It's easy to get the impression that movies, yes the entire medium at large, just do not get Deadpool. That would at least explain every effort to adapt him to the big screen, and any cynicism that might surround the upcoming Deadpool movie. Hollywood's most valiant effort yet in adapting him has been in X-men Origins: Wolverine, and just look at it!
The best they could muster was having Ryan Reynolds crack wise a little. Then the Merc with a Mouth literally has his mouth taken away, and spends the rest of the movie being your standard sinister unbeatable villain, because we can't have the climax of the movie be funny now can we? All this leads to one slightly uncomfortable question.
Is Deadpool unfilmable?
Put simply, no. If you think anything is unfilmable, then you're not watching enough movies. The reason this question gets banded around is that it lends this mysticism to the original text. Whether it's the likes of Dune or Watchmen, suggesting that they just can't be adapted makes them seem like some impenetrable puzzle. Now, while the quality of those adaptations is debatable, there's no reason why the Deadpool movie should be deemed a failure right out the gate.
The idea of Deadpool being unfilmable comes from comics never having those delusions of inherent quality and prestige that movies have always been stuck with. This led to a "whatever, they're just comics" attitude that actually allowed for the kind of creative expression that led to Deadpool's own fourth wall breaking shenanigans. A "whatever, they're just movies" door to creativity took much longer to manifest, at least in mainstream cinema. The cinematic landscape may now be ripe for this kind of audacious adaptation, so what are some tips for Fox in adapting Deadpool?
A self-contained story (for now)
The reason Deadpool as a character resonated so well with fans was because he was essentially a response to comics in general. While we read him, he's practically reading with us on our shoulder. This means that, if Ryan Reynolds' Deadpool has too many interactions with other elements in the established X-men universe, he could become swallowed up just as he was in X-men Origins. Worse still, a general audience may become confused about what they're supposed to be enjoying.
When Deadpool does interact with other Marvel characters, he's essentially perceived as a weirdo who's in on some joke no one else is. If Deadpool gets his own completely self contained story, then the audience will have time to get used to him, and by the time he has actual interactions with established characters in later movies, they too are in on his joke!
Mess with the tone
I usually hate this trope of making light out of violence. Putting a jaunty tune on while something horrific happens might be one of the most tired short cuts to edginess around. However, this could totally work with Deadpool. The audience isn't supposed to know exactly how to feel, for Deadpool himself is so unstable that he himself doesn't know what he's feeling. Now, whether Hollywood can run with having a hero with almost no emotional core is yet to be determined.
A tone somewhat akin to Kick-Ass could work for Deadpool. There's that colorful comic book magic everywhere, but bones break just as easily as in real life. There's this unsettling rawness to Matthew Vaughn's films that makes you question just how much you can look through the violence to get to the fun. Take this scene from [Kingsman: The Secret Service](tag:713143) and just begin to imagine Deadpool involved in all that!
Remember, X-men Origins: Wolverine was so despised by fans that it took three subsequent X-men movies to eradicate it from canon. The only way really is up. If there's any comic property that filmmakers could get truly weird with, it's Deadpool. While they aren't exactly widely enjoyed movies, the Ghost Rider films are perhaps the closest comic book adaptations have got to a Deadpool feel. [Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance](tag:36650) especially rocks some crazy visuals and cavalier sensibilities, and it's all down to the directors, Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor.
Neveldine and Taylor's entire body of work would be an excellent place for the Deadpool movie to draw inspiration from. Their work not only exhibits frenetic action, but straight up torpedoes the fourth wall. For example, Crank 2 was the first movie I ever saw that got bored of itself. Think about it this way. It ends with a shot of Jason Statham looking at the audience, flipping them off... whilst on fire. Need more proof? Check out this short scene from the first Crank movie!
Yeah. Jason Statham literally just read the subtitles that were meant for the audience. This is exactly the kind of humor and almost confrontational tone that would make a Deadpool adaptation successful. Yeah sure, the suit Ryan Reynolds wears in the upcoming movie does look great, but if this project can't rise up and attack the audience with Deadpool's own weirdness, it may be set to join the old Fantastic Four movies in that tiny club of Marvel adaptation misfires.