The upcoming Marvel flick ‘Deadpool’ is getting tons of hype, according to The Movie Network (warning: trailer is NSFW). Premiered by lead actor Ryan Reynolds at Comic-Con, getting standard and red-band trailers released online, and even the namesake making an appearance on Conan.
There are many who have already become familiar with Marvel’s masked lunatic Deadpool through issues of superhero comics, as an Internet meme, or recreated as cosplay during popular conventions. Mainstream audiences might be perplexed by the tone of this superhero film- more violent, comedic and much more vulgar than other Marvel movies. If I didn’t know better, I would say this was a chance for 20th Century Fox to cut loose with a parody of its own specialty genre. To that impression, I would agree and disagree.
Before plans for this movie even took place, Deadpool’s existence as a fictional mercenary-assassin was paradoxical. On one hand, he is written with the background of a tragic character and plays the role of an antihero, much like Rorschach or Judge Dredd. who are protagonists lacking the ‘heroic’ qualities of traditional superheroes. However he is much more reputable for his silliness, chaotic antics, and irreverence to the comic book genre itself- to the point where he breaks the 4th wall. Deadpool could be described as a way to give comic writers carte blanche, allowing for varied and even contradicting interpretations of the character in different series.
Here is a breakdown of Deadpool you can absorb before checking out the upcoming movie:
Deadpool originated in the 90’s ‘New Mutants’ Marvel comics, and had numerous guest appearances until eventually getting his own ongoing title. He started as a villain, but as he developed became more of a parody of the superhero genre.
Wade Wilson is his real name; he is a former soldier, and his background beyond that is unclear due to the character’s own amnesia and unsettled explanations among writers.
Deadpool got his powers and identity after volunteering for the Weapon X program- the same program in Wolverine’s backstory. This is recreated in another Marvel film, ‘X-men Origins: Wolverine’, though more unfaithful to the original story.
Due to his horribly disfigured appearance, Deadpool is fully clothed and masked. His body is completely scarred by cancer that was meant to be cured through the Weapon X experiment, which instead backfired and let the cancer rapidly overtake his entire body.
With the disfiguration came Deadpool’s one superpower- the ability to quickly regenerate wounded flesh, making him virtually invincible. With his regeneration powers and experience as a soldier, Deadpool became a mercenary-assassin, working for his own self-interest.
One more notable consequence of the experiment was his brain cells being constantly regenerated, leading to amnesia and insanity. Most of the comedy in the Deadpool series lends itself to his nonsensical thought process and amoral attitude, leading to humor that is sometimes silly and outrageous, while other times dark and morbid.
Deadpool relies on martial arts and firepower in engaging his opponents, utilizing his strength, agility, and a chaotic, unpredictable fighting style. He also has a ‘bottomless, magical satchel’, allowing him to have an extensive and comical inventory.
For many writers, Deadpool has been used as a ‘wildcard’ within the Marvel Universe. His vague history and chaotic personality gave writers total freedom to come up with absurd, sometimes conflicting narratives, and clashes with already well-established Marvel characters.
Deadpool has been used not just for creating stories in the Marvel Universe, but also pushing boundaries in comic book literature. Examples include breaking the 4th wall, referencing other fictional universes, and being self-aware of his own existence as a comic book character, giving him the unique ability to cite other works he’s been in.
Ready for the Action
The trend of Marvel movies overall has been towards presenting epic-scale action and clever comedy, and we can expect a Deadpool to keep with that trend with even more of a comedic punch. Judging by the trailers and other released details, there will be a stronger backstory, action scenes focused on firefights and acrobatics, and yet another chance for writers to re-interpret the character on film.
The upcoming Deadpool should stay true to the Marvel movie formula and prove itself to mainstream audiences. While 20th Century Fox has reliably delivered humorous dialogue and situations before, Deadpool will definitely stand out as exceptionally irreverent and outrageous, a (maybe) just-for-once turn in the long line of Marvel superhero movies. Point being, the hype now will be worth it come premiere night.
Written by guest contributor Aaron Farrington- he is a freelance writer, Internet nerd, and lover of comedy and music.