Tagged: Ryan Reynolds

How I came up with the idea behind “Once Upon A Deadpool.” No, really.

“I’ll tell you the truth and its up to you to live with it.”
William Goldman, The Princess Bride

This week, I found myself at the center of an internet storm where every entertainment news site and blog I’ve ever heard of has been debating how I predicted the framing device (and selling point)  of the new ‘Once Upon a Deadpool’ recut of Deadpool 2, several months before the writers even wrote it. Little did anybody know at the time that all of my ideas involve kidnapping Fred Savage.

He might want to look into a restraining order.

Hello, I’m ‘Some Guy’, AKA ‘A Guy’, AKA ‘Some Bloke’ AKA ‘A Fan on Twitter’, A.K.A. Michael Vincent Bramley. I’m a comics writer and an artist from Queens and this is the strange story of how I spent my Thanksgiving vacation.


This all started in 2017 when the buzz on the internet was that if Disney successfully acquired Fox, then the beloved R-Rated Deadpool series may have to adapt for the PG market or possibly die. I personally love that Deadpool is R-Rated, but seeing as how I was raised on Deadpool comics and am acquainted with some of the talented people who have written and drawn for them over the years, I also know that a PG Deadpool definitely can work. It always has worked. There had to be a way to make it work for the movie version without betraying the current fan base.

These are just the kinds of thought experiments I occupy myself with when I’m bored.

The first idea that sprang to mind was to replace all of the swearing with absurd TV stand-ins, like the infamous ‘find a stranger in the alps’ line from Big LeBowski. The second (though not mutually exclusive) idea was to have Deadpool directly address the censorship by kidnapping former child star Fred Savage and forcing him to reenact his role in the classic 1987 movie ‘The Princess Bride’. This seemed much funnier, so I tweeted it at Ryan Reynolds.

I’m not sure what exactly possessed me to send that tweet. It’s not something I’ve ever done before. I don’t usually use Twitter. I barely know how. Most of my tweets are things I share from my instagram or my scarcely used blog, with the occasional retweet peppered in.

You know, a surprising number of strangers have been asking me, if I had the idea first,  why didn’t I make it myself? I really hate to say it, but they’re absolutely right. I really should have made a multi-million dollar PG Deadpool movie co-starring Fred Savage instead of sending a tweet to Ryan Reynolds. That one is on me.

My point is that ideas I can’t do anything with myself aren’t worth a whole lot to me. And for the many, many people who have tweeted at me about how you shouldn’t pitch creative ideas on Twitter, yep, I know. The way I saw it, I wasn’t so much pitching a movie as I was making a joke. When I have good ideas that I can actually use, I make them into weird independent comics for weird people who like comics written by even bigger weirdos.

This was just a thing that I thought was funny and because of how little I’ve bothered to learn about using Twitter over the years, I actually thought that by tweeting it at Ryan Reynolds, then maybe one or two of his followers would get a chuckle. Or that maybe he himself might see it and laugh. Maybe there was a Detective Pikachu’s chance in a Ground Themed Gym that it would go viral and that he or someone influential would see how perfect it was… and, of course, on some level that’s still the movie I hoped they would make, but I never really expected them to actually make it.

Then I took a Christmas shopping trip to a Michigan Mall and while I was hunting for Detective Pikachu merch (that I am now certain doesn’t exist yet), my wife (Alice Meichi Li) told me about a trailer on Youtube and my mind was fucking blown.

Watching it the first time was a truly surreal experience and I’d be lying if I said it was a good one. I got a sinking feeling in my gut as I tried to make sense of the matter. Four possibilities sprang to mind.

  1. Maybe Reynolds saw it and knowingly used it without telling me. Something that the law doesn’t acknowledge as plagiarism, but most of civil society would acknowledge as ‘a dick move’.
  2. Maybe Reynolds forgot he saw it and unknowingly copied it. It’s called cryptomnesia and it’s apparently fairly common among creatives (although that one could have applied as much to me as to him until I found from an article that he pitched the idea in May of ‘18).
  3. Coincidence. As unlikely as it seems, synchronicity actually happens. As an Englishman, I grew up knowing that there were two Dennis the Menaces. They both exist because the UK and US versions were released on the same day by two different creators in two different countries. They’d never met or had any way of knowing what the other was working on. It’s rare, but possible.
  4. Something with time travel. Just trying to cover all the bases here.

It might seem counter-intuitive since it’s exactly what started this mess in the first place, but I started tweeting at Ryan Reynolds again.

I started suggesting several different ways Ryan and I could settle things;

Other suggestions I made elsewhere included things like ‘Hugh Jackman’s phone number’, ‘a staring contest with Fred Savage’ or ‘plain old hand stuff’.

I also retweeted my original tweet and accompanying facebook post, then eventually went to bed.

The next day I woke up to a topsy turvy world where my name was in a SYFY article and then Newsarama and then Screen Rant and so on and so forth until a steady stream of strangers were tweeting support, rage and unsolicited legal advice at me. I watched the comments coming in and this formed a weird echo chamber of sorts where the people who thought that I should sue somebody and the people who thought I shouldn’t sue somebody convinced themselves that I was trying to sue somebody.

If I even had a case (I didn’t), I wouldn’t have the will, the energy, or the money to fight a legal battle against Disney, Fox, or Ryan Reynolds. I half-jokingly/half-seriously asked for things, sure, but I literally never even considered suing as a viable possibility.


That first Syfy article posited that this may all be part of a viral marketing hoax and by the time io9 put their article up it had developed into a full on conspiracy theory citing the timing of when I posted my Domino painting on Instagram as suspicious. By this point, none of this felt unsettling to me any more, it was just really fucking funny.

‘Lucky Me’ © 2018, look closely and you’ll find several clues as to the whereabouts of the holy grail.

On Thanksgiving, shortly after internalizing a metric tonne of Chinese food with my wife and her family and after I tweeted a disclaimer about how little interest I had in suing anybody, Ryan Reynolds slid into my DMs.

Deadpool Spider Man GIF - Deadpool SpiderMan Marvel GIFs

I’m not going to share what he sent me here, but I will say that it was a respectful friendly message where he acknowledge that they had come up with the idea independently seven months after I did and that yep, I’d gotten there first, but that no; he hadn’t and wouldn’t ever use an idea without permission.

I don’t know what the odds are, it seems incalculable, its like winning the weird lottery. But I guess that lotteries are won every week. And remember there were two Dennis the Menaces. These things can happen and it makes sense that if it were to happen to me, it’d happen with the film series that seems to have been tailor made for me in the first place.

We had a brief conversation, maybe I’ll have more to say on the subject down the line. I did ask if he would sign a photo of Fred Savage for me and we’ll see where that goes.

Since the last tweet I made on the subject didn’t inspire a dozen follow up articles and only a handful of Twitter users still want me to know that I’m a dickhead, I can only assume that things are getting back to normal now and that for the time being I can close the big Deadpool/Princess Bride book on the subject.

Besides, I don’t know anybody else who can say that the exact movie they asked for got made or that it profited a deserving charity in the process. And I’ll know that whether directly or indirectly, I really did crack the PG Deadpool code.

For movies. I cracked it for movies.

Box Office Democracy: The Hitman’s Bodyguard

From

I have to imagine production of The Hitman’s Bodyguard started with director Patrick Hughes gathering the whole cast together and giving them some kind of speech along the lines of “Look, we all know this script is a piece of garbage but if we pull together we can elevate it way past tolerable” and then there was some big cheer and they ran out to the set like a sports movie.  It’s a laughable script that doesn’t hold together under the smallest bit of scrutiny, but the cast absolutely crushes it.  It’s the best bad movie I’ve seen all year and I don’t mean that as faint praise.  The world is full of people doing average work with average material but seeing fantastic work come from a wretched foundation is something special.  This is a diamond found in a coal mine.

The chemistry between Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson is basically driving the whole movie.  We’re getting a Deadpool-lite version of Reynolds thick with meta commentary on the events of the movie and sort of action movie in general.  This plays well with the standard action-comedy version of Jackson we’ve been seeing since Die Hard with a Vengeance.  This interplay drives the whole movie dragging a murky nonsensical plot and a seemingly endless numbers of big pauses for jokes that just aren’t that funny.  Everything that’s Reynolds and Jackson bickering is great, every scene that has Selma Hayek in it is good, everything else is pretty bad.

The action in the movie is good enough, but it feels more like a greatest hits compilation than any kind of new composition.  The best sequence in the film is one where Jackson is walking through a Dutch square seemingly oblivious to potential attackers while Reynolds stealthily takes them down.  It’s a good sequence but it feels an awful lot like a knock-off of the Waterloo Station sequence in The Bourne Supremacy and while it’s 10 years later feels a bit slower.  There’s also a reasonably thrilling chase through a canal with Jackson in a boat being chased by bad guys in SUVs while Reynolds on a motorcycle harasses them.  It’s a nice idea salad mixing bits from a number of other movies.  Maybe greatest hits is too reductive, more like a remix of some old favorites, you ought bop your head a few times but odds are you’ll go back to the original.

Most of the story of The Hitman’s Bodyguard is just low-level stupid.  You know, stuff like trial scenes that were written by someone who has only experienced the legal system from their drunk friend describing Law & Order episodes to them.  But then toward the end they try to pretend like there’s some big moral quandary between a life spent protecting terrible people versus a life of killing bad people for money.  For one, I don’t believe that you can make a great living as a contract killer just sitting around and waiting for bad people to need killing that badly.  Also, people who decide to hire assassins to deal with their problems aren’t people who are on the highest of high grounds to start with.  It’s not an interesting moral quandary, and it directly detracts from the stuff that’s actually entertaining in the movie.  Wikipedia says that when this script was named to The Black List it was a drama— maybe this is an artifact from those days, but it has no place in this movie. (I also can’t imagine this was a better movie as a drama.  I’m bored just thinking about it.)

The Hitman’s Bodyguard is good because you get to see Deadpool interact with Nick Fury.  They had to file off all the serial numbers, superpowers, and sci-fi gadgets— but that’s what it is.  We’ll never get the actual pairing because of all the various rights headaches (and honestly, what would need to be happening in the MCU for it to even happen) but we can get it here stitched on to a wretched story about the trial of a dictator who commands an army of mercenaries while imprisoned at The Hague.  Come for the cast, stay for the cast, leave with a smile on your face, pick it on Netflix 18 months from now, never think about it after that.

Box Office Democracy: Deadpool

Deadpool is a good superhero movie that people are going to convince themselves was an excellent superhero movie. It’s got a couple good action beats, it feels like a cohesive part of a larger universe without being overly constrained, it has a serviceable (and age appropriate) love story, and it’s clever… but not quite as clever as it thinks it is. You can wink at the camera and tell me that you know that you’re doing all of the usual genre clichés, but that doesn’t make the clichés any less boring. I wanted Deadpool to be a movie that broke the mold, but instead it just spends a lot of time telling you it’s better than the mold and not showing you.

Ryan Reynolds is kind of a fiat movie star; he’s handsome and famous but if you look at his credits it doesn’t seem like an impressive career. I have very few distinct memories of Ryan Reynolds performances but I do remember leaving Green Lantern and thinking, “This movie was kinda bad but it wasn’t Ryan Reynolds’s fault.” These are not the kind of ringing endorsements that careers are built on, but Reynolds feels like the perfect choice to play Wade Wilson. He’s funny and charming and the self-deprecation feels a little more real because he isn’t an A-list actor in his own right. The only other actor I could even imagine playing this part with the same zeal is James Franco, and that’s an objectively worse choice (although think of all the Spider-Man 3 jokes we could have gotten). Everything that doesn’t work about Deadpool is saved by Reynolds’s overwhelming performance, and all the things that work are pushed to even greater heights.

The rest of the cast fine but there are precious few standouts among them. I’m fond of Morena Baccarin but this part, even as the female lead, is small and gives her very little room to show anything. Gina Carano is the most imposing woman working in film this side of Gwendoline Christie and she looks like a million bucks in this, her second consecutive feature film that’s barely asked her to talk. T.J. Miller plays a comic relief character in a movie full of comic relief characters, and while he hits every punchline I never wished he was on screen more often. Ed Skrein might do the movie the biggest disservice as the main villain Ajax, as he’s just so unbelievably boring that while I want Deadpool to get his revenge I wish he could do it without having to hear another generic British bad guy deliver generic bad guy dialogue. Brianna Hildebrand seems like she could be a breakout star if she’s given enough chances to play Negasonic Teenage Warhead, although she’s certainly not in the next X-Men movie, would likely feel shoehorned in to any sequels in this franchise, and might simply never get another chance.

So I’m generally fond of the acting in Deadpool, and the action is a solid B+ (even if three of the top five moments were given away for free in the trailer) but where it fails to deliver for me is in the story. This is the same origin story then damsel in distress formula I’ve seen a thousand times. I was tempted to use hyperbole and say a million but I’m confident it has actually been at least a thousand times by this point. Deadpool loves to show how it knows that it’s a movie and how familiar it is with all these tropes but it isn’t brave enough to actually break out of them in any way. I’m sick of origin stories and telling me I’m going to see one doesn’t make it better. I’m slightly less sick of hostage girlfriends but only because a lot of movies don’t bother to develop enough characters to have compelling alternative hostages. It’s also disappointing that for all the snark they have about the genre that they direct none of it at the sexualized violence the genre is often bogged down in and even contributes some for itself. Deadpool is going to get credit for being clever and subversive and it’s only doing those things at a four out of ten and for it to feel real I need them to aim much higher.

I’m happy that Deadpool exists and I enjoyed watching it (when I wasn’t groaning at the idea of watching another person get experimented on until they develop super powers) but it isn’t there yet, and I hope the praise it’s getting doesn’t make it sit on its laurels. There’s a spark of great potential here and I’m instantly more excited for Deadpool 2 than I am for any superhero movie that isn’t Civil War because it could actually be something unique and clever. Deadpool is a great first step but I need them to keep going.

 

Martha Thomases: Comic Books, Toys and Little Girls

E-Z Bake OvenAs a rule, I don’t look to celebrities for advice or insight about anything except celebrity. Actors know acting, musicians know music, authors know how to write, but these talents don’t mean they know politics or finance or relationships. There are exceptions (e. g. George Clooney is smart about Darfur, Martin Sheen knows his pacifism), but, in general, I seek my expertise from experts.

So I was more than a bit surprised when Ryan Reynolds said something smart about marketing. His new movie, Deadpool (which I haven’t seen yet but I will, I promise) set a record by earning $135 million on its opening weekend, the highest ever for an R-rated film.

It earned that much money by attracting both men and women to theaters. Cue the proponents of the conventional wisdom, who insist that women don’t like superheroes. As Reynolds said, “It’s sort of like… well, no. Women love fucking superhero movies! Clearly they go to these movies. It’s sort of funny that the studios are sometimes the last to know that.”

Ryan Reynolds, at least, gets it. Maybe he’s interested in the movie business and not just movie acting, so he pays attention. Maybe he wants to have a career with some longevity, so he pays attention to his audience as well as his opportunities. Maybe having a daughter has shown him how unique each human personality will be.

And, yes, the studios are the last to know. The only people who might also be just as ignorant are the Big Two comic book publishers and toy manufacturers.

Why is it so important to so many of our popular culture institutions to divide our entertainment choices into those for men or for women? The assumption that boys won’t like things that girls like, an assumption that ruled my childhood, has been demonstrated to be (generally) false. Girls will play with Legos that are not pink. Boys will play with E-Z Bake Ovens.

Neither will get cooties.

I think they are afraid that gender is contagious. One of my favorite writers, Nora Ephron, described this mind-set decades ago, in her hilarious essay “A Few Words About Breasts.” To quote:

“In grammar school, in the fifth and sixth grades, we were all tyrannized by a rigid set of rules that supposedly determined whether we were boys or girls… We learned that the way you sat, crossed your legs, held a cigarette, and looked at your nails-the way you did these things instinctively was absolute proof of your sex… I thought that just one slip, just one incorrect cross of my legs or flick of an imaginary cigarette ash would turn me from whatever I was into the other thing; that would be all it took, really. Even though I was outwardly a girl and had many of the trappings generally associated with girldom – a girl’s name, for example, and dresses, my own telephone, an autograph book – I spent the early years of my adolescence absolutely certain that I might at any point gum it up.”

We know, of course, that’s not how gender identity works, of course (the essay is from 1972, referencing events that took place several decades earlier). And yet it seems as if movie companies, comic book publishers and toy companies would rather leave money on the table than adjust their views about gender roles.

It’s enough to make a person question capitalism.

Emily S. Whitten: Deconstructing Deadpool

Deadpool

After what seems like decades of waiting (oh wait: it was actually about 10 years!) the Deadpool movie finally opened in theaters this past weekend to the tune of a record-shattering $135 million at the box office; and it was everything I’d hoped for. It was exactly the Deadpool movie that we needed at this point to get the franchise rolling – a dynamic R film that pulls no punches about who Deadpool is and why he’s not a traditional hero, yet invests us in his unorthodox character and worldview and gets us rooting for him anyway. And as I walked out of the theater, despite any minor critiques I may have, I felt distinctly the warm, zen-like glow of happiness from having just experienced the fulfillment of longtime hopes I’ve cherished for the manifestation of just such a Deadpool film.

Anyone who knows me or reads my work will be well aware that I’ve been a huge Deadpool fan for years and have written all kinds of things about the character, including a journal and Twitter as Deadpool and several webcomics featuring Deadpool for Reelz.com and MTV Splash Page. I’ve also advocated for Ryan Reynolds playing the title role in a Deadpool movie since 2010, and have covered the movie as it developed as well. Perhaps that’s why a whole several people are very excited to hear my opinions on the Deadpool movie.

Well, friends and internets – My opinions: let me tell you them.

(Warning: spoilers ahead!)

Deadpool is a crazy, hilarious, action-packed, totally inappropriate, slightly heartwarming, somewhat horrifying, gleefully violent, fourth-wall-breaking, satisfyingly mixed-up bag of awesome that makes way more sense than that sounds. It’s a welcome addition to the universe of comic book movies, and one with the potential to add both more fun movies to its own franchise, and bring some levity to upcoming X-Men ensemble movies. It’s also a take on the early Joe Kelly issues of the Deadpool comic, issues I’ve always loved and that did a lot to define the character, including establishing his incessant, pop-culture heavy banter, his work as a mercenary for hire, his romance with Vanessa Carlysle, and his relationship with supporting characters Weasel and Blind Al. The movie pulls heavily and, despite some necessary screenplay alterations, pretty faithfully from Deadpool’s origins as told in Kelly’s 1998 Deadpool & Death Annual, which establishes the backstory of Wade Wilson getting cancer and being given Wolverine’s healing factor by a shady Canadian government program in an attempt to cure him so he could work for them, his manifesting his mutate powers and in the process the ugly cancer tumors and scars we know so well, and his creating the Deadpool persona after his transformation.

Deadpool is an origin story that makes you forget it’s an origin story; a uniquely off-kilter flash back-and-forth plotline that manages to interweave the frenetic fight scenes and scattered behavior and commentary of post-op Deadpool with the more straightforward backstory of Wade Wilson in a way that keeps both interesting and interlocked, and allows for a story beyond his origin. This fits the character to a T; and also makes it possible for a movie starring a character known for random comments and wacky unpredictability to include a lot of heart in the form of a sweet (and salty) love story (the Deadpool marketing people weren’t completely pulling your chain on that one) as well as moments of gravitas and even desperate sadness. And that’s important, because although you won’t often see Deadpool crying into his beer, his origin is a damn sad story, and the dark undercurrents beneath the wisecracking guy in the red-and-black suit are what make him so interesting.

To portray that character, they couldn’t have found a better actor than Ryan Reynolds. Not only has Reynolds got the physique and athleticism for the role, but he also is a master of quick, snarky or sardonic comedic timing and delivery. However, as with the comics character, the over-the-top action and comedy are only two facets of a subtly complex character. The success of Reynolds as Deadpool comes from his ability to marry the snarky persona believably to the darker aspects of Deadpool’s personality, and deftly convey both Deadpool’s genuinely bizarre sense of black humor, and the manner in which the character also uses humor as his armor and as a mask for his pain and despair. Reynolds moves seamlessly from sight gags to exuberantly violent fight scenes to tender moments to intense anger to desperate sadness, and the undercurrents of strong emotion he manages to convey beneath gags and lightning-quick comments are what keep this from being just another ultraviolent comedy. I don’t know that there is another actor out there who could break our hearts during the scene in which Wade cries quietly in the bedroom as he decides to leave Vanessa; and a few beats later, have us roaring with laughter along with Deadpool at the sheer absurdity of a man being murdered via a slow-moving Zamboni.

Of course, in real life, we wouldn’t think any of that violence so funny; but Deadpool’s moral compass is so far off that if we tried to follow it, we’d end up (knowing him) somewhere on Uranus. Reynolds gets that, and plays the character with a charismatic, exuberant energy that pulls us fully into Deadpool’s worldview and makes us forget we’re laughing at, e.g., someone being “skewered like a fucking kabob.” As a passionate fan of Deadpool, Reynolds is wholly invested in this character, and has been wanting to play him in a movie for years (and actually got to play Wade Wilson for a good 15 minutes of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but we won’t say any more about how that turned out). The Deadpool of the comics has, in fact, compared his appearance to “Ryan Reynolds crossed with a Shar-Pei” – and the movie cleverly acknowledges that (as well as Spider-Man’s origin) when Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool says he was “bitten by a radioactive Shar-Pei.” (Other fun facts: both Deadpool and Reynolds hail from Canada, and both have thrice alliterative names – Wade Winston Wilson and Ryan Rodney Reynolds. It’s like he was made for the part!)

Reynolds as Deadpool drives this movie; but it also succeeds in the realm of pulling the character’s look and fighting style from the comics onto the screen. The red and black costume is Deadpool to the last detail, including the inevitable pouches (which are sent up subtly in the movie when Deadpool puts a pamphlet from the cab into a pouch, then minutes later when it’s time to pay says he never carries a wallet when he’s working because it ruins the lines of the suit. There have been many jokes in the comics about what on Earth he keeps in all those pouches). And because the choreography of Deadpool’s completely badass fighting style (a parkour-like mix of elegance, economy, humorous distraction, efficiency, and brutality) was done so well that it was like seeing his comic book fight scenes come to life, Deadpool is the only action movie about which I’ve said, “I would have been happy to sit through more fight scenes.” I’ve always liked the mixture of fighting styles portrayed in the comics, and seeing them on the big screen reminded me of all the comics storylines that have established just what a powerhouse fighter Deadpool is. Sure, he’s not a tank like Colossus; but with his level of precision and skill, his unorthodox and unpredictable but successful tactics, and his healing powers, there’s a reason Deadpool stands above pretty much every melee fighter in the Marvel universe (bucking for first with Wolverine).

Although I say I’d be happy to see more fight scenes in theory (and in future Deadpool movies!), of course in reality too many fight scenes can overwhelm the story. The screenwriters struck the right balance here, devoting enough time to the establishment of Wade’s prior character and relationships to give them meaning alongside his transformation into Deadpool and into his action-heavy revenge scheme. They also did a good job introducing a roster of interesting character relationships without an excess of heavy-handed exposition; and when exposition was needed, cleverly used Deadpool’s fourth-wall-breaking trait to help things along. I do think that the main villains (Ajax and Angel Dust) are fairly opaque, and we don’t learn much about their motivations, but they are well acted and delineated enough to be effective in the story; and Ed Skrein’s Ajax, while he may not be the most horrifying villain I’ve ever seen on screen, is definitely one of the ones I’d most like to punch in the face.

Deadpool’s allies fare a bit better in the development category. T.J. Miller is excellent as Wade’s buddy Weasel, serving as a sort of loyal sidekick who prefers not to actually be around when the action goes down. In character, he’s very like the Weasel of the later comics (Cable & Deadpool era, because in the earlier comics Deadpool was much harsher to him), despite some differences in detail. Miller’s dry delivery makes him memorable, and Miller and Reynolds have a great rapport on-screen, which makes their friendship believable and their banter very amusing. Blind Al (Leslie Uggams) is great in her roommate role, and despite the movie losing some of the weirder, darker aspects of the Wade/Al friendship (see Deadpool Volume 1 Issue 14), manages to nail the bickering but weirdly caring dynamic they have in the comics. (“Listen Al, if I never see you again, I want you to know that I love you very much,” says Wade as he leaves for the big showdown. “I also buried 1,600 kilos of cocaine somewhere in the apartment – right next to the cure for blindness. Good luck.”) Even the cabbie, Dopinder (who is not featured in the comics) has his moments and his own little difficult romance going on, which results in a pretty damn funny scene with “Mr. Pool.”

Although X-Men ally Colossus (voice, Stefan Kapicic; facial performance, Greg LaSalle) isn’t given much dimension, he does well as a moral foil for Deadpool, and is endearing in his patient attempts to convince Deadpool to be a hero. And his superhero speech and Deadpool’s ensuing choice at the climax of the movie make for the most morally thought-provoking moment of the film. Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand), the other X-Men character and Colossus’s trainee, doesn’t get a ton of dialogue, but Hildebrand manages to do a lot with her screentime and I love what the writers have done with both Negasonic’s character and her powers thus far (which they’ve changed from the comics, but given she’s barely in the comics, I don’t foresee any fan rage). In outward character she is the quintessential moody teen (as per the hilarious opening credits), which Deadpool instantly calls her on; but that interaction establishes an immediate mocking rapport between the two, and by the final fight scene, they are working together as a better team than he and Colossus ever do. And of all the superpowered characters in the film, her powers are undoubtedly the most bombastically badass, as she can basically be a human bomb (slightly similar to Nitro). Negasonic is also a cool choice because she’s previously unexplored in the X-Men movie realm, and would make a good possible addition to the roster of characters that orbits Deadpool for a sequel, or could be explored further in other X-Men movies.

Of course, the driving force for much of the movie’s plot is Wade Wilson’s love story with Vanessa Carlysle (Morena Baccarin). And if Vanessa and that relationship had not been completely believable, the movie would have fallen apart. Kudos to the writers for penning one of the weirdest, but also possibly most human and authentic, big screen romances I can think of; and to Baccarin (and Reynolds) for making it feel entirely credible and natural. As the lovers note in the movie, they work not because they look like they should on paper, but because their individual quirks fit perfectly together, “like the weird curvy edges of jigsaw puzzle pieces” to form a whole picture. Although Baccarin unfortunately has to fill the damsel in distress role for a while in order to further the plot, there is enough substance built into her character and the romance prior to that point that she transcends that role because we already know her as a whole person, and their relationship as a solid, real thing. Plus, Vanessa does get to do a little ass-kicking of her own, getting in at least one solidly impressive blow on Ajax. And although I was slightly sad she’s not Copycat simply because I would have liked to see it, its canon and it works much better at this point in the movie franchise’s story to have her be a non-mutant. At least we got a little nod to Copycat in Vanessa’s white-streaked hair; and it’s possible that if she shows up again, we’ll get to see her in her full mutant glory.

Although we didn’t get to see Copycat, Deadpool gave us plenty of other references to the comic outside of, obviously, the main cancer and Ajax/Workshop storyline and key supporting characters Vanessa, Blind Al, and Weasel. Along with things I’ve mentioned like the pouches, Vanessa’s hair, and the Shar-Pei bit, other favorites of mine include:

  • Multiple clown references (Deadpool has serious issues with clowns);
  • Deadpool running into Bob amongst the faceless lackeys hired by Ajax (and although in the comics Bob’s wife is named Allison, I’m assuming in the movie she’s Gail for Gail Simone, a fantastic comics writer who wrote some great Deadpool comics);
  • The Hellhouse, a.k.a. Sister Margaret’s School for Wayward Children, in all its seedy glory;
  • A revenge plot flipped from the early Deadpool issues, in which Ajax is hunting down Deadpool via tracking his former Weapon X buddies (who did time with him in The Hospice/Workshop) and then killing them after they’ve given him the information he needs;
  • The heel-face turn plot point of Ajax telling Wade the “superhero” program was never meant to turn him into a hero, but was intended to turn him into a super slave (in the comics origin story, Wade did have a chance at being permitted to be Weapon X’s version of a superhero, but the cancer cure didn’t take, which is how he ended up in The Hospice). This echoes the Landau, Luckman, and Lake comics storyline wherein Deadpool signs on to save the world and then discovers that they never actually intended for him to be a hero in the sense he thought, because LL&L’s idea of “saving” the world is allowing an alien being to bring “peace and bliss” to Earth by robbing everyone of free will, leaving inhabitants in an inert stupor).
  • Deadpool seeking a fix for his ugly face. There are actually several stories in which Deadpool temporarily becomes handsome again/loses the ugly mug, but none of them end well (except, arguably, that thing with the One World Church, since it kicked off Cable & Deadpool, the most awesome reluctant buddy comic ever).
  • Deadpool bonding with Worm. Although not referred to as Worm in the movies, Deadpool’s Workshop friend David Cunningham has something subtly wrong with his right eye and side of his face, which echoes the cybernetic implant on Worm’s face in the comics, and Worm’s last name in the comics is Cunningham. The two become friends, and as in the comics, Cunningham dies near the time of Deadpool’s escape (although in the comics he’s lobotomized by Ajax, and Deadpool kills him in a mercy killing. This is itself likely an homage to One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, which Deadpool’s comics origin echoes in many ways).
  • Several references to Fabian Nicieza and Rob Liefeld, creators of Deadpool, including Liefeld’s name on a coffee cup and one of the characters in the Hellhouse being named Liefeld; and both names appearing on freeway exit signs. There’s also a line in the credits that thanks Liefeld and Nicieza “(With Tongue).” Oh, and let’s not forget the waitress in the Hellhouse, Kelly, who I assume is a reference to writer Joe Kelly;
  • Deadpool with a knife in his skull, à la oh-so-many of Deadpool artist Reilly Brown’s awesome Deadpool sketches, in which he loves depicting the merc as a literal human pincushion stuck full of things, being gnawed by rats, or even on fire. (The scene also references Daniel Way’s Pool-o-Vision, but I hate that in the comics, so pffft. It’s excusable in the movie because of the knife in the brain, though. Speaking of Daniel Way, the pizza guy scene echoes one in his run on the comics.)
  • Wade’s Bea Arthur shirt (in the pizza scene). Deadpool in the comics has an obsession with Bea Arthur, who he thinks is uber sexy.
  • Deadpool breaks his limbs to escape shackles in Issue 9 of the Joe Kelly run, when he’s escaping from Deathtrap. (I love that issue so: “Die, Teddy Ruxpin, Dieee!”) The broken limbs he gets during the Colossus movie fight, and then sawing off his hand to escape the handcuff, both echo that scene. Also, the baby hand growing back in the movie echoes a plotline in Issue 3 in which his finger had been cut off, and he’s trying to grow it back but only grows back a tiny stub at first.
  • The Dead Pool. Although in the comics Wade names himself after the Dead Pool run by Worm in The Hospice, and in the movie it’s run by Weasel at the Hellhouse, the inspiration is at least similar. The reference to Captain Deadpool is also great.
  • The way Deadpool impales one of the guys on the freeway with two katanas echoes the cover of Wolverine Issue 88, the issue where Deadpool and Wolverine first meet.
  • The way Vanessa touches Wade’s face after seeing his scars for the first time is reminiscent of Siryn’s gesture in the comics when she first sees him without his mask.
  • Meta fourth wall-breakage. Deadpool references the fourth wall a number of times in the movie, as in the comics, but the Blind Al bit where he breaks “sixteen walls” was probably my favorite allusion to it.
  • When Wade and Vanessa are finally together again and about to kiss, he says, “And now, the moment I’ve all been waiting for.” I’d take that to be a subtle reference to the multiple voices/speech boxes he deals with in the comics.
  • The little Deadpool bust on the shelf in Wade and Al’s apartment is a nod to how into his own brand and merchandise Deadpool is. (I was honestly surprised not to see the Deadpool boxers and the boots with the Deadpool symbols on the soles!)
  • The flipped running joke about Deadpool joining the X-Men is great. For some time in the comics, Deadpool liked to refer to himself as part of the X-Men team, and the team continually told him with great exasperation that he’s not a part of the team. Of course, I assume this is also set-up for bringing him into the greater X-Men movie universe, as he eventually does work with the X-Men in the comics.

And speaking of the X-Men universe and the future of Deadpool, now that we have this movie in theaters and it’s doing so well, naturally everyone is speculating about what comes next (besides the release of the soundtrack with that hilarious Deadpool theme song. Of course Deadpool gets his own theme song, along with the best Stan Lee cameo to date). The sequel was greenlit a few days before Deadpool opened; and in the fantastic end credits scene, Deadpool confirms (if you can believe him) that we’ll be seeing Cable in the next film. Given I’ve been saying since the moment Deadpool was a reality that the next logical step is filming the best messed-up bromance ever, a.k.a. Cable & Deadpool, I’ll be overjoyed if that’s the case. And it makes so much sense. Now that the character in both tone and origin is established, it will be easy to introduce Deadpool, e.g. through an X-Force movie (which Ryan Reynolds wants to see happen), to the larger ensemble franchise; and then to roll from that into Cable & Deadpool, a storyline that again primarily focuses on Deadpool (and Cable), but also involves a number of other mutants and has a much grander scale, since Cable is literally trying to save the world before he dies.

Going next to Cable & Deadpool will allow for further development along the lines of the absolute funniest moments in the film, which are when Deadpool is mocking others (particularly Colossus, Negasonic, and “Agent Smith”), skewering the X-Men franchise and superhero movies (“McAvoy or Stewart!?” killed me, and his excitement at the “Superhero Landing!” was a riot) and engaging in or laughing to himself at gallows or black humor (the aforementioned Zamboni scene, spelling out FRANCIS, and the T-Rex joke being good examples of this). Yes, a surprising amount of the crass humor in this movie does land (and Deadpool’s creative cursing is pretty good, his reference to Ajax as a “shit-spackled Muppet fart” being the best), but I’d love to see the sequel really keep focus on the satire and the more complex humor; and bringing Deadpool into the larger X-Men universe or pairing him with Cable (a man who he grudgingly respects, even when he doesn’t always like him) will allow for that. (Side note: I’ve seen some speculation already that maybe other superhero movies should up their ratings to R, considering that Deadpool is doing so well; but I think that would be a mistake. The smartest move, for both future Deadpool movies and other superhero movies, is to stay true to the character(s), and base both content and choice of rating on that. Deadpool being what he is, I had no issue with this film being R, and think future R-rated Deadpool films would be perfectly appropriate – but I also hope the most important goal remains making movies that capture the tone and essence of the character.)

Moving to the Cable & Deadpool storyline will also create an opportunity for another story that will hold together underneath all the jokes, and a more thorough exploration of morality through Deadpool’s eyes. In this film, Colossus’s speech as Deadpool is about to shoot Ajax in the head, and Deadpool’s reaction, which is hilariously and typically Deadpoolian, are also a pointed commentary on the superhero world and the way superheroes’ choices to rise above the villains they fight can be seen as noble and heroic, but could also be viewed simply as an unwillingness to be the one to rid the world of their evil. Of course, taking that final step is also problematic, as it gives rise to the concerns that started Marvel’s Civil War storyline, about having superpowered beings running around accountable to no one. The majority of the superpowered need to walk the line to remain in the good graces of the public; whereas Wade simply does not care and follows his own skewed code.

But examining that code, and Deadpool’s struggles in the comics with making the right choices and being a hero, could make for a great and complex movie sequel, and the Cable & Deadpool storyline has the moral questions and hard decisions built right in. Now that Deadpool has been established, I want to see the sequel delve even deeper into what’s underneath the wisecracks and the crazy now that he’s post-op Deadpool. I want to see Cable developed into a three-dimensional and perfect foil for Deadpool, and I want to see Deadpool forced to make hard choices in his own unique way. And, of course, I want them to showcase more of that crazy elegant fighting style, because it is badass. And, and, and…is there anything else I want? Well I would say a Deadpool unicorn, but I already have one. So I guess all that’s left to say is, OMG Deadpool was super awesome and I want to see it again; and…

Until next time: ch-ka-ch-kahhhh.

Emily S. Whitten: The Twelve Days of Deadpool

Deadpool

Merry Christmas (or other winter holiday of your choice) and Happy Almost New Year! I hope everyone has been having a wonderful time with family and friends (and food. Ohhh, that holiday food!).

In case you missed it, the Deadpool movie advertising folks have also been having a wonderful time, posting fun “12 Days of Deadpool” featurettes to different news outlets and to their social media.** And because I know the holidays are busy and I am your Deadpool Guru, I am rounding them all up for you here. So, to begin:

The Announcement: Check out the video from Deadpool, explaining the whole thing.

Day 1: Entertainment Weekly debuts a new Deadpool poster.

Day 2: People shares pictures of Ryan Reynolds sitting on the lap of his Deadpool movie theater standee (Which is pretty cool, as I can attest because my friends and I posed with him after seeing Star Wars.)

Day 3: Deviant Art shares Deadpool’s Battle Plan.

Day 4: Empire shares Deadpool’s Christmas wish list and hints at his upcoming appearance in their magazine.

Day 5: Fandango gives us another new Deadpool movie poster, featuring a sweater I would totally wear (after all, who wouldn’t wear a sweater that Ryan Reynolds says is like wearing “a coffin made entirely out of adorable”)?

Day 6: JoBlo shares Deadpool’s notes from a page of the film’s script.

Day 7: Ryan Reynolds encourages us to join Deadpool Core. (Yes, of course I joined.)

Day 8: Mashable gives us Deadpool emoji, which are so popular that they ostensibly crashed the servers. (I got them to work! Finally.)

Day 9: We get another awesome new poster via IMAX. (Also, if you see an IMAX movie, Deadpool will appear before the trailers to tell you to go see his movie in IMAX. Truth. I have seen it.)

Day 10: You’ve heard of Yule Logs? Ryan Reynolds gives us a Pool Log and I am very, very happy it’s only a video.

Day 11: On Trailer Eve, the Deadpool movie folks remind us of why we were so excited after seeing the original trailer.

Day 12: Day 12 is Trailer Day, and that means the new Deadpool trailer!! Yaaaaay!!!!!

And there, dear friends, are your Twelve Days of Deadpool. Although I’m sure we’ll be seeing more Deadpoolian shenanigans from Ryan Reynolds, Deadpool, and those ad folks, even now that Christmas has passed. After all, there’s still New Year’s!

And speaking of New Year’s – maybe this year Deadpool will finally get around to all of those New Year’s Resolutions he made last year – after all, as far as I can tell, the only one he managed to keep was the one about becoming Really Truly Friends with Ryan Reynolds. Oh well. At least that one went well.

And we’ll see just how well on February 12, when the Deadpool movie debuts. Until then (or next time), Servo Lectio!

*  *  *

*P.S., ad folks – You missed us over here at ComicMix! *gasp* Someone forget to inform you that I am the World’s Biggest Deadpool FanTM (before everyone else TM’d it, honest!) and that I wrote an article advocating for a Ryan Reynolds Deadpool movie way back in 2010? I mean, Deadpool and I have been best buds (one might almost say of one mind) since 2008. And of course I’ve written about the Deadpool movie and Deadpool stuff many a time on ComicMix. But hey! Who’s complaining? (Me. Totally me. Also Deadpool, Bob, Sandi (who broke the news of the Deadpool movie on Ask Deadpool yea, these many moons ago), and the rest of Agency X. Except for Agent X. He’s still snacking, and will be unto eternity.) It’s okay, though, ad folks. You can totally make it up to me. Just send along two tickets to the premiere, and all will be well. Muchas gracias and may all your chimichangas be not beyond their expiration date.

Side note: The Ask Deadpool archives: also the only place you can read about that time Thor decided he liked women with spurs on and dated Outlaw. Really: it happened.

Emily S. Whitten: SDCC 2015 Part IV – Panels!

Deadpool

Greetings, ComicMixers! Did everyone have a good weekend? I hope so! But I know, I know, there was probably one thing missing from your hopefully glorious and relaxing weekend – my SDCC coverage! Yes, that’s right – Along with Part I (the con floor!); Part II (the Her Universe Fashion Show!); and Part III (The party round-up!), here comes Part IV – the panels!

Contrary to what folks who see me at cons might think, I can actually sit still for at least an hour at a time, and sometimes I even want to. In particular, I do like to try and see a few panels whenever I’m at a con; and going into SDCC, I definitely had some on my agenda. This year, unlike many, I actually even managed to see most of them, and I’m glad I did, because they were awesome and I want to share them with you. So here we go!

Voice Over Celebration with Beloved Cartoon, Video Game, and Film VO Actors

Look, the day they have voice actor panels at a con and I don’t make it to at least one is the day you’ll know I’ve lost my joy in life (the same goes for any panel featuring the delightful Rob Paulsen – and since I couldn’t make the TMNT panel (and see the awesome TMNT SDCC mini scene in person!) due to a scheduling conflict, this panel was definitely a must). The panel featured Susan Eisenberg, Rob Paulsen, Caitlin Glass, Anthony Bowling, Tara Platt, Yuri Lowenthal, and Genese Davis, and was primarily a Q&A, with the usual fun (and funny voices) that goes on at a VO panel.

Genese Davis was a fantastic moderator, and you could just feel the love these VO folks have for their work and the fans. It was also neat to hear, e.g., Eisenberg discuss what voicing Wonder Woman has meant to her, and other great and inspiring stories from the panelists. My favorite funny bit of the panel was Lowenthal’s explanation for why he has a mohawk, which basically varies depending on the moment and his mood. “You know, a fan will ask me, ‘Did you get a mohawk because your character has one?’ And I’m like, ‘Oh, yeah, what a good idea – of course that’s why I got it!'” Hah!

The Black Panel

For those who don’t know, The Black Panel is an SDCC staple that’s been happening since 1997. It primarily features black creators in and connected with the genre entertainment industry (although often there is also a “token white person” on the panel) and discusses their impact on and experiences within the industry. While the panel is known for the irreverent humor and moderating style of organizer Michael Davis , it’s also known for the impressive list of top-tier creators it’s featured over the years, and the valuable advice they have shared for young creators and others in the audience.

This year, the panel featured Joe Illidge, Eric Dean Seaton, Don McGregor, Tatiana EL-Khouri, and of course, moderator Davis. Although distilled wisdom and good advice were shared with the audience by all of the panelists, as usual, this panel was also bittersweet and truly the end of an era, as we learned that this was going to be the last SDCC Black Panel. It then featured a scrolling list of all of the luminaries who have been on the panel, as well as at least two fans whose Q&A questions consisted of talking about how valuable the Black Panel has been to them over the years in raising awareness of black talent (one woman in particular, a librarian, discussed how the panel had helped her to find black-created comics to include in her library stock). It was truly an inspiring panel, both in hearing what the panelists shared, and in hearing what the panel has meant to people; although of course, the trademark humor of the panel was still present. In classic Black Panel style, Davis closed the final Black Panel with, “Oh yeah: white people, get out!”

Dark Horse: An Afternoon with Joss Whedon

This panel was an absolute delight (and can be watched in its entirety here, thanks to others who actually filmed it). Whedon started with a nice thanks to Dark Horse and a funny Oz joke: ” I want to talk about how ridiculously grateful I am to everybody at Dark Horse for doing what is honestly one of the hardest jobs in the world. When you take a licensed product, something that already exists, and you have to continue those stories, you have to be so faithful and yet so inventive to make the stories come to life. And that is a tightrope act. It is really difficult for someone; for anyone, to carry on something that is so beloved, and take it to another level, while still being true to all the voices and the characters and what we were trying to do way back when. Thank you to Scott, who’s been my editor forever, and Sierra, who is working on the books; Mike Richardson, who built the house we’re all in, and particularly the writers and artists – Christos Gage has been killing it, Rebekah Isaacs, and Georges Jeanty of course; Zack Whedon. …I feel like five years ago a tornado ripped up my house and dropped it in the land of Marvel, and it’s been a very weird time. And (pointing to the audience) you were in it, and you were there, and you were there…and all that while, all these people have been working so hard and doing such beautiful work, and it’s been so great for me to know that the things I care most about are being taken care of. So I want to give Dark Horse a shout-out for their amazing work.”

Following that was some big news from Whedon; the announcement of a new Dark Horse six issue book, The Twist, about which Whedon said, “it basically deals with the most important moral question facing us, which is why isn’t there a Victorian female Batman?” He then decided to impart some life and creative advice to all of us, which was, ” Continue to earn what you already have.” Followed quickly with more witty repartee, including discussion of the Marvel movies, about which he observed, “What’s exciting was that everyone was so perfectly pleased with how I handled Natasha.” Followed by, “Yeah, I still got it,” in response to the ensuing laughter.

The whole panel is well worth a watch, but in particular Joss’s answer to this fan question is worth paying attention to. The fan said, “I, like many of us, gain a lot of peace from your work, even though it’s about people who exist in very non-peaceful situations. My question is: what is the world, what is existence, why are we here, how can I and all of us feel more sane and purposeful in our own lives, and how do you represent that philosophy in your writings?”

Whedon replied with, “You think I’m not going to…but I’m going to answer that! The world is a random and meaningless terrifying place, and we all, spoiler alert, die. Most critters are designed not to know that. We are designed uniquely to transcend that. To understand that…Ooh, I can quote myself, this is fun! ‘A thing isn’t beautiful because it lasts.’ That what we have right now, right here, has as much meaning as anything we’re afraid of. And the way we’re designed to do this is that the main function of the human brain, the primary instant function, is storytelling. Memory is storytelling. If we all remembered everything, we would be Rain Man, and we would not be socially active at all. We learn to forget and we learn to also distort, and from the very beginning, we’re learning to tell a story about ourselves.

I keep hoping to be the hero of my story; I’m kind of like the annoying sidekick. I’m like Rosie O’Donnell in the Tarzan movie that Disney did. I’m that annoying. I was like, “But I’m Tarzan, right?’ And they were like, “No. You’re that weird ape that we don’t know if it’s a girl.” But, it is still a narrative. And since we’re doing that from the moment we’re alive, living stories that we then hear and see and internalize and wear hats from and come to conventions about; we all come here to celebrate only exactly that: storytelling. And the shared experience of what that gives us. And it may give us strength; it may distract us. It can do almost anything. And that, for me, is how we live peacefully, and how we live with ourselves, and each other. We understand our story, everybody else’s story, that we’re all part of that; and that story is going to be with us, and can be controlled by us, and can be surprising and delightful and horrifying and all those things, but it’s something we can survive because, unlike me, you all are the hero of the story. That is my answer.”

Wow. And after that profoundness, I’ll end my summary of this panel with this quote from Whedon, which clearly needs no context: “This is very simple, and I think everyone can relate to where I am on this. I love bees. I just want to put bees in my clothes. And have bee-time.”

Thanks for that, Joss. And for being awesome.

20th Century Fox

Ohhhhh, you guys know where this is going, right? Okay, so the Fox panel showcased a bunch of projects, including The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials, Victor Frankenstein (which featured the most hilariously homoerotic panel I have experienced in person), Fantastic Four, and X-Men: Apocalypse, several of which I’m excited about (X-Men in particular); but you all know why I sat my butt on those hard seats in the Most Depressing Room of SDCC for two hours after Joss Whedon left, right? Deadpool. (Look, I’m not the only one. The Wall Street Journal is all about the Deadpool, too. As is Nicholas Hoult, who, when asked about his character Beast on the X-Men panel, replied, “I can’t concentrate because I’m still psyched about the ‘Deadpool’ trailer.”)

In the midst of all of the other cool Fox stuff going on, moderator Chris Hardwick of Nerdist started the Deadpool ball rolling with, “I believe we have a special announcement before the next panel…?” That was the cue to roll an SDCC Hall H exclusive video which showed Ryan Reynolds in his full Deadpool regalia, seated in a Masterpiece Theatre-style chair, complete with pipe in hand, as he intoned, “In a world divided by fear, one man must save the world… From the studio that inexplicably sewed his fucking mouth shut the first time, comes five-time Academy Award-winner Ryan Reynolds as a man on an e-Harmony date with destiny. Ladies and gentlemen of Hall H, I give you…me! Deadpool! To teach you to take these broken wings and learn to fucking fly again.” And then, of course, Deadpool tried to put the pipe in his masked mouth and dropped it.

Amidst an absolute uproar of delighted cheers and screams, Reynolds snuck onto the still-dark stage to surprise us all as the lights came up and lead off an awesome, raunchy, totally Deadpool-esque panel that also featured Tim Miller (Director), Morena Baccarin (Vanessa Carlysle), T.J. Miller (Weasel), Brianna Hildebrand (Negasonic Teenage Warhead), Ed Skrein (Ajax), and Gina Carano (Angel Dust). Reynolds responded to the crowd’s cheers with, “Looks like we’re ready to make the chimi-fucking-changas already. It’s only been eleven years in the waiting.” When Hardwick asked him how it felt for the movie to finally be coming out, Reynolds replied, clearly delighted, “One year ago, almost today, some asshole leaked that footage, and that’s why we’re standing here… You guys – the internet, fans, you made the studio do this.” Reynolds, Miller, and cast also gave credit to the excellent script of Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick.

Miller said about the movie finally being made that, “I would have made this fucking movie anytime, but it had to come at the right time, and the studio was ready to make it now. And I think it’s because as Ryan said, it’s the fans. He is the perfect character for our time, I think.” Reynolds added, “I think this character inhabits a space in the comic universe that no other person can or will ever inhabit. It’s got everything you’d ever want. …For one I just think it’s an absolute miracle that a studio let us make Deadpool, let alone an R-rated Deadpool.” He added, “…No matter what the rating is, though, babies will love this.”

All of the actors discussed their characters, and were clearly excited about their roles in the film. When asked about her character Vanessa, Baccarin said, “She’s a badass. It was really awesome to read the script. You don’t get to read many superhero movies that have a badass romantic lead. She gives him lip right back, and not necessarily the talking kind. …She’s the perfect match to his crassness.”

After the Q&A they showed some exclusive footage, which was amazing and appears very loyal to Deadpool’s origins. Expanding on the earlier leaked footage, it showed more characters and backstory (including that Negasonic Teenage Warhead starts out in training with Colossus), included more great comedic moments, and highlighted Deadpool’s fighting prowess when he shot three people in the head with one bullet. It was also rife with fourth-wall breakage, and featured a Liefeld joke, a dig at Green Lantern, and an appearance by Blind Al (w00t!). It was such a hit that at the finish, Hall H exploded into chants of, “One more time!” and Hardwick obliged by running the footage again, to more cheers.

In summary, this panel was hilarious and the movie looks like it is going to be awesome and, and, and you guys. I can’t even. I almost died of happiness during the panel. Deadpool. Is finally coming to theaters. And it looks fantastic. Y’all are lucky I didn’t expire right there in Hall H and am still here to write this.

And that I was still vaguely coherent for the next Fox panel, X-Men: Apocalypse. I feel like no matter what, I’ll do this write-up a disservice, because I was still buzzing so much from Deadpool that I could hardly concentrate; but I will say that the footage looked amazing, the cast is huge but it seems to work, there was a moment where Hugh Jackman sat on Jennifer Lawrence’s lap, and I am really looking forward to the film. If Deadpool hadn’t been on the panel agenda, this would have been the Fox movie I’m most looking forward to.

The Fox panel wrapped with a giant selfie of “the most superheroes,” with the casts of Wolverine, Deadpool, X-Men: Apocalypse, and Fantastic Four, and a special appearance by Stan Lee. Sweet.

X-Men: Days of Future Past – The Rogue Cut

The last panel-like thing I did while at SDCC was actually a screening – of X-Men: Days of Future Past – The Rogue Cut. Essentially, a Rogue storyline got cut out of the movie for running time, and it’s been added back by Bryan Singer, who introduced the screening for the new DVD. The screening was cool – it was fun to see the film again on the big screen, and while the movie does work without the Rogue storyline, I did feel it added to the overall story to include it. Certainly for a movie on DVD (where you can pause anytime for snack and bathroom breaks!) I’d advocate getting the longer cut.

And that’s it for me and the panels! Check out my panel photo album here or my whole SDCC collection of photos here.

And until next time, Servo Lectio!

Emily S. Whitten: The Deadpool is in the Details

Right now I’m walking a fine line between “super-excited for the upcoming Deadpool movie,” and “so excited I will finally give in and read the leaked movie script;” but I’m still trying to resist! It’s hard, though. With Ryan Reynolds constantly tweeting about the movie (which, don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about!) and now set pictures of Wade Wilson and costumed Deadpool showing up online, I just want to dive into every detail of what we know about the upcoming movie, spoilers be damned!

But for now, I’m managing to restrict myself to IMDB and those sweet, sweet set pictures. (And the test footage, which never gets old. Oh, and of course this April Fool’s Day video.) Even the pictures are pretty exciting, though. The first set shows Morena Baccarin as Vanessa Carlysle, Ed Skrein, Gina Carano as Angel Dust, and Ryan Reynolds as Wade Wilson/Deadpool with a disfigured face, indicating that this is after he washes out of the Weapon X program. It’s hard to see exactly how bad they’ve made his face close up, but it appears to be closer to this than this or this. I was wondering how they’d do his face; given that in the comics he’s been depicted on all ranges of the spectrum when it comes to his cancer tumors and scars; but this looks at least reasonably bad without being completely out of hand, so I’m happy.

Even more important than his face, given the amount of time we generally see his face versus his mask, is the Deadpool costume we get to see here. I’m super excited about what I’m seeing; it looks both “real-world” practical enough to be convincing as the garb of a mercenary-turned super(hero)(villain)(insert murky moral code here), and faithful enough to the comics to make my inner fangirl jump up and down. It looks like it will appear realistic even in the midst of stunt work, which is cool.

All told, from head to toe it seems the designers are dedicated to getting this movie right for the fans, and like they know what they’re doing.

Details such as the seams and little back point on the mask, the bullet marks, the many pouches (hee!), and the leg holsters and sheathes really bring the comic book Deadpool to life, and that makes me all sorts of happy. (Now, if he had Deadpool symbols on the soles of his shoes and his boxer shorts as well as his belt buckle, I’d really know the designers are on the ball. Sadly at least the shoe soles look like they’re lacking the trademark circles. Who knows if we’ll see the boxers…eh? Eh? ) The one thing I’m not a huge fan of from what I’m seeing are actually his boots – the toe-caps are definitely sometimes canon, but man, do they kind of make the boots look like combat Mary Janes.

Oh well. If that’s the worst that can be said, that’s not bad. I’m also pretty curious to see how the mo-cap on his eye area will work out throughout the movie. In the comics, Deadpool’s uneven squint is a classic and common part of his visual personality. The test footage made the movement of Deadpool’s eye shields in the mask look natural; but we haven’t seen the squint as yet. Hopefully we’ll get at least a little bit of that in the film.

All around what I’m seeing, plus knowing that at least Copycat and Weasel will be showing up in the movie as well, are making it hard for me to bear the wait until February 2016 for the final film. But at least these pictures and everything I’m reading (and, you know, Deadpool fanboy Ryan Reynolds playing the character) are assuring me that the movie will most likely be worth the wait. And if the movie is awesome and does well (oh please oh please oh please), maybe we’ll even luck out and get more Deadpool. I’m thinking Taskmaster; I’m thinking Deadpool, Inc.; I’m thinking an epic Cable & Deadpool buddy flick!!!!! Wouldn’t that be amazing?

Excuse me while I go daydream. And until next time, check out the Deadpool pics and Servo Lectio!

Marc Alan Fishman: Deadpool Will Kill DC To Death

This evening, whilst pondering and pontificating over what point I should pencil in the ole’ puter, I stumbled across this clip and its pretty sister clip. Suffice to say, color me curious, kiddos.

Contrary to the predilections of our esteemed Emily W. over here on ComicMix, I’ve never been fond of the Merc with a Mouth™. More often than not, I’ve found him to be a useful tool for a writer to take a short catnap and still be paid. I’ve often found most iterations of the chimichanga eating, joke cutting, kill-first-ask-questions-why ‘Pool to be lighter than light fare. I mean, check-off your aforementioned beats (with the chimichangas, and killing, and the what-not) and end it incoherently, and voila! Instant noodles in comic book form. Now with the character coming to the silver screen, the Marvel and Fox co-production will face becoming more than a farce to ultimately feast at the feet of the fans. Phew!

In less alliterative words: Deadpool, if handled properly, could be the death knell of DC and their movie making enterprise. How would a red-suited slapstick killer be so powerful you ask? Well, given the very nature of the character – as seen in the clips referenced above – the power to break the fourth wall is inherently at the ready. And Deadpool is very lucky to have a completely covered mouth when in full crimson regalia. Allow me to do the math, short-stacks. While doing their eventual ADR work for the film, the writers (and Marvel) will have the opportunity to poke more than a few wink-and-nudges right into the beefy chest of their rival.

Set to debut a month prior to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, who here can’t see a possible future in which ‘Poolie crushes it at the box office? No doubt chock full of gore, laughs, and potentially lethal barbs fired at the angst-to-be that is DC’s milieu at present, it’s not that far flung to think that as popular as Batman and Superman are, one can’t deny that a Deadpool that rips the World’s Finest a new sphincter might turn more than a few heads. In the same era Marvel drop the Guardians of the Galaxy on the unsuspecting public – to the tune of over 400 million space-credits (not counting merch sales) – having another C-Lister take a few box offices over just seems like a wonderful insult to injury.

The Deadpool movie is written by the dude who made the hilarious Zombieland, and stars an absolute wit like Ryan Reynolds in the titular role (heh, tits…). That being said, there’s no chance in hell it will bank more money than Batfleck and company. But all it’ll take is a few glancing blows by ole’ Wade Wilson before DC is out of the gate, and suffering.

Given how self-serious DC seems to be with each released promo, I’m more than ready for a laugh at their expense. Somewhere between the Samoan Bad Ass Aquaman, and Bald-n-Angry Zuckerberg, Deadpool will have plenty of targets to play with – all while shooting guns and killing mobsters or whatever. While I’m sure the Deadpool movie won’t be specifically targeting any DC property amidst its running time, the fact is they’ll have plenty of opportunities to sneak in some serious body blows. Combine that with a potential massive profit (beyond all that money they made on literally every other movie in their rolodex…), and frankly, I don’t know how Superman and Friends live to see another day. But I digress.

Deadpool will be the popcorn catnip immature nerds will flock to. With Looney Tunes mashing itself with curse words and death, you simply can’t get the raunch-loving masses any more in a tizzy. OK, you could promise some boobs or something, but let’s not get hasty. While I’m not one for purchasing Mr. Wilson’s exploits within the pages of his on-and-off series’ from the House of Mouse… I’m apt at least for 90 minutes worth of brain rot and guffaws at the local megaplex.

Which, I have to say, is a hell of a lot more than I’m willing to give DC these days.

 

Emily S. Whitten: Deadpool’s New Year’s Resolutions

DeadpoolAs everyone knows, it’s a time-honored New Year’s tradition to not only make resolutions about all of the things you are really going to do better in the coming year, but also to share them with friends so they can encourage you to not be a bum and totally forget about all of your well-meaning promises. So naturally, my bestie Deadpool sent me a draft of his list and, just as naturally, I figured all of you would want to see it so you can be inspired towards your own lofty New Year’s goals. Therefore:

Deadpool’s List of Stuff I’m Definitely Going To Do Sometime In 2015… Probably:

  • Wash that weirdly pulsating pile of uniforms in the corner of the bedroom before it escapes and eats New York. Use actual detergent and stuff.
  • Kill/maim/otherwise injure more bad people
  • …Don’t kill/maim/otherwise injure any more good people?
  • Send Ryan Reynolds flowers (again) (and another cell phone with me as #1 on speed dial!)
  • Make paper-Mache Dogpool sculpture with that pile of Taco Bell receipts I keep tripping over (fulfills therapist’s requirement for “fun therapeutic crafts”)
  • Karaoke with Doctor Doom! (Track down Doctor Doom and drag him to karaoke)
  • Break record for Most Twinkies Eaten In One Sitting
  • Be in the next Avengers movie! As Iron Man’s best bud. (freeze Cap again?)
  • Finally figure out how to get drunk with a healing factor
  • Read all of my back issues of Soldier of Fortune
  • Be nice(r) to old ladies (in memory of my beloved Bea)
  • Replace Spider-Man’s web shooter fluid with neon Silly String. Again. :D :D :D
  • Perfect my patented Triple-Decker Killer Hot Fudge Sundae (needs more caramel?)
  • Always get paid for jobs before accepting them. Especially when Taskmaster is involved.
  • Find Bob a life.
  • More. Chimichangas!

Hope that helped you to figure out all the amazing things you want to resolve to do in 2015! Good luck with that.

And until next time, Happy New Year and Servo Lectio!