STORY BY NED LEEBRICK-STRYKER
It’s official. The comic book anti-hero Deadpool is getting his very own movie, set for 2016. If you’re unsure who that is, I’ll refresh you. Deadpool is a Marvel comic’s character created in 1991 and certainly isn’t your typical protagonist. Deadpool is frequently vulgar and gross. He can’t die, much like Wolverine, so he’ll occasionally get his head or arm cut off, only to put it back on.
But, perhaps his most distinguishing feature is that he breaks the fourth wall.
For those of you who aren’t smelly geeks like me and actually have a life, that means he’s aware of what’s going on. He knows he’s in a comic book, he knows you’re watching him and he’ll frequently make references to that very fact. He may talk to the author of the comic book or joke about the large speech bubbles popping out of his mouth. Without a doubt, this isn’t your usual comic book character.
He’s neither appropriate for children nor is the humor mature enough for adults. But, he has his own distinct identity and people eat it up anyway, including me.
So why am I informing you of all this information? You’re probably thinking it’s because comic books are all I talk about and this particular column will be no different. Well… you’re partially wrong. I am more eager to talk about how this movie, and others like it, have and will be handled, than, for instance, ideal casting choices (though we all know it’s going to be Ryan Reynolds.)
Deadpool is a violent character. To properly treat the character right and respect the source material the movie needs to be rated R. There’s no ifs, ands or buts. More than likely, though, it will be rated PG-13. See, Deadpool is a character from the X-Men universe and the film itself will take place in the same on-screen continuity that Hugh Jackman and Jennifer Lawrence currently occupy.
Also, movies with large budgets, like this one, are bound to have the potential to make more money and often to make more money when they are PG-13. But problems occur when properties like this get “nerfed” or made more appropriate.
I don’t believe a story should be weighed down on what came before, in fact, it should try to carve it’s own identity. But it should also try to respect the tone and characters already established. In this situation, an R rating is a must.
Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy and Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings adaptations are great examples of respecting source material while finding new ways to implement a creative vision.
In Nolan’s case, the concept and themes of the Batman were very much kept alive. Villains were changed and plotlines differed, but at its core, it still had the essence of what Batman stories should be. Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” were faithful to the books, but scenes were cut that were deemed unnecessary and switched some around for pacing. Some characters roles were expanded and even some new scenes were added, all for the good of storytelling.
Interestingly enough, a counter example would also be from Peter Jackson. His “Hobbit” series, despite its fans, are the opposite of changes for the benefit of storytelling. The films are cynically made, with what feels like little passion and more of an attempt to capitalize on Middle Earth one more time. “The Hobbit” was originally a short children’s book by J.R.R Tolkien that could be read in a day. Jackson has expanded that now three, three hour slogs.
Subplots are boring, fan service is cheesy, the pacing is sluggish and it ends up feeling utterly pointless. Did Peter Jackson truly have anything to say with these films or where they just studio mandates? I’m leaning towards the latter. Sorry, “Hobbit” fans.
My point is, Deadpool deserves a great adaptation. Really, all properties do. We need to respect what’s been established in concurrence with a creative vision from those in a different industry.
If Fox can somehow find this article and take heed of my advice, I think we’ll be in for a treat. Don’t disappoint me.