For years and years, comic fans have been split down the middle with love-it or hate-it feelings towards Hollywood’s portrayal of their favorite heroes and villains. The question now is, will Deadpool‘s success help or hurt the future?
I have read many articles and more than a few comments dealing with this topic. The fear is that Hollywood will misunderstand what exactly made Deadpool a success at the box office. It was not the excessive cussing, the gratuitous violence, the nudity, nor the R-rating that made Deapool a hit… it was a film that stayed true to the roots of the character.
James Gunn (director for Guardians of the Galaxy) came to the forefront of this debate, and his reaction was spot on– his worries predicted that the movie executives would go on a fire sale, greenlighting all sorts of anti-heroes and villains with raunchy attitudes who are known to break the fourth wall. Gunn’s quotes were spot on, saying “Deadpool was its own thing. THAT’S what people are reacting to. It’s original, it’s damn good, it was made with love by the filmmakers, and it wasn’t afraid to take risks.”
DC fans are already buzzing about a Lobo movie or (GASP) a Harley Quinn stand alone picture… rumors are already pointing to Harley Quinn getting a quick greenlight depending on how well Suicide Squad does this Fall. My issue with that is that the Suicide Squad‘s Harley Quinn is MUCH different than the Amanda Conner/ Jimmy Palmiotti comic book character that has been a direct analogue of Marvel’s Deadpool.
With Deadpool we saw a film that every fan wanted to see– a director who is listening, producers giving in, and a studio saying ‘What the hell? Let’s go for it!’ Some have even said the studio expected Deadpool to flop due to its reverence for its fanbase. I have to say that sounds like a far-fetched idea, but knowing Hollywood I wouldn’t put it past them. I think most of the credit has to go to Ryan Reynolds who lobbied for this movie for more than ten years. He literally put himself into this movie (and showed a lot of himself as well)… after what they did to him in Wolverine Origins (which was poked fun at as well as other aspects of the Fox Marvel Universe) this movie was needed.
The last R-rated comic book movie that became a success was 300 and the success of that film too was how it stayed close to the source material. Sure Dredd was pretty badass, but it did not have the Box Office numbers, so therefore it was overlooked. Over the past decade, there have been notable movies like Kick-Ass, Sin City, and The Crow, but they existed purely in a cult status with fans. There is nothing wrong with that, but Hollywood looks at the money and what made the most of it… which is why Deadpool transcends these films.
If you look on the web you will see many lists, videos, and blogs based on what people want to see as an R-Rated Comic Book movie. My personal opinion is this– We have a pretty extensive list of feature films, so let’s take it one step at a time. As far as DC’s movie universe, before we birth Lobo or a Harley Quinn stand-alone feature, let’s get Batman vs Superman out of the way and see if we have a solid foundation to build upon.