Study Guide

Deadpool Genre

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Superhero; Action; Comedy

For proof that satirizing superhero movies is a tricky business, look no further than Deadpool. With its digs at the long-running X-Men film franchise, as well as its very own production studio, Deadpool desperately wants to subvert the superhero movie genre, and it does…kind of.

Deadpool is one of just a handful of R-rated superhero movies, and it's the only superhero movie that takes sex, violence, gore, and profanity to stratospheric heights. It's also a raucous and self-aware comedy, even if not all of the gags land. (Limp Bizkit jokes in 2016? Oof.) The stream of bawdy pop culture references, creative insults, and geeky in-jokes that flows from behind Deadpool's red mask is rivaled only by the lumpy torrent of blood and guts he leaves in his wake when he heads home to Blind Al.

Still, Deadpool follows many of the superhero genre's constructs. It's heavy on the action, filled with weapons, combat, and a car chase. It's also a love story, right down to its damsel in distress, that follows familiar story beats: Boy meets girl. Boy loses girl. Boy struggles to win her back. Deadpool puts its own dirty spin on these beats, but it still hits them all the same. Like all superhero films, it ends with a huge action set piece (in this case, a shipyard), and like all Marvel movies, it includes a cameo from Stan Lee. In the end, Deadpool may not subvert all the clichés of the superhero genre, but, at a minimum, it calls them out, and that's more than we can say for most movies that are heavy on the tights, capes, and tidy ethics.

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