I opened every article last week stating how excited I was for Deadpool. Well I went and saw it and I was not disappointed. It lived up to all of its hype and awesome marketing. Initial thoughts put it at number 6 on my super hero movie list. Better than The Avengers but not quite as good as Guardians of the Galaxy. This may change when I get the chance to watch Deadpool more. But Guardians is just delightful.
Deadpool made more than double what was predicted, as such it is getting a ton of press, mostly predicting what that large box office means for super hero movies. Obviously I feel the need to add my two cents.
The big talk is about making more R rated super hero movies. I think it needs to be assessed on a character by character basis. The character of Deadpool calls for the R rating. In his comics he is not a hero. He is a mercenary for hire. Kills by any means necessary for money. He swears, though the comics code forces the string of symbols. He is not a role model. Characters like Spider-Man or Superman are symbols of right and are heroic. There is no reason to for their movies to contain ultraviolence, swear words, and gratuitous sex. Such things are completely out of character for most super heroes.
Deadpool’s box office is on par with all the other super hero movies that have done well. So there’s no reason to completely abandon what has been working. Just be true to the characters.
The director of Guardians of the Galaxy stated that studio honchos would completely misinterpret what the box office means and start to make super hero movies the wrong way. It’s not so much the R rating, and everything that entails, which made Deadpool so successful. It’s more that the filmmakers were allowed to be true to the character and make the movie it’s supposed to be. Ryan Reynolds is giant fan-boy. He loved Deadpool well before getting to play him. He, along with the screenwriters and directors, weren’t in this just to make money. They wanted a screen adaptation of this comic they enjoyed.
I’d like to point to Jessica Jones. I know this isn’t a movie but rather a Netflix series and as such is an entirely different beast. But since it was Netflix it didn’t necessarily have to adhere to the MPAA or the television ratings people, Jessica Jones was free to say “fuck,” be ultra-bloody, and have Cinemax style sex. But it didn’t. It used the shit swear a bunch, but that seems par for the TV course these days. Jessica Jones was able to make one of the best comic book adaptations without resorting to the R rated stuff. It was still gritty, dark, and violent. They let the characters do the heavy lifting and it paid off. They made it great by letting the people making it fucking make it.
I understand that I am looking at this from more of an artistic point of view, and the studios are looking from the monetary view. But, and I’m no statistics expert, if we look at the lifetime gross for R rated movies, the top movie made approximately $370 million. There are 19 movies rated PG-13 that have grossed more than that. But changing your whole strategy based on one thing is apparently a good way to go.
I guess what I’m saying is just make your movie. Don’t chase trends. Let the swears, violence, and sex serve the characters and the story. Not the other way around. One of the smartest things ever uttered by Adam Sandler, “Gold jacket, green jacket, who gives a shit?” Just make the movie and let whatever rating it’s going to get come naturally. The worst you can do is force a movie one way or another. Don’t let others influence how you make your chimichangas.