Deadpool captures the grungy and comedic stylings of the titular hero, but I fail to see the risks that other reviewers and fans are claiming it took.
First, a little background: There’s a image sharing site that I visit on a daily basis by the name of Imgur (an offshoot of Reddit). And in a way, it’s the mouthpiece of my generation, especially when it comes to subculture… and kittens… and that one gif where Hitler eats a watermelon. Most of my friends either have an account, or are lurkers such as myself, or they frequent sites like 9gag, which aggregates all their material from Imgur and Reddit.
So, despite the disconnected media shitting their collective pants over Deadpools success, it’s not a huge surprise to me that Deadpool got made or did well. Anyone who frequents the interwebs has seen the demand grow for the past eight years—again, especially on Imgur and Reddit. A sort of quick cult rose up out of the depths of usersub, made itself known and refused to be silence by downvotes.
I’m only surprised that Fox didn’t capitalize on the built-in audience sooner—For clarification, a built-in audience is studio jargon for guaranteed asses in the seats. And movies with built in audiences are the only films getting made these days. If fox wanted to take an actual risk, they’d make a film without a built-in audience.
Fox didn’t have to do all that much leg-work in order to please the fans. All they needed to do was listen; the fans have posted non-stop about their dream Deadpool movie for years. There was even an outcry on Imgur that Reynolds should have another decent shot at Deadpool—not that X-men Origins was really a shot. I also don’t think it’s a coincidence that Morena Baccarin is the witty love interest in the story. It makes sense to cast her as the Nora to Deadpool’s Nick, considering the unrequited obsession every neck-beard on internet has with Firefly—I get it, it was good show.
It wasn’t a risk to release it under an R-rating, either. It’s just smart business. It would have been financial suicide to release it with anything other than an R. Anyone remember when they pussified the Robo-cop remake? Fans all over the web boycotted it and criticized it simply because it wasn’t violent enough. To the fans, violence is intrinsic to the concept of the character: A PG version of Robo-cops death wont cut it. And, to be honest, Deadpool is a soft R with just enough violence to keep people happy without people leaving the theatre in disgust.
I don’t think it cheapens the film at all that the studios actually listened intently to the fans; actually, I think they should do it more often. I only want to make clear that Deadpool wasn’t a gamble. People wanted this movie, and the studios made it so. And they did a good job. I know I’ve been ranting about the context of the movie rather than the movie itself, but that’s only because there’s not that much to read into, it’s a fun popcorn flick. Go see it.
I’ll admit that the movie far outreached the built-in audience it had accrued over the last couple years, grossing over 460 million already. And, I’m not a hundred percent sure why, but if I were to hazard a guess, I think it’s because Deadpool’s the merc outside the Marvel machine, free to break the fourth wall and parody the very people he’s fighting alongside. If I’m right, it doesn’t bode well for the superhero genre, because parodies proceed or accompany the flops when it comes to genre busts.