive] before you kissed your first girl?” That would be inappropriate for probably any Comic-Con panel, but a “Deadpool” one? We wouldn”t expect any less.
The audience also discovered that Hildebrand had a major crush on Reynolds when she was a teenager. In fact, she photoshopped herself into a shirtless photo of him and, yes, he's seen it (prediction: you'll see it on a late night talk show next year when Reynolds or Hildebrand are on a press tour for the flick).
The kicker of the presentation though was the moment Reynolds slipped and said, “I've only done one other 'proper' superhero movie. Sorry, not 'proper.'”
That's a big “ouch” to any of the remaining fans of 2011's “Lantern.” Reynolds tried to backtrack saying he was referring to a “proper” suit, but based on the preview we think he knew exactly what he was doing.
All and all “Deadpool” created more energy and buzz in Hall H than even the well received “Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice” presentation earlier in the day. How well did it go over? On the “X-Men Apocalypse panel that followed immediately afterward, Nicholas Hoult was asked a question about his character by Hardwick.
“I can't concentrate cause I'm still psyched about the 'Deadpool' trailer,” Hoult replied.
It got quite the roar.
Speaking of “X-Men: Apocalypse” and the rest of 20th Century Fox's 2-hour presentation here are some other quick takeaways:
“X-Men Apocalypse” is set in 1983 and all seems well
Director Bryan Singer says the film occurs 10 years after “Days of Future Past” in a world where “Mutants are accepted and embraced by society.” We find our heroes (and villains) in different places in their lives and the world.
Oscar Isaac's Apocalypse looks like he should
A short preview from “Apocalypse” was shown and the number one take away is that the makeup and costume for the immortal villain is spot on. Apocalypse may seem slightly short when he's standing next to Michael Fassbender's Magneto, but he's everything else X-Men fans have could have expected (although we”re not exactly sure what his powers are in this version).
Jennifer Lawrence won't be as blue this time around
In move that's incredibly convenient for both marketing purposes and keeping one of the world's biggest star's happy, audiences will sees more of Lawrence as human looking Raven than as her “true blue” Mystique self. This includes a fierce hairstyle (think “Desperately Seeking Susan”) that we need an official photo of and we need it now. Lawrence says she's less blue looking in order to protect herself after the events from “Days of Future Past” where she almost killed the President of the United States.
James McAvoy is one cheeky bastard
McAvoy, who had a ton of fun bantering with his “Victor Frankenstein” co-star Daniel Radcliffe earlier in Fox's presentation, was in quite the mood. When asked how he sees his character McAvoy cracked, “I don't see him as Prof. X or Charles Xavier I just see him as Patrick Stewart.” That got a huge reaction from the crowd as McAvoy kept joking he was just doing everything the former Prof X had done before. Did shaving his head for this film make McAvoy loopier than normal?
Sophie Turner sort of knows she's the playing one of the world's most powerful mutants and she's more than fine with it
After suffering for one season after another on “Game of Thrones” it's not a surprise that Sophie Turner loves playing the younger incarnation of Jean Grey. She admits, “Famke [Janssen] portrayed Jean so beautifully I thought, 'Gotta live up to that one don't I?'” “For Jean I get a whole new perspective on her. When we last saw her [in “X-Men: The Last Stand”] she's a grade five mutant. She's powerful. It's exciting to figure out how she got that way. How this alienated girl becomes one of the most powerful mutants in history. Pretty sweet.”
Is Wolverine appear in “Old Man Logan”?
The “X-Men” panel actually began with Hugh Jackman getting a salute from the Comic-Con crowd that included his 1999 audition for the film. He announced he'd be playing Logan for the last time in James Mangold's upcoming follow up to “The Wolverine” and joked, “I've aged and three words for you: Old Man Logan. Read into it what you will.” We're happy to Hugh, but that means if you're playing Wolverine at that age you can do at least three more movies!
Channing Tatum was a surprise guest and they sort of screwed it up
At the end of Fox's presentation Hardwicke announced they were going to take the largest photo of superheroes on stage. That wouldn't be hard with the mammoth cast of “X-Men Apocalypse,” “Fantastic Four” and Ryan Reynolds (“Deadpool”) on hand. He was a bit late on his cute, but the idea was for Stan Lee himself to come out and take the selfie picture. Things were slightly confusing with so many people on stage and – surprise – out comes none other than future mutant Channing Tatum. Tatum is supposed to be filming “Gambit,” the long awaited “X-Men” spinoff, this fall. Tatum basically said “hello” and before you knew it his pretty mug was already off the mammoth Hall H TV screens. Barely anyone could get a photo of him (which is sort of the point when you bring a major star all the way down to San Diego). The audience was screaming “Screens! Screens!” and he never made it back up there. Considering Fox was doing little press for their films outside of Hall H it just seemed like a strange, wasted opportunity. We're hoping the photo looks good though.
All you need to know about the “Fantastic Four” panel
Sadly, we”re saving the most awkward part of the evening for last. Ladies and gentlemen, Josh Trank's “Fantastic Four” is opening in less then a month on August 7. The only new footage shown to 6,000 potential tastemakers was a new “final” trailer. A trailer where it appears you can easily spot the reshoot footage from the movie's climactic third act. What's so strange about this is that the movie is basically finished and no individual scenes were shown. Comparatively, Fox showed extended sequences from both “Maze Runner: Scorch Trials” and “Victor Frankenstein” which open in September and late November respectively. As previously mentioned, Singer cut a preview based on just five weeks of footage for “Apocalypse.” Perhaps it will exceed expectations, but the idea Fox would not show more from a tentpole film opening just next month was somewhat…damning.
“Deadpool” or “X-Men: Apocalypse”? Which movie is higher on your most anticipated list?
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