Study Guide

Deadpool

Deadpool Introduction


Release Year: 2016

Genre: Action, Comedy, Superhero

Director: Tim Miller

Writers: Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick

Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein


Way back in 2016, pop culture had reached peak superhero season. It seemed like every other weekend, another man or woman in tights was saving the world from a maniacal supervillain or retrieving a magical stone or hanging out with a sentient tree named Groot. We even got a movie about a guy who can communicate with ants called Ant-Man, for crying out loud. As a genre, superheroes were maxed out.

Enter Deadpool.

Released on February 12, 2016—just in time for a bloody good Valentine's Day—Deadpool shook up the super-status quo. Ryan Reynolds, who was instrumental in shepherding "the Merc with a Mouth" from panel to screen and who was undoubtedly itching to erase 2011's mega-flop Green Lantern from moviegoers' minds, plays our leading man, Deadpool. And this guy has an origin story that's unlike any other comic book character's: joyfully demented and thoroughly hilarious.

Director Tim Miller's first feature film is also incredibly violent and heavy on the adult fare in general. Spider-Man this was not, as Deadpool snagged the R rating to prove it. While that eliminated kids and most teens from Deadpool's audience on opening weekend, it did nothing to diminish the film's impact at the box office. Produced on a slim $58 million budget (slim for a superhero flick, anyway), Deadpool went on to earn two Golden Globe nominations—Best Comedy and Best Actor—and gross over $363 million in just the United States alone. That's a whole lot of chimichangas. https://nerdist.com/deadpool-chimichangas-recipe/

When it comes to Deadpool's particular brand of fast-talking, entrails-spilling, Limp Bizkit-dragging style of heroism, audiences were all in. Critics, on the other hand, didn't quite know what to make of the film. Some dug the foul-mouthed splatterfest; others found its sophomoric humor and buckets of gore grating.

There was one thing that almost all reviewers agreed upon, though: for all its faults, guts, and dated pop culture references, Deadpool is a whole lot of fun.

What is Deadpool About and Why Should I Care?

Forget what you've heard: Deadpool isn't the first R-rated superhero movie. Before Ryan Reynolds started shredding bad guys and dropping off-color insults faster than you can say "Mom, I'll just watch this one alone," there was Watchmen, Blade, Constantine, Dredd…You get it.

Deadpool is the first self-aware superhero, though, and that's a pretty big deal. Unlike every other major comic book character, Wade Wilson knows that he's in a comic book movie. He mentions it frequently, in fact. He addresses the audience directly. He even critiques his own film—including why he's headlining his own movie in the first place.

That doesn't mean that Deadpool avoids all the usual tropes of the average superhero flick, though. There's still a damsel in distress. There's still a big action set piece at the end. Good still triumphs over evil—okay, so good-ish triumphs over evil.

What sets Deadpool apart is that Deadpool calls these clichés out. Because he's self-aware, because he's in on the joke, Deadpool the movie can get away with indulging in a few tried and true superhero stereotypes to tell its story, and Deadpool the character can lay claim to being the first postmodern superhero.

Trivia

Ryan Reynolds took a stand to play Deadpool—literally. Once he had his full body makeup on, he couldn't sit or lie down.
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Thank you for being a friend… In the comics, Deadpool is a massive Golden Girls Fan. In the movie, it cost the studio $10,000 to show Bea Arthur's face on Wade's T-shirt.
(Source)

Before she got into acting, Gina Carano, who plays Angel Dust, was an MMA fighter whose nicknames included Conviction and Crush, but, sadly, not Colossus.
(Source)

Oh, Canada! Deadpool is Canadian, just like Ryan Reynolds.
(Source)

Deadpool Resources

Websites

20th Century Fox's Deadpool Site
The official online home of the Merc with a Mouth.

Deadpool's Rotten Tomatoes Page
Funnily enough, critics were split on a hyper-violent, hilariously profane superhero flick.

Deadpool's IMDb Page
Contrary to popular opinion, the D in IMDb does not stand for Deadpool.

Articles and Interviews

"Deadpool: Ryan Reynolds and Tim Miller on Footage Leaks, Guardians Anxiety and Hyper-Violence"
Reynolds thought he'd lost his shot at Deadpool after Green Lantern bombed so hard.

"Tim Miller Talks Deadpool Development and X-Men Universe"
Miller founds the film's R rating liberating. (It shows.)

"The Deadpool Moment"
A lengthy history of Deadpool's equally lengthy journey from a couple of dudes' imaginations to your local multiplex.

"Ryan Reynolds Explains Why Deadpool Nearly Gave Him a Nervous Breakdown"
In which Reynolds describes the film's cast and crew as a "mercurial crazy burgoo."

Action Movie HD Interview with Ryan Reynolds
The Deadpool star calls his alter ego "morally flexible." That's one way to put it.

Video

Deadpool Trailer
And it only took, like, 12 years to make it to the big screen.

Wade Meets Vanessa
These two are a match made in grimy-dive-bar-filled-with-mercenaries heaven.

Deadpool Recruits the X-Men
Well, two of them anyway.

Colossus vs. Angel Dust
He may prefer not to hit a woman, but she's no ordinary woman.

Deadpool Sidekick Auditions with James Corden
Strawberry Shortfuse gets our vote.

Leaked Deadpool Footage
The mysteriously leaked visual effects test that made Deadpool a reality.

Audio

Juice Newton – "Angel of the Morning"
The gooey slice of '80s pop cheese that accompanies Deadpool's iconic opening titles.

George Michael – "Careless Whisper"
Not to get all music snob, but if Wade was such a big Wham fan, he'd know that this is technically a solo George Michael jam.

Deadpool Movie Poster
The best Valentine's Day date idea of 2016.

Creating Deadpool's Mask
Wait—you mean he didn't make it himself?