There has never been a superhero movie like Deadpool. Sure, there have been other R-rated comic book films like Blade, Sin City, and even more comedic ones like the two Kick-Ass films, but never on the scale and pervasiveness of Deadpool. The Merc with a Mouth is an Internet darling thanks to his crude humor, unbridled silliness, and his constant tendency to break the fourth wall. On February 14, Deadpool will land in theaters and challenge the entire superhero landscape. If the movie is successful, what could this mean for future superhero endeavors?
First of all, we have to take a look at the marketing campaign for Deadpool — a targeted effort that has been selling this oddball picture with the utmost confidence. Not only is the character of Deadpool coming across perfectly in trailers and posters, but even the sense of humor that the film has about itself has been a monumental achievement. Just take a look at this recently released banner for the film that promotes its Valentine’s Day release date:
That’s fantastic. A silly spoof on typical romantic films sells you on exactly the kind of irreverent humor that Deadpool is famous for. If Deadpool is a success, it could very well change how certain types of superhero fare are marketed, especially in an age where the majority of pre-release hype comes from solidifying a strong Internet following that will see the film opening weekend.
Even more than that, Deadpool could pave the way for a lot more adult-targeted superhero adaptations that are willing to be much more humorous. Most R-rated comic book fare is incredibly self-serious — 300, Watchmen, V for Vendetta, Dredd, The Crow — and no one seems to want to gamble on mixing adult-oriented humor with superhero shenanigans. If Deadpool is the trailblazer that it’s looking to be, we could be seeing big screen adaptations of such fan favorites as Lobo, Howard the Duck (a real adaptation), The Tick, and Scud: The Disposable Assassin. Seeing as how adapting comic books into films isn’t going to stop any time soon, Deadpool could pave the way for a new era in outrageous superhero cinema.
Lastly, there is the matter of violence. The majority of superhero films are always going to skew towards a PG-13 rating in order to ensure the maximum number of ticket sales and merchandise tie-ins, but Deadpool has the potential to bring us back to an era like the ’80s where R-rated movies like The Terminator, RoboCop, Aliens, Rambo: First Blood Part II, and Predator were all massive successes and also spawned a number of merchandising opportunities aimed towards kids. RoboCop and Rambo both got Saturday morning cartoons! And all of those films were immensely profitable when it came to toys and action figures. Deadpool might be the movie that gets our culture back into allowing certain R-rated properties to be targeted towards a younger demographic.
Regardless of its impact, Deadpool does look like it’s going to succeed at its most important task: satisfying the fans of the character. Ryan Reynolds has aggressively pursued this film and character for years and you can definitely tell he’s not letting his chance go to waste. When Deadpool opens on Valentine’s Day, it could very well show studios that the best way to ensure a healthy return on your investment is to give the fans what they want out of an adaptation. That alone is reason enough to support Deadpool.