Warning: Against my conventional tendencies, a considerably increased amount of cursing will be circulating around this particular publication, and won’t be censored. Naturally, reader discretion is advised.
It’s impossible, really, when it comes to determining what you loved more, after walking out of an opening day Deadpool showing: the film’s disregard for superficial rules, Deadpool being the biggest asshole, the crowd who laughed because you laughed at a joke that only you got (well…that WAS the hope), or when you laughed in an instinctive response to the audience’s laughter: attending film viewings with huge crowds can be the most amazing thing, if you somehow managed to find a balance between an audience with lively and responsive dispositions but also a crowd that’s respecting and understanding about NOT BEING A FUCKING LOUD AND DISTRACTING ASSHOLE. Sydney crowds do a generally good job with that…well, at least with my measuring balance being American crowds, as narrated by Youtube film critics.
You know…I could’ve chosen an anime topic to cover for Valentine’s…there certainly ain’t a shortage in episodes depicting how the anime world deals with such a…vaguely exclusive celebration. However, as a pathetic loner and being forever single as a consequence, it would be rather difficult for me to dig a few layers deeper into the psyche of the celebration, considering the lack of first hand experience and my general distaste of large (and loud) crowds. Also, since it’s what I do best, I decided to base my special publication on narrating about a real life event that has happened to me recently, preferably entertainment media-related, with the usual amount of sick and lazy sarcasm that reflects my real-life self, and a segment of self-indulgent analysing, with the aforementioned media as the subject of dissection.
Oh, don’t worry, I’m not THAT much of a world-hating Trump-dick sucking cunt-head who finds amusement in setting cultural diversity back 50 years, gender equality back 100 years and humanity’s understanding of science and Earth’s roundness back 200 years. I’m just here to talk about the next best thing: the maniac smart ass with a great red ass. Convenient too, since this topic is actually relevant to the occasion:
Comic book movies, comic books. They don’t particularly interest me, and it’s mostly due to the entertainment medium I usually reside in: anime consumes the more nerdy side of me, most of the time.
I’m indifferent to Western comic stories: if a comic book movie from DC or Marvel comes out next month, I might catch it just for the sake of 2 hours of fun. I’m not particularly difficult to impress: generally, if a movie of this nature can keep my cheeks elevated, my lungs working overtime and provides no shortages of opportunities for laughter, I’m impressed. Marvel tends to do this better than DC, since the former has taken upon themselves to provide its slew of characters and films with a basis for lightheartedness and goof first, darkness-infested lore and serious talk second, at least when it comes to my level of absorption and how I tend to get lost in the lore of comic book films, yet finds plenty to enjoy anyway, when Iron Man and Captain America banters on screen. Most of the better Marvel titles over the last 5 years, such as both Avengers films, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man, all function under the likeable chemistry of the characters (most of them anyways…still have a thing against Iron Man), with the films providing no shortage of extended cuts, where brief moments or seemingly glued-on bits of dialogue provides the kick or tickle that sets off our funny bones, while at the same time, finding humanity in beings of legends.
Funny…how Marvel and DC does this in different ways with their most recent films: Marvel digs into the outdated moral sensibilities of a man out of his time, and provides him with a sense of relatability through his childish sense of humour and evergreen innocence, whilst DC provided a man with the purpose to fight crime, because his parents were murdered in an alley. Humanising a hero is all the rage in Hollywood these days, and surprising enough, there are more than just one way of achieving it.
This is what I perceive to be the identity of the Marvel Universe, and what people associate with Marvel films: gods, beasts and men of legends, crowding around a tiny assemble of tables, eating shawarma in a trashed up restaurant, or placing bets on who can pick up Thor’s hammer at a slumber party, and thus deem themselves ‘worthy’…worthy of…what? How about them debating whose girlfriend is best girl? (isn’t this supposed to be a game for lowly weebs?): Iron Man’s Pepper or Thor’s Jane?
Then, there’s this fucking messed up concoction named Deadpool: a deranged ex-merc, wronged by an even more deranged dickhead with a British accent, driven into a revenge-seeking rage when the love of his life gets kidnapped. Sounds rather conventional after the first read-through, doesn’t it? Just you wait.
The Marketing: Fucking Textbook Perfection…And a Hella lot of Rule Breaking
The next few segments attempt to merge the start of a personal story, with a hybrid insider discussion about the incidental, circumstantial and theoretical intricacies that helps to create a framework of understanding on the extent and cause of the marketing campaigns’ unprecedented success, and the film itself.
Like I mentioned above, since I don’t follow the western comic book world, things tend to slip from my train of thought. I didn’t even know about the existence of Ant-man and the Guardians of the Galaxy until recently, and quite obviously, even Deadpool slipped from my always casting rounds of nets for knowledge and…cheap entertainment (Living in Australia tends to dull your sensibilities to just how bloody expensive everything is.).
It was rather unorthodox, my introduction to Deadpool during late 2014. During one of my routine sessions, browsing YouTube for videos to consume, my eyes brushed across several titles and images, featuring the Deadpool red band trailer, reaction videos and what not to said trailer. It was not after I ACCIDENTLY clicked on the trailer, intending to open a link to an analytical video about the Sherlock: The Abominable Bride instead, that I was first introduced to the character. And to think what made me decide to watch on, instead of clicking the ‘back’ button, was because the disclaimer screen at the beginning was bright red instead of the usual green…those fucking psychics…hypnotising me with the colour red…and no, that screen didn’t stay long enough for me to properly read its contents…something about restrictions (never heard of this concept).
So what’s perfect textbook advertising? The audience knows the product, and knowledge of its existence and irresistible appeal are stuck in their minds by the end of one of its segments or phases, be it 2 minutes, 15 seconds, or just a passing billboard. Simple. Also, along with the slew of clever charity sponsors, holiday bashings and…straight up making fun of both itself and its competition, Deadpool’s appeal; being his eccentric, asshole demeanour; was classed up and showcased with no concern of censorship. But something seems to transcend the norm: Deadpool is literally breaking every rule in the book, both figuratively as a (non-)functioning human being, and as a film (soon-to-be-franchise). But then again, some rules are made to be broken, and whoever breaks them first, or does so with the most flare, gets the most pussy (and by that I mean fan interest, obviously).
Towards the D-Day of Deadpool’s launch in Australian cinemas, buses, taxis and roadside billboards started pumping out numerous promotions for the film. But these were just common courtesies that I walked past without a second thought: the good ol’ word of mouth has already taken hold on the crowd: the brilliance of the online campaign guaranteed the movie with opening week full houses.
The Larger Implications of 4th Wall Breaking
*Minor Spoilers from this point onwards.
To help frame the definition of the 4th wall: the theatre or cinema where a performance or media entertainment is to take place has 3 solid walls that separates the entire space from outside reality, but the audience is still in partial grounded space. There also exists an imaginary 4th wall that separates the universal consciousness of the audience and the depicted events happening on stage: the audience absorbs the information through a filter that allows them to view the performance as fiction, which in turn also influences one’s subconscious perspective on the performance, as one starts to perceive and compare fiction with real world events and concepts. On the other side of the spectrum, the rulebook dictates that the performance and the pre-created media be totally ignorant of the audience: other than the intent to amuse and hopefully entertain, the supposed reality on stage does not interfere with the audience’s.
Needless to say, breaking that 4th wall can be as simple as a performer asking the audience a question directly, or can be as unexpected as a movie making fun of its own director in name (In Deadpool’s case: ‘Directed by a talentless hack.’) : the performance or film directly acknowledging the existence of an alternate reality, where creepy men and women are staring at their bathroom sex session with hands grabbing their pleasure spots, while sitting in a darkened room, for instance.
Put simply…this technique is usually utilised for its unexpectedness, when it comes to contemporary film making: jabs are usually indirect, referential and sometimes even accidental. However, Deadpool, being in his own film, acts as if he knows a camera and crew is following his bloody rampages and is feeding the footage back to millions of audiences from an alternate dimension, and thus he positions his ballsacks and asskicking in perfect or grossly indecent angles for the cameras to capture.
And this is where WATCHING THE FILM comes in: Like the brilliant clichéd rump-fest that was Hot Fuzz, Deadpool is a constant barrage of gags, jokes, insults towards fellow actors and Fox Studios itself: Deadpool’s awareness of the camera and his loving audience was acknowledged in the most tongue-in-cheek AND direct ways possible. Almost like a rhythmic dance, Deadpool manages to cut through several genres of self-referential humour in seconds, ranging from teasing himself about the failed film adaptations, to the casting situation of the X-men franchise:
“I’m taking you to the professor.” – Colossus
“Stewart or McAvoy?” – Deadpool
(The next one’s paraphrased by the way, I don’t have perfect pitch or whatever ability special people have, that gives them perfect audio memory.)
“You know, I keep coming here and I keep seeing just you two…It’s as if the studios can’t afford any more X-men.” – Deadpool (To Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead, seeing the size of the Professor’s manor)
Obviously, dialogue isn’t the only weapon, with which Deadpool uses to break the rules: he outright stares at and acknowledges the audience through lines that references 127 Hours and Wolverine: Origins going as far as MOVING the camera himself before butchering his victim, as he smirked at the audience: “Oh, you don’t want to see this.” In fact, the only thing missing was Deadpool pulling a boom mic from off-frame, and shoving it into his victim’s ass and out of his mouth.
Primal Rage: The Crowd Effect
There really isn’t much left to talk about, when it comes to Deadpool under my chosen framework. I COULD talk about the crudely cute romance, but I honestly don’t remember much of that, since EVERYTHING else was overwhelming. To compress thousands of thoughts into one final verdict: Deadpool is a crowd pleaser, and it does it perfectly as a conventional origin and revenge story.
Well, there’s my brief little tale and discussion about Deadpool. Hopefully next time, I will be able to find something anime-related to talk about…in fact, I don’t even know what my next holiday special should be…should I just keep it simple and just wait for Christmas?
Eh, whatever, post’s done. Until next time, you hot and creamy chimichangas.