The Seventh Day of Crossmas
In this seasonal series, the good people of Crossfader detail what they want pop culture to get them for Crossmas this year. This time around it’s…
In case it hasn’t been made clear enough or you’re currently waking up from a coma, we’re currently in the throes of the Comic Book Movie Era. No one’s quite sure when exactly it started (BLADE? IRON MAN? Christopher Nolan? That FANTASTIC FOUR movie from the early 90s?), but the idea of bringing spandex-clad titans to the screen is an incredibly fruitful one at the moment. Also, traveling by plane is pretty much a bunch of bullshit now.
“I swear, I read it for the articles!”
I think I’m finally going through what millions of fans have gone through before when movies featuring their favorite heroes were made; appearing excited for the release but at the same time sweating and praying that the character’s traits that they love and hold dear will also be properly expressed in the film. For many fans, this hasn’t at all quite been the case.
This space is blank, but we know you’re projecting something on it
Let’s back up; if you’re familiar with my social media presence, I love the shit out of Deadpool. Deadpool, for those unaware, was created by Rob Liefeld in the early 90s (Possibly out of hatred for that Fantastic Four movie) and started out as a villainous bounty hunter from the future. Over time his backstory was explained as a member of the same weapons program that created Wolverine, the treatments he received giving him almost superhuman strength, speed, and stamina, as well as the ability to recover from any injury. Unfortunately, they also left him with severe scarring from the cancer he had prior to the treatment and pretty much broke his mind. Dubbed “The Merc with a Mouth”, Deadpool is known for his crass and sarcastic sense of humor, bloody fight sequences, and the ability to break the fourth wall to occasionally address the reader or decry the writers of his comic.
It’s like you’re in on the joke, but you’re sitting there like an asshole!
Confession ahead: my first experience with Deadpool (AKA Wade Wilson) was during a playthrough of MARVEL: ULTIMATE ALLIANCE for the PS2. I selected Deadpool mainly out of a sense of “Who’s this clown?”, and maybe it was his special dialogue options voiced by Raymundo from ROCKET POWER, but I was into it. From then on I learned just about everything I could about Deadpool, picking up compilations of stories, picking up comics, and being at the general forefront of Deadpool news. I even penned a Deadpool screenplay for one of my classes, so you can imagine the mixture of joy and crushing defeat I felt at the announcement that DEADPOOL was actually coming to theaters. From the “leaked” test footage to the HD trailer announcement to the recent 12 Days of Deadpool ad campaign, I’ve been at the edge of my seat, but a constant, nagging thought has been pulling at me the entire time: Is this Deadpool just gonna be dick jokes? Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy well-constructed phallus humor and snide allusions to sex acts as much as the next pseudo-intellectual that’s actually a 12 year old boy, there’s just a part of Deadpool that I find incredibly interesting that I’m worried will get overlooked in the search for mainstream acceptance of what is universally referred to as a “cult favorite.”
In one of the first Deadpool collections I bought, there’s a story entitled ONE DOWN wherein Deadpool pontificates on many things, chief among them a vague “Chicken or Egg” debate with the voices in his head. Over the course of the story it’s revealed that he’s just begun a hunt to kill his fans, in order to lessen the demand for him so that the writers will finally let him die. It’s a hilarious twist of logic and wall-breaking that I enjoyed, but this line of thinking is actually prevalent in most depictions of Deadpool. Another storyline (DEAD) involves Deadpool manipulating various factions of mutants and criminals in order to draw out the owner of a mysterious serum that can reverse his powers, making him mortal, and thus allowing him to die. In yet another storyline where he teams up with the Avengers, a character lays it out clear that the reasons Deadpool gets into the fights he does is not because he’s unafraid of death, but because he WANTS to die. It’s even officially canon that he has a longtime relationship with the Marvel Universe’s personification of Death, attracted to something she can never have.
Death also appears to have the humor of a 12-year-old boy
For a character that has mainly been presented using dick jokes and has a flair for “random” humor, the underlying desire for his own destruction is an interesting character trait to possess, especially the examination of how one character could have both. I personally find it interesting for its comparability to some of the greatest comedians, despite its exaggeration. It adds an extra dimension to Deadpool’s character and makes him more of a real person, more relatable and more fully-developed. One of the reasons I love Deadpool is that he’s not a regular comic book character, equipped with one-liners full of bravado and tethered to the overwrought theatrical style of most comic book heroes and villains. He appreciates that the life of people in Marvel comics is insane, and reacts with insanity to that world in order to handle and poke fun at it. And I want that dismissal of severity and sense of humor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but not at the expense of Deadpool’s other traits, the ones that make him a more fully-developed character.
I knew there was a “fully developed” joke in here somewhere
This all being said, I’m not too concerned; when most people were cursing Ryan Reynolds’ name as he was announced to play Deadpool, I was confident that Reynolds could give Wade Wilson the performance the character deserved. Reynolds is a huge fan of Deadpool as well and has been waiting for the opportunity for years, so I believe in his ability and have faith in his portrayal, but the studio pulling the strings has me concerned. However, the film will be the only R-rated film in Marvel’s roster so far, so maybe there’s hope that the movie will be more than a severely disfigured face with a flair for dicks.