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Deadpool: The Asshole We Didn’t Know We Needed

Written by Johana Mandy

Ever since 2004, there has been speculation and planning to make a movie about Wade Wilson, aka Deadpool. The long expected film has been cancelled, has changed producers, company, writers and directors more than twice, until there was finally confirmation that it was going to happen. The only thing that ever remained the unchanged during this long roller-coaster was the position of actor Ryan Reynolds in the leading role.

Viewing the history of the production of the film, his participation is the only constant factor. For me, a long term Deadpool fan, his participation was the one thing that made me wish the movie would never be made. For some reason I had connected the Canadian actor with a badly made Green Lantern movie, and an also badly-represented Wade Wilson/Deadpool – who appeared to have weird powers he never had in the comics – in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. So to me Ryan Reynolds was not the ideal casting choice.
However, after having given the said movies a second chance, ignoring everything else and focusing on acting alone, I realized I couldn’t have been more wrong. He suits the role perfectly. A great actor, with a wonderful sense of humour and understanding of the character of Deadpool. Most importantly, understanding of the man that Deadpool is behind the mask: Wade Wilson.

Wade is a very interesting character with a tragic back-story and quite a personality. The thing is, if you put aside the sarcasm, the off-the-wall jokes, and the crazy demeanor, all you have left is a hurt, confused, mess of a man. Wade Wilson is a character with depth; he has gone through as many troubles as any other superhero and his story can be used to teach something. He had an abusive childhood, dealt with cancer, been brainwashed, been forced into involuntary participation in experiments (he was misinformed in order to join thus it was involuntary), suffered from memory alteration, and faced several mental disorders and chronic pain. In short, he’s not just the snarky remarks and epic fighting. He represents a disabled superhero, one who‘s disability is not only physical but also mental. There’s so much to him waiting to be explored, and it would be a shame if the movie ended up being as superficial as the video game.

Now, in the video game we see Deapool killing and telling jokes, most of which are not even as smart as they are in the comics. You may say that that’s only a video game and after all that’s what Deadpool does. I agree, but it’s not all he does. If there’s one thing I fear for the upcoming film, this is it. I don’t want to see endless killings and violence, silly and often sexist- jokes, and endless fight scenes alone. Of course there’ll be fight scenes, of course there’ll be jokes; that‘s Deadpool’s nature. But I want to see beyond all that. I want to see Wade Wilson, what drives him, the reasons that made him who he is, the reasons that made him become Deadpool. I want to see the struggle with mental disorder and chronic pain, the fury and will for revenge that hides underneath the light-hearted behavior.

Deadpool is unpredictable and difficult to understand. That’s how he defeats his opponents; he always does what they don’t expect him to. He can take advantage of his 4th wall-breaking knowledge to take them down. He can distract them with his gob. He is capable of great violence and can be quite merciless to people he believes deserve it, especially the ones involved with him becoming who he is. But also, he is the kind of guy who will cover a child’s eyes and tell them to go away in order not to witness the murder of their kidnapper, the kind of guy who doesn’t wish to remove his mask to his own daughter because he doesn’t want to frighten her, someone who is willing to sacrifice himself in order to save someone he doesn’t know very well just because he knows they are good.

That’s the Deadpool I want and expect to see, and I believe that Ryan Reynolds can do that perfectly. There’s a great lead, a great story, and a lot of fun stuff to take advantage of, and I sincerely hope the creators will take into account all of the above.

I don’t expect the film to be a copy of the comics. I only expect it to give the character the growth and depth that he deserves. He’s an antihero, the kind we need to show us that antiheroes don’t have to be superficial badasses who hide their emotions and pretend to be tough and rude. Antiheroes who have a lot going on underneath, which makes them who they are. Deadpool is –by common confessions of himself and every other Marvel character who has worked with him- annoying; he never shuts up, his moral compass is dubious; he’s an asshole. Surprisingly though, he is just the asshole we need.

Are there any story-lines or favourite moments from the comics that you’d like to see in the upcoming film? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter!

About the author

Johana Mandy