This is not a review of the Deadpool movie. There are a great many of them around, and many of the positive ones have covered any points I would make in the way that I would make them. What I’m writing here is an opinion on what this movie means, and why we should celebrate that it saw the light of day.
Outside of Marvel’s own movies, too many of the other films based on comic books have been one director or another’s “interpretation” of that comic. Take for example the portrayal of Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, where some writer or director decided that the Merc with the Mouth shouldn’t have a mouth, or Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer, where Galactus was turned into a cloud. These two are examples of a lack of respect or knowledge of the characters by the people making the films.
Deadpool marks the first non-Marvel Studios movie that attempts to be somewhat faithful to the source material. From one point of view, the Deadpool movie is more faithful to the character simply because the @#!&ing language isn’t censored the way it is in the comics. The biggest departure from the source material is the dead pool itself. In the comics, the dead pool was part of the Weapon X facility. Also, the absence of Ajax’s boss, Doctor Killebrew, seems odd. It’s clear in the movie that Ajax has a boss, but he or she is never mentioned.
Despite the changes, watching the Deadpool movie feels like reading the comic. The movie gets away with breaking all the rules because that’s how the character works in the comics, and the only way to make a Deadpool movie that will not be universally panned by every fan is to make it this way.
But why is this a good thing? Why should it be celebrated?
Because the success of this film should be a wake-up call, not only to the other studios with rights to comic book characters, but to Marvel Studios as well: It proves that making a film without major changes to a beloved character can work. It proves that making changes for the sake of making changes, or purely through the hubris of the studios thinking they can “improve” on the source, is not necessary. Deadpool works because it has been made by people who care about the source material, and by people who seem to be fans. They aren’t experimenting, and they aren’t setting off on creative tangents.
If the studios are paying attention, they’ll hopefully see that they need to rein in their teams, or find teams who are actual fans, and see what they can come up with in terms of telling the stories in a faithful, yet impressive way, otherwise we’ll never see a good Fantastic Four film, or a good Punisher film. I’m also hoping that Fox themselves pay attention and stop trying to stray too far from canon in the X-Men films.
The people behind Deadpool, led by Ryan Reynolds, have broken the mould by staying faithful to the mould, and that is why this film is important. Let’s hope for more of the same.