Despite amassing a rather large following since his debut in 1991's The New Mutants #98, Deadpool is still one of the riskier superhero movies to date. The Merc with a Mouth gets plenty of monthly readers, but was relatively unknown to much of general audiences before it was announced he was getting his own movie. However, 20th Century Fox is banking on the hope that sticking closer to the source material will help Deadpool find success in the crowded field of the superhero genre.
As the sheer amount of superhero movies continues to increase, many are starting to find it hard to differentiate themselves. Fox saw this earlier this year with Fantastic Four, which struggled throughout production and failed to attract much of an audience. Part of the problem with that movie was that its behind the scenes problems were quit apparent in the final product, whereas with Deadpool it seems Fox is letting director Tim Miller have a little bit more freedom.
Ryan Reynolds - who previously played the character of Wade Wilson/Deadpool in X-Men: Origins - Wolverine - is returning to play a very different version of that same character here. The actor recently had a chance to speak with GQ, where he discussed the superhero genre, why he thinks Fantastic Four failed, and why he thinks Deadpool won't.
First off, when asked if he was hesitant to return to the superhero genre after Green Lantern, Reynolds said:
A little bit. But Deadpool was different because there wasn’t a big budget attached to it. There was not a tremendous responsibility to meet some kind of bottom line. Those kinds of superhero movies when you’re out front, there’s a vast and quite frightening budget attached to them. This one had a super-reasonable budget, and it was subversive and a little bit different, and to me a little refreshing in the comic-book world. But you always have trepidation. When you’re out front, you have trepidation.
As with any project, it's important to be reasonable about the budget it's given. While Deadpool is sure to be popular with more mature crowds, its R-rating is likely to keep at least some younger audiences away, which is likely why Fox tried to keep the budget smaller. While staying on the same subject, though, Reynolds assured that he would still do Green Lantern if he got to do it all over again, in spite of its shortcoming:
If I had to do it all again, I’d do the exact same thing. You know, also,Green Lantern—you gotta remember, at the time, everyone was gunning for that role. The guys I was screen-testing against are amazing talents. [Reynolds reportedly beat out Bradley Cooper, Justin Timberlake, and Jared Leto for the role.] But would I change it? No! And if it was as big a success, then it might have offered a whole different avenue of opportunities, or maybe I would just be kind of always that guy. I really don’t know.
Reynolds then moved onto talk about Fantastic Four and the superhero genre in general, saying there are always going to be both good and bad films:
It’s a genre. There are good horror movies and bad horror movies. There are good comedies and bad comedies. Think of it like that. Think of it less about just superheroes. I do believe that they explore similar archetypes a lot, so I think that notion can be somewhat fatiguing, maybe. I think one of the reasons that Deadpool has gained a lot of momentum isn’t just that it’s funny or isn’t just that it’s rated R. The meta aspect is very important. So I think Deadpool’s coming along at the right time, because it’s also speaking to that generation and that group of people that have seen them all, seen all these comic-book films and enjoyed them all to varying degrees of success. But I think it’s speaking to them as though the guy in that red suit is one of them, to some degree.
Reynolds does have a point in that Deadpool seems to be a very unique installment in the field of superhero movies, which could be at least partially responsible for its popularity so far. Similar to what Marvel has done before with their solo movies, Deadpool is a noticeable departure from the tone of previous installments in the X-Men film universe, as well as most Marvel comic book adaptations in general. From his fourth-wall breaking to the outlandish amounts of gore, Deadpool could appeal to audiences who have otherwise grown tired of familiar superhero archetypes being repeated on the big screen.
Deadpool opens on February 12th, 2016, followed by X-Men: Apocalypse on May 27th, 2016; Gambit on October 7th, 2016; Wolverine on March 3rd, 2017, Fantastic Four 2 on June 9th, 2017; and some as-yet unspecified X-Men film on July 13th, 2018. The New Mutants is also in development.