The Danger of Deadpool’s Victory
So, since the last time I talked about Deadpool, I was proven very wrong. Deadpool was a hit with critics and audiences, receiving a lot of praise. There are people who did not care for it, but the movie broke records nobody expected.
I am happy to be wrong here. I am glad it has succeeded. And I think there is room for both family friendly super hero films and ‘R-Rated’ super-hero films.
On Twitter a week or so back, I got involved briefly in a discussion that was inspired by a tweet that stated that “Nothing Good Can Come From Deadpool’s Success.” I took the opposite side, arguing I do not think it means all super-hero films are suddenly going to go hard ‘R’.
Then in a couple days time, we saw announcements of the next Wolverine film will be ‘R’ and there will be an ‘R’ rated “super cut” of Superman vs Batman. And I do get the concern, though I am not ready to admit defeat. The Wolverine is not surprising, and they have skirted the violence of the character for over a decade.
Going back to X-2 we were being given pitches that we were about to see the Wolverine the last film did not deliver. We got a more violent cut of the second Wolverine film. At best, the success of Deadpool let them know that the ‘R’ is not the kiss of death.
In regards to Superman and Batman…Warner Brothers has always seen dark and gritty as the key to success. When Superman Returns did not succeed quite as big as the WB had hoped? They cited that it was not Dark Enough. When the Dark Knight succeeded they felt vindicated and even suggested that this is how they would fix Superman. When Green Lantern failed Warner Brothers blamed the film for not being dark enough.
Yet Man of Steel was dark and grim. And it seems the DC Universe was already on this path, well before Deadpool.
What is sad, is there is a lesson to be learned from Deadpool’s success. Deadpool was not a dark and grim take on super-heroes. It was a fun and bizarre ride. It had dark humor, and lot of it. But it was funny and intentionally so. The creators (from the writers to the director to the stars on) got the character. They knew and were faithful to their source.
Deadpool proves taking a big risk is worth doing. Films that know who they are? They are what studios should take a chance on. Truth their creatives, don’t micro manage. Letting the creators be free often produces positive results. Micro-Managing everything gives us studio vision and less interesting films.