This Valentine’s Day weekend, the biggest film to hit the box office was not the typical love story that one would expect to come out on this holiday weekend. Instead, audiences were treated to a new addition in the superhero genre with Deadpool. At first glance one may read this as Hollywood deciding not to saturate the love story genre and instead continue to saturate the fully explored superhero genre but after seeing the film it is safe to say Deadpool fleshes out the genre in ways its predecessors have not been able to. Fox’s decision to make an R-rated Deadpool was not only the best decision that could have been made for the film, but also possibly a decision that can revive an entire genre. While I am a huge supporter of the genre, there really did not appear that there was a way to spice up the genre without changing the feel of it completely. Deadpool was able to change my thoughts on this topic because it was given the rights to be as graphic and vulgar as it wanted. Ironically, adding realism to a genre centered on fantasy, made the film more enjoyable.
While it makes sense that studios want to make their films family friendly in hopes that they can market entire merchandise lines around their films, this watering-down of films in some cases detracts from them. Most of these superhero films build up to these larger climatic action scenes where we only see our protagonist and antagonist punching each other while the real gruesome fighting happens off screen or not at all. Even though many criticize violence in films as being no more than eye candy for the viewer, I argue that they are essential to creating the right atmosphere for a film and add to the audience’s engagement if they are used properly. By completely removing them from the film, the film is hindered in the same sense a film full of these scenes would be. The exclusion of this graphic content reminds the audience that they are watching a fictitious story. Now while you may be thinking well of course its fictitious, there are people flying around with powers, you can not make a realistic superhero film, that is not the point I am making. What I am saying is when the audience sees a superhero film they want to see a realistic version of Earth and society where people interact on screen like they do in real life, except with superheroes. This means that characters must actually talk like people do in real life, and sometimes that calls for vulgarity. If there was ever a real life version of Tony Stark do you think his dialogue would be as tame as it is in Iron Man? Of course not, and its not even just Stark, in every one of these films there is a superhero, or villain for that matter, that would utter at minimum a curse word here and there when they are slammed into a wall. Speaking of being slammed into a wall, why aren’t more characters more brutally attacked than just being pushed around? When you have characters like the Hulk or the Thing one would imagine we would see more villains brutally smashed like a grape on screen. Those of you reading this are either completely with me and agree the genre is being water downed, or you are against me because you think this type of explicit material would take the fun out of the film. Well before the release of Deadpool we would be at a stalemate because we would not have any examples to turn to in order to see if adding this type of material would work. Luckily for us, now we actually have something to analyze.
Deadpool does not hold back in any sense what so ever. The film opens with a fight sequence where henchmen get their head cut off while our loud mouth protagonist constantly lets loose any dialogue he wants, no matter how vulgar or sexually explicit it is. In terms of the fight scenes, what this does is actually put in perspective for the audience what is not only at stake for our main character as there is a possibility of extreme injury, but it also makes us realize that the henchmen are real people. More often than not, throughout the duration of a film the protagonist mows through wave after wave of henchmen and the audience thinks nothing of it. But when we actually see them die in a gruesome way, or see their leg cut off, we are hit with the realization that these henchmen are just as human as the main character. This realization makes the fight scenes so much more engaging as a member of the audience because we can now understand these are individuals acting under an organization that they are truly willing to risk their lives for. By having no limit to what the main characters can say, the writers of the film are able to make sure that every line of dialogue in the film is organic and true to not only the personality of the character, but the situation as well. This allows for the audience to bond closer to the characters than they typically would in a film because they are given the sense that these people are just as real as the audience, and because of that our empathy kicks in making us care for them and want them to succeed. Deadpool uses this idea of realistic dialogue early on in the film to make the audience feel like Wade and Vanessa’s relationship is real and organic. By creating this feeling, the film is able to rely on their quest to be together to be the driving force of the film.
Now from what I gathered from watching Deadpool, the film was greatly enhanced and may have not even succeeded if it was not for its unapologetic violence and dialogue. These elements crafted a type of realism that increased the magnitude of every fight scene since the audience was able to realize what was at stake with every henchman. In addition, by seeing the main characters as natural organic people we truly became invested in the love story that served as the driving force. This leads me to the conclusion that while it may not be as inclusive for all demographics, the sense of realism that is obtained when films are not restricted is noticeably beneficial to the film. To conclude, Deadpool from a comedic standpoint is average but after taking into account the freshness it brings to the superhero genre, it truly becomes a film that warrants a trip to the theater. As a result, Celluloid Cinema awards the film 4 out of 5 Reels mostly due to the courage that Fox had to actually make an R-rated Deadpool.
Thank you for visiting Celluloid Cinema. You can leave your thoughts by voting and sharing your opinion of the film in the pools and comments below.