Right now, Marvel’s the gold standard for comic book movies, which largely seems to be based around how much money they make. And, in theory, Deadpool is trading on the Marvel name… but what we’ve seen tells us that it’s no Marvel movie, and that’s excellent news.
Let’s break out what we’ve learned from Comic-Con:
- There’s an athletic sex montage with Ryan Reynolds and Morena Baccarin, thus guaranteeing at least a few million in ticket sales from pervs.
- The movie is full of nerd candy with minor characters like Ajax and Negasonic Teenage Warhead.
- Deadpool swears like a sailor; at one point he calls Colossus a “giant chrome cock-gobbler.”
- The movie is almost ridiculously violent, with multiple headshots and gore.
- Everybody wants to push it as far away from the “shiny X-Men” universe as possible.
This is all a good thing. It’s clear as we see more from Deadpool that the entire idea is to, well, not make yet another PG-13, middle-of-the-road superhero movie. In other words, Deadpool will do what Marvel can’t, and save Marvel from itself.
I don’t want to knock Marvel Studios too much because what they’ve put together is incredibly impressive, but Marvel has too much to lose to really do anything risky on the big screen. They can’t put together the R-rated action flick because, if that bombs, it might drag down a multi-billion franchise. Besides, Disney would never pay for it: Any R-rated movie Disney has ties to, these days, is from DreamWorks. If Disney had the rights to Deadpool, you not only wouldn’t be seeing this movie, you probably wouldn’t be seeing a Deadpool movie at all.
This perhaps wouldn’t be a problem if every single movie studio didn’t see the cash on the table and decide they wanted a piece of that. The problem with imitations, of course, is that they tend to dilute the original; if everybody’s putting out safe PG-13 movies designed to make a billion dollars, eventually audiences are going to go somewhere else. Consider that Universal, the one studio not currently developing a slate of superhero movies, has beaten Marvel at the box office twice already this summer with Jurassic World and Furious 7.
And it’s such a dull, limiting idea of what superhero movies can be. Not everything has to be a family-friendly adventure with one eye on the merch sales. The great thing about superhero comics is that they can be anything; it’s a flexible idea you can have fun with. And if Deadpool proves that it’s not only fun, but profitable, everybody, including Marvel, should follow suit.