Monday, September 14, 2015

A Reel Opinion: The Importance of DEADPOOL

Superhero movies are everywhere in this current era of Hollywood. Major studios like Disney/Marvel, Warner Bros./DC Comics, 20th Century Fox, and Sony Pictures have scheduled production of films to last us well into the next decade. And why not? Superhero movies promise a fun time at the theatre, kids and adults love them, and when done right…offer a beacon of hope for us all. 

There has been a lot of talk going around that the avalanche of super-movies, which began its current run in 2000 with Bryan Singer’s X-MEN, will eventually wear out its welcome. Legendary director Steven Spielberg recently predicted that the genre will one day go the way of the Western; meaning that it will be a form of film and storytelling that people will tire of and stay away. And once people stay away, the studios will abandon the Supers and look elsewhere. 

That day hasn’t arrived just yet. This past summer, Disney/Marvel’s AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON was a blockbuster smash; pulling in over $1.4 billion worldwide, making it the sixth-highest-grossing film of all time. All those dollars reflect what people want to see. But there is still trouble to be had which is cause for concern. Fox Studios’ newest version of FANTASTIC FOUR this year flopped like a fish on the dock as it struggled to make back its budget. Of course it didn’t help that the film was one of the worst reviewed of the year; it was a bad movie that deserved to bomb…and that brings us to Fox’s next undertaking, DEADPOOL. 

Based on the Marvel comics character of the same name, DEADPOOL is intended to be the eighth installment in Fox’s ongoing X-MEN series. Ryan Reynolds plays the wise-cracking character who undergoes an experiment which leaves him with new abilities. This is Reynolds' second shot at the character (he played a loose version of him in X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE), and his third shot at playing a superhero (the abysmal GREEN LANTERN). Recently, the film’s producer, Simon Kinberg has confirmed that Fox is already looking to go ahead with a sequel, even though the first film doesn’t come out until February of 2016. 

Fox’s eagerness to build a money-making franchise of movies is one of the things that could and would bring about Spielberg’s prediction. While it’s nice to be ambitious like Disney/Marvel and Warner Bros./DC Comics, Fox would be wise to just make sure they have a good first movie made. They also expected FANTASTIC FOUR to be a franchise builder, but those plans are in limbo after the film’s terrible performance at the box office, and with critics and fans. There is also the minor matter of DEADPOOL being a relatively obscure character. This Blogger is willing to bet that nine out of ten people on the street had never heard of him, so Fox has their work cut out for them. After all, these movies are not made exclusively for comic book fans; you have to get the general public through the gate because that’s where the real money is. 

If superhero movies are going to survive and not ride off into the sunset, then smart decisions have to be made. Fox would be well advised to put all of their energy and resources into making one solid movie before punting things down the line, and make sure that the movie is marketed correctly; after all, Ryan Reynolds is not exactly a huge box office draw and has the cloud of two lousy superhero movies hanging over him. As long as the genre keeps up the quality, people will come…and the Supers will thrive. But if DEADPOOL blows it, then the end will be beginning. 


DEADPOOL arrives on February 12, 2016. Ryan Reynolds is joined by Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, and Gina Carano. It is directed by first-time director Tim Miller. 

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