One of the show-stoppers of 20th Century Fox’s big San Diego Comic-Con panel was the trailer for the X-Men spinoff film “Deadpool.” Fans reportedly loved it — so much so that the trailer was shown twice!
But who is Deadpool, and why is this a big deal?
Created in 1991 by Fabian Nicieza and Rob Liefeld, Deadpool was originally an antihero in the Punisher mould, a scumbag antihero with big guns and two swords. But in 1997 writer Joe Kelly and artist Ed McGuiness decided to reinvent the character completely, and it’s thanks to those two that Deadpool is famous.
The Deadpool Kelly and McGuiness depicted was a parody machine, lambasting every trope of action heroes and superhero comics with an extra fourth-wall breaking twist: Deadpool knew he was a comic book character, and talked about it all the time. Since then, that’s been a defining trait of the character, who has since become the hero of numerous violent action-comedy comics, each more ridiculous than the last (The recently concluded series by Brian Posehn, Gerry Duggan, and Tony Moore kicked off with Deadpool taking on zombie US Presidents).
That’s what people love about Deadpool: Over-the-top action and crazy meta-comedy.
And from the trailer screened at San Diego Comic-Con, it looks like this new movie is getting everything right.
While it will take the studio three weeks to officially release the trailer (star Ryan Reynolds says that’s because the visual effects aren’t done yet), what was shown at Comic-Con is remarkably faithful to the source material. We’re introduced to Ryan Reynolds character, Wade Wilson, a man with cancer in his “liver, lungs, prostate, and brain,” promptly quipping that they are “all things I can live without.”
Wilson then submits himself to a military experiment that promises to make him “a superhero” and heal him. In the comic books, this is the same Weapon X project that gave Wolverine his metal skeleton and claws. Just before the procedure begins, Wilson requests that they “please don’t make the super suit green. Or animated!”
Meta-humour? Double check.
Not-very-subtle connection to the X-Men? Check.
Then Deadpool tells the camera to “cue the music.”
Breaking down that fourth wall? Definitely.
Oh, and then they reveal the side-effect to the experiment that turned Wade into Deadpool — his skin is horribly scarred and disfigured, and there are several very descriptive and filthy jokes traded between Wade and his pal about how ugly he now looks. “Like an avocado had sex with an older avocado” is probably the tamest one, I swear. Then there’s a bunch of stylish and gory violence, complete with headshots.
R-rated comedy and violence? Totally there.
Deadpool is a character you sort of have to experience for yourself to understand why he has such ardent fans, but it’s hard to miss the appeal of an exuberantly irreverent R-rated superhero comedy. It’s something that we haven’t really seen before outside of maybe the first “Kick-Arse,” and as we become more and more accustomed to the spectacle of superheroes onscreen, “Deadpool” could prove to be an extremely fun palate cleanser.
At the very least, it’s a heartfelt apology for the first time Reynolds played Deadpool in “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.” Because that was horrendous.
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