The Bird

Jason Ferris, Editor

When the opening credits of Deadpool rolled up on the big screen, we all knew this would change the nature of the superhero film or put Fox $58 million in the hole. We’ll call the opening credits self-deprecating and leave it at that. To the delight of Fox, Deadpool’s R rating of nude scenes and middle-finger-flipping won the movie $135 million in domestic profit, the title of the biggest opening weekend for an R-rated movie in history, and $260 million worldwide. Fox was right to advance the opening of Deadpool before long-awaited films in the Marvel lineup like Captain America: Civil War. The film showcases the power of fans and overturns the dated superhero complex kicking once taboo comics like Deadpool to the side. Deadpool is giving comic tradition the bird.

Production studios and directors; they are the authors of film choice. They handpick the stories that will enter production, which fandoms throw their money behind. That is, until Deadpool erupted onto the big screen. Ryan Reynolds had, for years, been pushing for this comic legend to claim his mantle on the big screen. But, it was not until fan demand tore free of the virtual chains of the internet and crawled into Fox Studios that the production company took charge with, what they saw to be, a guaranteed hit. It is a new age in film choice, one where fan demand for an anti-hero with foggy morals is revered. Deadpool is the story of former Special Forces operative-turned-mercenary Wade Wilson, taking on the alter ego Deadpool after an experiment grants him accelerated healing powers. Armed with his new abilities and a twisted sense of humor, Deadpool hunts for the man that ruined his life. As Deadpool explains to movie-goers, his is a love story. Genre is a gray area, as are most things when it comes to this anti-hero, but I’ll give it to him. It fits into the love story equation: boy meets girl, pair fall in love and just as they settle into their charmed lives, tragedy strikes until they realize they need one another. It is this genre-inclusive air that accelerated Deadpool’s timeline ahead of other long-awaited favorites.

Deadpool has made a big splash in the film world, one that has sent ripples through far more than film choice. Superhero films have a face, one with chiseled features and clean night hair. He dons a red S and rippling cape. Yes, you guessed it—Superman. Superheroes, by popular definition, fight for “truth, justice, and the American way.” They are moral gods who put the needs of others above themselves. So why did a character like Deadpool drowning in revenge make it into the superhero movie universe? The definition of a hero, it seems, is changing. The definition has been stretched already in the comic universe as these heroes face human struggle but the big screen has been a squeaky clean stage of selfless deeds. That is, until Deadpool. Not only did Deadpool criticize his movie creators as he does in the comics, dubbing the director “some overpaid tool,” but he is a mercenary, a far stretch from Superman’s red, white and blue values. This hired hand had a troubled childhood like many heroes but turned to killing rather than righteous crime fighting. He sought out a relationship and abandoned his fiancé to spare her the burden of watching him die. He risks his life in experiments to cure his cancer and comes out of them a repulsive beast, hiding his shame and his accelerated healing powers in his signature red suit. Deadpool is, as Deadpool says to viewers, a love story. There are human colors in this blood thirsty killer. He is a madman, but his problems make him more human than any overpowered alien. He is a real hero because he lives a messier life than that of a god like Superman. Who can blame a human like Lex Luther from trying to stop a god like Superman? Too perfect?

Deadpool is far from a traditional film. Superhero movies rarely come with an R rating but Deadpool is not above flipping off these films or his creators. He is not above killing or troubles or struggles to do what is right, and no, not whether to tell someone his secret identity like we have seen a thousand times. Deadpool is an anti-hero by many definitions. He defies the Superman complex. But he showcases the power of fans and overturns the dated superhero complex kicking once-taboo comics like Deadpool to the side. He showcases a real hero. So yes, perfect superman, you do deserve the bird.