It’s a miracle that Deadpool even exists, let alone that it was a huge hit at the box office and spawned an equally successful sequel, because Fox executives thought it was doomed to fail. Imagine the pitch: a superhero blockbuster with an R rating about a character who isn’t interested in being a hero, constantly talks to the camera, knows he’s in a movie, and enjoys killing people. It must’ve sounded like a sure-fire bomb. But thanks to Ryan Reynolds’ pitch-perfect portrayal of the character, a sharp script, and inventive direction, it became one of the most popular superhero films in recent memory. Here are 10 Superhero Comedies To Watch If You Like Deadpool.
As far removed from the gloomy tone of other DCEU movies as possible, Shazam! emerged earlier this year as a delightful surprise. Having been underserved by Marvel for years, Zachary Levi shines as a superhero controlled by a teenager. David F. Sandberg, the man behind the terrifying horror movie Lights Out, unexpectedly turned out to be the perfect choice for this superpowered pastiche of Big. With Shazam! and Joker, DC seems to be experimenting with wildly outlandish ideas and new styles of comic book movies, knocking it out of the park every time. Hopefully that winning streak will continue.
9 Spider-Man: Homecoming
Instead leaning into the heavy emotional side of Peter Parker (grieving nephew, economically disadvantaged working-class hero etc.), Jon Watts’ initial Spider-Man MCU solo movie, Spider-Man: Homecoming, plays like a John Hughes-era high school comedy, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Spider-Man: Homecoming has more sight gags than set pieces, which was a refreshing change of pace for the MCU. Spidey’s MCU outings don’t have the depth of the Sam Raimi-helmed trilogy, but the character is as relatable as ever and Tom Holland captures the spirit of both Peter Parker and Spider-Man better than Tobey Maguire or Andrew Garfield ever did.
Before he turned an obscure Marvel title about a talking tree and a gun-toting raccoon into an internationally beloved franchise, James Gunn directed this intimate pitch-black comedy about the reality of superheroes. Gunn reasons that if an ordinary guy actually did start putting on a colorful costume and beating up criminals, he wouldn’t be celebrated. When a gangster kidnaps his wife, mild-mannered Frank Darbo (Rainn Wilson, a.k.a. Dwight from The Office) dons a red suit and starts beating up criminals with a wrench under the name “the Crimson Bolt.” Naturally, society views him as a violent psychopath. He recruits the always-excellent Ellen Page as his sidekick, Boltie.
The MCU had never done a full-on comedy before Ant-Man — even Guardians of the Galaxy had real moments of pathos – but when Paul Rudd was cast in the lead role, they knew what they were getting into. Ant-Man is the perfect vehicle for Rudd, because he has the effortless likability to play a superhero and the comedic chops to carry a different kind of MCU solo movie. Outside of the emotional finale, there isn’t a single scene in Ant-Man that isn’t played for laughs. Even the character development is undercut with a punchline. But when Paul Rudd’s delivering that punchline, you don’t mind.
6 The Incredibles
As with most of Pixar’s movies, The Incredibles has lovable characters (and real care for them), laugh-out-loud moments, and a lot of heart. Brad Bird conceived the movie as the story of a regular family that happens to have superpowers, and it’s set in a Watchmen-like world where superheroes have been around for years, but they’ve been declared illegal, so the family is in hiding. The Incredibles is both a loving homage and biting critique of its genre. It got a belated sequel last year, but while it was far from terrible, it failed to capture the unmistakable magic of the original film.
Adapted from the brilliant Mark Millar comic of the same name, Matthew Vaughn’s Kick-Ass asks a familiar question — what would it be like if superheroes existed in the real world? — and puts a fresh spin on it. Nerdy teenager Dave Lizewski puts on a wetsuit and tries to thwart a crime like his heroes from the pages of comic books, and he gets promptly stabbed in the abdomen and rushed to hospital, where his bloodied wetsuit is thrown in the trash. When he continues to suck at fighting crime, he’s saved by a Batman-like vigilante named Big Daddy and his C-bomb-dropping 13-year-old daughter, Hit-Girl. Kick-Ass is the Scream of superhero movies — it works well as both a superhero movie and as a deconstruction of superhero movies set in a world where the characters are aware of superhero comics.
4 Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
At its core, the beautifully animated Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is the story of Miles Morales learning to accept himself as the new Spider-Man. In his universe, Peter Parker has been killed and there’s a Spidey-shaped hole in New York’s public consciousness that, having been bitten by a radioactive spider and given superpowers, he feels the need to fill. He has to become worthy of taking Spider-Man’s place. And that provides the film with an emotional heartbeat. But there’s also a lot of metacommentary on the Spider-Man mythology, as a twentysomething Peter has released a Christmas album and other equally tacky merchandise in Miles’ world.
3 Guardians of the Galaxy
James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy, the greatest defense against older filmmakers’ concerns that Marvel movies are “not cinema,” was the first overtly comedic movie in the MCU, and it ended up changing the franchise forever. Guardians can claim almost as much influence on the style and tone of the MCU as Joss Whedon’s The Avengers.
The film is about a group of intergalactic assassins and thieves who are called “a bunch of A-holes” in an early scene, and have to learn to work together to save the galaxy from a hitherto-unheard-of cosmic threat. With hilarious yet sweet performances from a well-matched ensemble and an awesome late ‘60s/early ‘70s soundtrack, Guardians of the Galaxy is a fantastic movie.
2 The LEGO Batman Movie
Will Arnett’s hilarious, growling satire of the Dark Knight, as seen in The LEGO Movie, was quickly given his own movie, The LEGO Batman Movie, when Warner Bros. realized how popular he was. Director Chris McKay designed this movie, from the ground up, to be a deconstruction of the entire Batman mythos, including past film adaptations. Buried underneath all the metacommentary and franchise-crossing intellectual properties, there’s actually a quintessential Batman story being told in The LEGO Batman Movie, in which a grieving Bruce Wayne learns to let people in again, eventually finding a new family in Robin, Batgirl, and Alfred.
1 Thor: Ragnarok
Although it was bashed by some diehard Marvel fans for being too much of a comedy, Taika Waititi’s Thor: Ragnarok is an incredibly entertaining movie. Waititi threw the house style of the Thor franchise out the window and infused his uniquely zany sensibility into Ragnarok to deliver a movie that’s endlessly fun. Chris Hemsworth clearly relished the opportunity to go wild with the Thor character after years of limiting dialogue and storylines. Hidden in the hilarity of Ragnarok is a serious emotional arc that sets up Thor’s role in Infinity War and Endgame. Quentin Tarantino recently named Ragnarok as his favorite movie in the MCU so far.