Weekend Forecast for February 12-14, 2016
By Reagen Sulewski
February 12, 2016
The weekend of February 12-14, 2016 shall henceforth be known as “Ultimate Nerd Weekend” thanks to its slate of films. “But wait,” you say. “Didn't we just have Star Wars not that long ago?” Oh, yes we did. This weekend brings us something even more niche and even more long-awaited.
With all the comic characters brought to the big screen in the past decade and a half, one has remained the great white whale of adaptations – long thought impossible to match to an appropriate actor, or to bring to screen with any justice due to its extreme content – Deadpool. A mutated, indestructible assassin with potty-mouth and few if any personal boundaries, it's not a product that fits with any “nice” notions of what comic blockbusters have been thought of as. Cut to a few years ago, when a tech demo appeared, featuring the voice of Ryan Reynolds as the titular character, showing what an action scene in a theoretical Deadpool movie might look like – fiendishly irreverant, fourth-wall breaking and ghoulishly bloody. People, and specifically the Internet, ate it up, and the response caused Fox to greenlight the stand-alone movie, which leads us to today.
Of course, this is not the first time that Deadpool has appeared on screen, nor even the first time that he's been played by Reynolds, having had a small part in the first stand-alone Wolverine movie. That came at the cost of taking away every single thing that was interesting about him, including turning him into a wordless assassin, which is a bit like having a Batman film where he's just a rich playboy orphan that never fights crime. The thing is that Deadpool, being a comic book character who knows he's a comic book character, is aware of this previous foray into film. Not just that, but he also knows about Reynolds' other venture into the superhero world in The Green Lantern. So we've got a devilishly clever and funny comic book movie that is self-referential and spectacularly inventive in its bloody and gruesome action scenes. What's not to like?
The biggest challenge here is the “just shy of NC-17” content, but in theory everyone knows what they're getting themselves into, and the ads have gone out of their way to make this rather explicitly clear. In a nice case of one hand washing the other, that just goes to reinforce to true fans that they've actually handled the character correctly this time, and just makes them more excited about the project.
Crossing over a little with the X-Men world, Russian metal mutant Colossus makes an appearance on Deadpool's side, maybe, along with a relatively new introduction, Negasonic Teenage Warhead, a possible ally who is also described in terms of her angry Tweeting ability. And how do you not appreciate the insanity of that? The film's ad campaign has been top notch, tweaking the nose of traditional marketing, including ads that wildly mis-sell it as a romance (with Morena Baccarin) for Valentine's Day. In terms of introducing characters to audiences, it's up there with the original Iron-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy, in celebrating everything that's fun about them. Only the R rating is going to hold this back, and that will likely be a significant factor in it opening to about $75 million this weekend.