Study Guide

Deadpool Screenwriter

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Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick

Let's cut to the chase: comic book movies aren't exactly known for their engrossing narratives. Sure, there are aberrations like 2017's Logan, which picked up an Oscar nomination for its screenplay. But that's the exception, not the rule. Generally speaking, superhero films are all about the action and special effects…and that's about it.

Deadpool, written Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, is a different sort of exception to the rule. Reese and Wernick's story is pretty standard superhero stuff: Boy meets girl. Boy loses girl to maniacal supervillain. Boy saves girl. What makes it different than the rest of the pack is the sheer density of jokes. Deadpool's nicknamed "The Merc with a Mouth" for a reason.

The humor is almost entirely sophomoric. Deadpool's never met a joke about the male anatomy, or, oddly enough, Sinéad O'Connor, that he doesn't like. While not all of the jokes land—even if half of them do—that's still a top-notch batting average for Reese and Wernick, whose previous credits as a writing team include Zombieland and G.I. Joe: Retaliation. The quips, asides, and direct addresses to the audience fill the screen like an avalanche.

Maybe that explains Ajax. You don't need a charismatic villain when you don't have room for him. (Ooh. Sick burn.)

This overload seems intentional. In Grandpa Shmoop's den, there's a tattered old Successories poster with a bald eagle on it that reads, "You'll always miss 100% of the shots you don't take." That uber-corny placard is right, and its sentiment feels like Reese and Wernick's guiding principle as Deadpool's scribes. Their script is stuffed with so many gags, and Deadpool is so over-the-top in his sarcasm, that it's nearly impossible for every audience member not to find something to laugh about. Deadpool's humor is as cutting as one of his twin katanas, but it's not cynical. The film doesn't wear its heart on its sleeve; it wears its funny bone there instead.

Don't worry…it's not nearly as painful as it sounds.

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