The Story Of Deadpool 2
Ryan Reynolds Changes The Superhero Game
There are so many super hero movies these days, it’s easy to dismiss them as derivative schlock, easy box office bait pandering to the lowest common denominator. For the most part, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Every superhero, from Superman to Captain America, The Mighty Thor to Doctor Strange and beyond, draws from a different creative avenue, and movies like Batman Begins and Watchmen have shown, time and time again, that superheroes aren’t just for kids, but for adult audiences looking for deep themes and difficult characterization.
At the cross-section between maturity and silliness lies 2016’s Deadpool, starring Ryan Reynolds. Today, Reynolds is one of the hottest A-listers in Hollywood, but Deadpool had been his passion project for years. Unfortunately, he initially couldn’t get funding to make the film the way he wanted to, but he did manage to play a significantly different version of the character in 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
Finally, after years of perseverance, Reynolds (and director Tim Miller) managed to get the green-light for their R-rated superhero action/comedy, but with a budget of only $58 million, a fraction of that of movies like Batman V Superman ($250 million) or Doctor Strange ($165 million). Despite this handicap, Deadpool managed to rake in an astounding $783 million worldwide, and that’s without a theatrical run in China, one of the world’s biggest markets.
Studio Fox had little faith in Deadpool. It was an R-rated feature with severed heads, blood, gore, juvenile sex jokes, and F-bombs aplenty. It took its lead, Ryan Reynolds, one of the prettiest boys on the planet, and used advanced makeup techniques to horribly disfigure his face. As a character in the movie puts it, “you look like Freddy Kreuger face-fucked a topographical map of Utah.” Basically, it’s not a movie for little children… It’s a movie for big children.
The character of Deadpool was first created in 1991 by Rob Liefield. Initially a part of the early 1990s “hardcore” era of comics, the character eventually became the off-kilter pastiche of violent comics we all know and love today, with his dual guns, dual katanas, and assortment of explosive ordinance.
At its core, Deadpool is a superhero parody which deconstructs the nature of comic book heroes, and comics themselves. Due to his super powers, Wade Wilson, AKA Deadpool, is aware that he’s in a comic book (or in this case, a movie), and frequently address the audience on the story’s tropes and of the modern era’s perceived superhero saturation.
The crux of the film’s success is its star, Ryan Reynolds, whose passion and dedication led to the movie being made in the first place. Even under layers of gnarly makeup, his charm and charisma made the character a delightful presence on camera, even when dropping asinine one-liners, cutting up bad guys with swords, and farting on Leslie Uggams.
Now, two years later, Deadpool 2 is nearly upon us. Tim Miller exited the director’s chair, with John Wick‘s David Leitch stepping in to call the shots on this one. Based on the first trailer, the movie looks to be bigger and more epic than before, while still retaining the original’s lighthearted sensibilities and affinity for low-brow antics. The biggest addition to the cast is Josh Brolin as Cable, a time-traveling cyborg from the future. A stoic badass, he’s the ultimate straight man, and thus the perfect foil to the irreverent Deadpool.
Deadpool 2 slices and dices its way into theaters on May 18.