Let me put this right up front: This piece is only tinfoil hat conjecture, and idiotic babbling doom-speak of a nearly middle-aged nerd.
With that out of the way: Could the Deadpool movie be a horseman of the comic movie apocalypse? The end is nigh! The end is nigh!
The raunchy R-rated comedy is an example of how to take a niche premise, tell a small, kind of generic, but meaningful, story and create a quirky, hip action comedy. Despite weak throwaway villains and the “small” nature of the story, the movie is great during the first or 10th viewing, and does not require multiple viewings to “get it”...
...I’m looking at you Suicide Squad.
So, why am I likening Deadpool to the end of the movie genre? Well, this is just a theory, and to be honest, I hope I am wrong. I love comic movies. Well, good ones anyway...
...I’m still looking at you Suicide Squad.
Based solely on observation, anecdotal POV’s and a slapdash Google search, here is my theory:
Movie pop culture is defined by its genre of the time. War movies were once all the rage but eventually gave way to Westerns. In the mid-late 70s Sci-Fi made a hard return and lasted until the mid-80s when cop/action star movies dominated. Then in 2000, X-Men hit big and the comic book movie renaissance began. Now, 16 years later, and lasting longer in popularity than the previous genres, the end may be upon us sooner than we think.
Obviously each of these previous movie genres didn’t stop completely. We still have the occasional westerns, Sci-Fi and the cop/action hero movies, with the normal run-of-the-mill comedies, dramas, horror and Oscar-bait films peppered throughout.
But, we didn’t have the volume of the respective film types outside of their respective genre-defining times. And “volume” is the key word. As the studios shit out more and more movies in their respective times, the question soon arose: how do we set ours apart?
Each zeitgeist film type eventually suffered from the same things like bloat, self-importance, ridiculous escalation, genre-blend and ultimately fatigue which in turn, tuned the audiences away for something “fresh”. A concept seen in all forms of entertainment, art and music.
In the glory days of westerns, the movie scene was plump with the adventures of John Wayne and Clint Eastwood. But, come 1980, a film like Heaven’s Gate detailing the 1890 Wyoming Johnson County Wars coming in at 5.5 hours (directors cut) was too much for people to swallow.
In the action movie scene, both Lethal Weapon and Die Hard suffered when they strayed from the formula, adding more characters than needed and over-the-top escalation. By the 4th installment Riggs and Murtaugh had to fight ninjas with Chris Rock (yeah, I know it was the Chinese Triad...but come on, they were essentially Ninjas. When in doubt Hollywood always throws ninjas at the problem...
...I’m looking at you Daredevil and the soon to be Iron Fist.
Poor John McClain was a simple cop from NYC who was in he wrong place in the wrong time, but come the 3rd movie, only Samuel L. Jackson saved the middling flick from slipping into obscurity as they raced around...solving riddles from Hans Gruber’s brother? While the 4th and 5th Die Hard movies were...well, let’s just call them “not good” and leave it at that. The poor cop action movies suffered and by the mid-90’s were often times teamed with an Odd Couple like pairing to make their movies different, like K9, Turner and Hooch, Cop-and-a-Half, Tango and Cash and Theodore Rex.
Even sci-fi/fantasy fell from grace following 2001, E.T, Conan, Star Trek, Tron, Clash of the Titans and Star Wars with the sub-genre diluting filler like Battle Beyond the Stars, Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared Syn, Solar Babies, Ice Pirates, Star Man, and Beastmaster....and the Star Wars Prequels.
So, long rambling aside, how does Deadpool play into this?
Well, 16 years is a long time for a genre to stay at the top. There have been 60+ live action comic movies since 2000. https://flightstightsandmovienights.com/review-index/the-list/#2000
The market isn't only saturated, but both DC and Marvel have movies slated out to 2020 and beyond, and that’s not counting the different comic TV shows during the same time period. The movies have become so vast and so bloated that the recent Suicide Squad was quoted as “breaking even as long as they make $800M worldwide.”
800 MILLION. That’s breaking even?
Deadpool, while undeniably awesome, HAD to be an R-rated movie. If we’re being honest, had that flick been PG-13, it would be in the Wal-Mart bargain bin within 3 months of release. So, will there be more R-rated comic flicks to sell the audience a generic story? (again, apologies, I love the movie, but the story isn't why you watch it.)
Already we see the team-up/crossover bloat happening in Captain America 3 and BvS. Thor 3 is being prepped as a buddy-cop/road trip movie with the Hulk to sell the premise. Self-Importance? Allow me to point you to the a weighty, dreary drek DC keeps pumping out which emo fans rush to defend them because...”gritty realism” trumps fun and plot cohesion?
...<cough cough Suicide Squad was barely average deal with it cough cough>
...But the Justice League trailer does look pretty baller.
The good news is, the comic genre creators and movie developers have been doing their best to keep the movies just slightly different enough to keep us coming back. But, as the saying goes, “The Center Cannot Hold”. And we may be witnessing the end of the genre.
But, even more good news, those old genres which fell from grace eventually come back in surprising ways. War movies like Flags of our Fathers and Westerns like Unforgiven get nominated and win Oscars long after their time past them by. Lord of the Rings brought back fantasy and won Oscars (while The Hobbit possibly killed it).
Ultimately the choice is ours. We vote with our dollars, cinema attendance and internet outrage. I am not saying the end of days is tomorrow, only that the Second Rider of the Apocalypse has saddled up and is on the horizon.
And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see.
And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword
I always fucking knew Ryan Reynolds would bring on Armageddon. Damn you Green Lantern...that was supposed to be good!