By Collin Lotter
An anti–hero movie featuring a secondary X-men character… A mid- February / Movie Graveyard schedule release to theaters…. A leading character who has already tried his hand in leading two other Superhero characters to mild success at best (Wolverine/Green Latern)… and most of all a hard R rating alienating the main demographic who consumes the genre… Deadpool had all the ingredients to be a mainstream flop for 20th Century Fox productions in a universal way. No wonder this movie took over 11 years to get made and had skeptics lined up out the door making excuses why they didn't want to touch this piece; This potentially had the makings of a another perennial second rate comic book bust. However, in the upside down world we live in right now in the film and television medium, Marvel’s Deadpool has broken all the rules to guaranteed success and potentially changed the game for Superhero and Comic book movies for years to come…
As we enter its third week at the box office, Deadpool is slaying the competition and an instant hit with critics, die hard marvel fans, casual popcorn fans, pretty much everyone who was originally a non-believer. After two straight weeks at No.1 in total gross, the Ryan Reynolds Superhero led movie has now made $241 domestically and $500 million worldwide. To put this in comparison or perspective, Ant-Man and Captain America: The Winter Soldier made $180 and $259 million domestic their entire run.
So two questions come out of this result – How is Deadpool accomplishing this feat? Deadpool doesn't dance around the strong rating, this movie has got it all. Explicit Language, Exotic Dancers, Graphic Violence, Drug Use, you name it.. The Deadpool character indulges in it. Although, after seeing the movie part of the R rating adds to the movie’s charm in a backwards type of way. It gives the Wade Wilson alter-ego a type of grit and edge the character needs to be respectable and in turn the quirky, quick witted Ryan Reynolds directed sense of humor adds a touch of likeable transparence that gets the anti hero over to curious fans. The movie moves by quickly and the backstory seems to give enough information to draw sympathy and vengefulness for the viewer. The villain although not too memorable serves his purpose as does the side characters.
The second main question being, will Fox and other major production houses start to copy this template and take more risks pushing the envelope? Have we crossed the threshold of our Superhero’s dropping F-bombs, embracing gore, killing unnecessarily or was this movie an one-time outlier that we really don't want to see more of.. Could we imagine a world where The Flash visit strip clubs or Spiderman saves a human from distress but then robs them afterwards? Seems preposterous doesn't it… but the trend maybe changing rapidly.. Warner Brothers is set to release Suicide Squad this August and the trailers look extremely edgy and borderline scary for a 10 – 16 year old demographic. The new and final Wolverine 3 with Hugh Jackman is coming out later this year and Fox has already announced it will have the R rating.
We have always wanted our Comic Book Heroes to be wholesome, family oriented and especially kid friendly for the past 50 years, and the three major sources of super hero movies understand this. Marvel Studios, DC Comics and 20th Century Fox (X-men/Fantastic Four) have all gone on record the last week claiming that PG-13 is their preferred and targeted rating for years to come, but now that Deadpool has taken the box office by storm, the question lingers. The general public has proven a harsh R rated movie like this can resonate with them to their enjoyment. So now we wait and see which route the studios evolve too with their future offerings.. Children can only hope that a drastic shift won’t be soon on the horizon.