As many of you may have heard through the grapevine, Deadpool is officially beginning principle photography today, with Ryan Reynolds and Morena Baccarin both tweeting photos of their chairs on set. Of course, as beloved as the character is, a Deadpool movie in and of itself is not a guaranteed smash. In order to be the massive box office draw that it deserves to be, there are a few conditions that must be met.
Thankfully, there’s reason to feel hopeful with the knowledge that Fox is 100% behind this project succeeding following the overwhelmingly positive fan response to the leaked test footage. Done correctly, Deadpool has the potential to be Marvel’s biggest film success to date, rivaling even the stellar Guardians of the Galaxy, so long as…
The Deadpool movie is allowed to be a Deadpool movie
Look, it’s simple. Deadpool can’t be afraid to be get its hands dirty. The target audience for this movie is not kids and Deadpool will need to rely on the extremely passionate adult fan base of the comics to make money. Simply put, the marketing department and box office can’t get cold feet about promoting it properly.
The Deadpool character is irreverent, violent, bloody, and extremely non-PC. If the movie is going to thrive, Fox has to be ready to promote it as such and not try to water it down or present it as something that it’s not. Deadpool is not a generic, save-the-day, Boy Scout superhero and he shouldn’t be marketed as such. If the movie is anything like the test footage we got, this shouldn’t be too big of a hurdle to clear.
It needs an R-Rating
Yes, before all the fans roast me on a spit, I’m aware that this is the most talked about thing on the subject of a Deadpool movie. While I’m not a part of the camp that thinks the movie will utterly fail with a PG-13 rating, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that the movie is tailor-made for an R.
It’s true that the amount of violence you can get away with in a PG-13 movie is pretty impressive but the real clincher here is the language. Deadpool has a foul mouth, hence his nickname “The Merc with a Mouth”. I’m not entirely sure what the generally accepted amount of f-bombs in a PG-13 movie is but I’m pretty confident that it wouldn’t be anywhere near enough for Deadpool. So, to finish beating this long-since-dead horse; Deadpool needs an appropriate rating to realize its full potential.
Still, there’s more to the puzzle than just that.
Don’t spam the X-Men connection, but definitely address it
If there’s one group of Marvel heroes that Deadpool is more than a little familiar with, it’s the X-Men. And when I say X-Men, you know I’m really talking about Wolverine. Given that Wade Wilson’s cancer-defeating healing factor was taken from Wolverine’s DNA via the Weapon X project, it’s pretty much a destined encounter.
I think ideally, the heavily rumored Hugh Jackman cameo would suffice. It would also plant the seeds for Deadpool’s eventual appearances in future X-Men movies. How awesome would that be?
Don’t ignore the 4th wall; Smash through it
Comic book fans know that a key element to Deadpool’s endlessly entertaining character is his knowledge, and frequent breaking of, the 4th wall. Deadpool is aware that he’s in a comic book and often talks directly to the readers or acknowledges the thought and speech bubbles floating over his head.
This will take a lot more than just talking directly to the camera. While that is an effective move, Deadpool needs to take it further. Wade needs to be aware that he’s in a movie and the humor that follows should take advantage of that particular revelation. Last, but not least…
Let Tim Miller and Ryan Reynolds do their thing
This one is as simple as it gets. Because Deadpool is going to be a part of the X-Men movie universe, Fox is naturally going to have some reservations about creative decisions. If Ryan Reynolds and director Tim Miller are going to pull this off, they need to be allowed to sit back and work.
Given how much passion and energy Ryan Reynolds devoted to getting the entire Deadpool project green lit, and the horrible portrayal of the character in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, I don’t see the Deadpool crew taking any unnecessary risks when it comes to presentation. Deadpool isn’t the kind of character who needs to be “reimagined” or “updated”. He works and always has worked and he isn’t broken. Bottom line; don’t “fix” him.