Deadpool – How to please your audience, a lesson by Marvel

Marvel have become one of the biggest film producers on the planet over recent years as the superhero genre has really taken off, and love them or hate them, you’ve got to give them credit for the quality and sheer popularity of their films. Unsurprisingly, Deadpool (Miller:2016) was no exception to this.

**SPOILER FREE POST**

The quick-witted, bad-mouthed, smart-ass super reaches Marvel’s teenage and young adult audience, while remaining open to an older audience too, now they can be promised a somewhat more realistic, and perhaps more relatable, representation of a modern superhero. A LOT of hype surrounded this film preceding its release and I’ll admit I was a little sceptical abut exactly how good it would be, and whether it would be worth the hype. Don’t get me wrong, I never expected that I wouldn’t like it (I’m quite a fan of Marvel’s films), I was just wary of expecting too much.

I needn’t have worried.

I thought Deadpool was executed extremely well: it did all it proposed to do, and did it with a stylised wit and self-referentiality that I don’t remember seeing before in Marvel. They used this self-referential nature to create much of the humour, which was really quite unusual for such a high-profile, mainstream film, and this was present from start to finish: the opening credits themselves to the post-credits scene Marvel has become known for. In fact, this is the first time that I’ve seen a Marvel film where I could count on one hand the number of people who left the cinema before that little scene. I think that speaks volumes about firstly, the number of fans in the audience and secondly, how highly they rated the film. The filmmakers definitely did something right here.

Clearly the studio knows its audience inside out. There are numerous references that certain fans will recognise from the comics, and Deadpool’s manner, along with breaking the fourth wall, draws directly from them. The sense of humour throughout is ‘classic Marvel’ humour, but has been cleverly and effectively altered for the slightly older audience, and there are certain instances where Deadpool seems like a more realistic hero than others that have gone before – how many adults do you know that wouldn’t throw out the occasional “f*ck” when things go pear shaped?

There were a couple of things that I noticed in terms of casting in Deadpool. The first of which being the inclusion of a female character who is not super skinny. However, it didn’t escape my notice that she was an evil character, and what does that say about representations…? I’m probably looking at it too deeply I know, but someone has to. Also, the casting of Ed Skrein as Ajax. As far as I’m aware we’ve not yet seen him in anything major since he left Game of Thrones back in series 3, supposedly for his film career, and I wonder if his role in Deadpool is the reason he sacked off Thrones. Who’s to say if that was a good decision or not?

But coming back to Deadpool, I think this just proves that Marvel are a successful studio for a very good reason, and they know exactly how to please their audiences, even with something a little different to their usual. We saw this with Guardians of the Galaxy a couple of years ago, and now they’ve done it again: giving us something different, a new take on superheroes. Guardians director James Gunn had this to say about the reason for Deadpool’s success and why Hollywood will misunderstand it. It’s a good little read if you’re interested, and I think he’s got it exactly right.

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Author: camillehatcher

Bookworm, film fanatic, quote master, and apprentice wordsmith.

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