As we continue our look back at the X-Men Franchise we finally dive into the first R rated film, with 2016’s Deadpool.
The X-Men of the comics have always been wide ranging in every way possible. Storylines have focused on major threats against the universe, issues with interpersonal relationships, bloodthirsty killers who happen to be mutants, and of course fourth-wall-breaking mercenaries. After the success of X-Men: First Class it seemed as though Fox was willing to start taking more risks, and the biggest of those landed with Deadpool. A hard R action comedy featuring a main character who kills and constantly breaks the fourth wall. Their gamble was a rousing success with Deadpool becoming the highest grossing X-Men film, a record that has yet to be beaten.
The biggest benefit to Fox taking the gamble on Deadpool is the end result for fans. The film gave fans a version of the character that was a perfect adaptation of his comic book counterpart. Nothing is held back and even the presentation of the film, with opening credits that mock everyone involved, is true to the nature of the character. There’s very few comic book or superhero films that are as committed to treating the character on screen as he is in the comics, but Deadpool is the epitome of perfect adaptation.
The film also finds success in its action and comedy. It’s been commended a million times over for how much it remains true to the character, but honestly every other aspect of the film is fantastic as well. The action scenes are top of the line, with some truly spectacular stunt work and fight choreography. The jokes are more than just meta references to the franchise and Reynolds’ acting career. There are solid jokes that are just plain funny. The special effects in the film are insanely fantastic as well. The way in which the film clearly shows Deadpool’s reaction to things through the mask, are some of the best work in any superhero film.
Deadpool is truly a fantastic entry in the X-Men franchise, but one that likely never would have happened if not for every single film that came before. Fox may have made some missteps at times with the franchise. But even then, they’ve always been willing to take big leaps. The first X-Men films put superheroes in the real world. The third film, despite its flaws, killed off Professor X and Cyclops by the midway point of the film. Two of the major characters in the franchise. First Class was a prequel without the franchise’s biggest star, Hugh Jackman. Then The Wolverine put the star character in a film with an entire cast of Asian actors and actresses in supporting roles, and little ties to the rest of the franchise. These risks and their success are what led to Deadpool. And good or bad, we have to be grateful that Fox never let up, because it led to some of the best superhero films ever made. Including Deadpool.
Be sure to check out the final installment of the X-Men Franchise, Dark Phoenix, when it hits theaters this weekend. You can check out the previous installments of our X-Men Retrospective at the links below.
X-Men Review: The Superhero Revolution Begins
X2: X-Men United – The X-Men Return To Save All Mutants
X-Men 3: The Last Stand – Thank God This Got Erased By The Prequels
X-Men Origins: Wolverine – Why God, Why?
X-Men: First Class – Mutants Are Groovy Baby
The Wolverine – The Solo Adventures of Wolverine Get Better
X-Men: Days of Future Past – The X-Men’s “Endgame”