While being escorted by the hopeless romantic taxi driver, Dopinder, (Karan Soni), Deadpool/Wade Wilson played by Ryan Reynolds, says, “hold on to love tight and never let go” as he lifts up his pinky in reference to his long lost love, Vanessa (Morena Baccarin). Dopinder’s issue is that he is losing the battle of his girlfriend’s heart to another more attractive and skillful man in which is subconsciously Deadpool’s problem as well. However, instead of it being another man Deadpool is losing Vanessa over, it is his own self-confidence getting in the way of wining her heart back. Let’s face it, no one could be more skillful or more attractive than Mr. Reynolds, but if it were another man, Deadpool would innately drive overtop of with the dude with a Zamboni and that would be the end of that. So the theme presented by Director Tim Miller’s expressionistic film, Deadpool (2016) is a charming reminder that true love never dies no matter how ugly you become over time because it is all about the personal connection you make with another person instead of how they look in your bed. So in order to understand the theme we have to figure out what type of film this is.
The logline on IMDB for this film says this story is about “a former Special Forces operative turned mercenary is subjected to a rogue experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers, adopted the alter ego Deadpool.” Now I am not a professional screenwriter (yet), but this is a terrible logline! It takes all the irony away, makes Wade seem like an uncaring war machine and gives zero substance to the heart of the story which lies within Vanessa. Heed the warning; be careful when you read small sentences that try and summarize film. Some of them have the potential of breaking your desire to see a film over Colossus’ chin. My logline to this film would read, “After a rogue experiment went wrong and made the charismatic pervert, Deadpool immune to everything and physically deformed, he hunts down the double crossing scientist to fix is his face in order to return to his fiancée.” This still needs a professionals’ touch, but I feel it works better.
Now that we know what goes on within the story, let’s go a little deeper into the genre. Genre is simply an artistic composition in which the story is told through and this film is a Comic book Superhero story. Down to its nuts and bolts, a superhero story is about an individual who knows he/she is extraordinary in some capacity and tries to be human in our mediocre world. These stories are about epic triumph and sacrifice. According to Blake Snyder’s novel Save the Cat, there are four elements that arrange a superhero film. A superhero with a special power who knows he/she is a great at what they do. A nemesis who is an equal or greater power than the hero. A curse the hero has to suffer from because of how great their power is and a mascot; someone or something that supports the hero on the quest. Now to fry up the chimichangas!
The first element; The Special Individual who knows he/she is a great at what they do is the person in the story we, the audience, are supposed to cheer for. Now to be fair is Deadpool is considered an antihero by our current contemporary society because one of the obligations the character was designed to do was poke fun at the classic serotype of a super heroism by dancing between the line of heroes and villains.
However, Deadpool will be labeled as “our protagonist,” just to keep things simple in this review. A protagonist within this superhero story not only has special power, but they have the knowledge of being great at what they do. Deadpool has the ability to quickly heal from any torture his body goes through and what he knows he is good at other than turning someone into Vincent van Gogh from his constant snarky babbling is his use of weapons and fighting skills. However what makes a hero skillful is not due to his/her abilities and how he/she uses them; it is all about how threatening the villain is. (Fun fact: if the bad-guy is weak and does not keep the hero on their toes, the film will be disappointing.) Now we care for him for a number of reasons, one primarily being that the audience for some strangle reason love a do-gooder who dismisses the label of being a hero, but makes the Merc with the Mouth our protagonist is his significant character growth. And makes the good guy grow all depends on how bad the bad guy is bad.
The nemesis in this film goes by the lovely name of Francis. Kind of a sweet name in a way, but Francis is pretty good at being bad. Not only is he is able to go toe to toe with our hero, Francis is unable to feel anything physical or emotional so he has no fear. You know the saying, ‘there is nothing to fear, but fear itself?’ Well I beg to disagree. Fighting a person who cannot feel fear is pretty frightening. Anyway, what also makes a well-established bad guy is the essence of him/her being ignorant to faith. The villain will never have faith in a particular idea or methodology that the hero unconditionally believes in. This is what enviably causes the nemesis’ downfall because when it comes down to the moment where all is lost and the hero seeming on the edge of death he/she will eventually use their faith against the villain who lacks the understanding of it. The particular faith Francis does not believe in is love. Love is the only reason why Deadpool does anything in this film. Take for example the scene where Wade was talking to David, one of the patients in the experimentation lab about their bucket list. Wade said to David, that the only thing on his list was to see Vanessa again. He continues to say to himself that she is the only reason why he is going through this scummy medical procedure. Now on the surface of the rest of the film, Deadpool wants to be fixed so he can be attractive again, but the primary reason for this desire of being physically normal is so he can return to Vanessa without scaring her half to death.
The third element is a curse and the fourth element is the mascot. I am wrapping these two together because in this film they are intertwined. The curse is the price the hero has to pay for being super and the mascot is the person who supports the hero in establishing why they do what they do. The curse our protagonist deals with is frankly his ugliness so in effect he hides from the only thing he wants which is Vanessa who is ironically his mascot; the only person on Team-Deadpool. Here is an amusing bit: Even though Deadpool has the ability to heal any part of body from physical harm, he is unable to heal from a broken heart. He is absolutely powerless against his emotions… kind of the opposite of Francis… Deadpool is essentially afraid of rejection, but where the intertwined aspect of the curse and the mascot comes into play is when Deadpool grows a pair and tells Vanesa he has been alive this whole time only after Francis abducts her. In a form Deadpool’s moment triumph in kissing Vanessa is right after his moment of sacrifice in facing his foe.
Vanessa’s comment after pulling off the Hugh Jackman paper mask stapled onto Wade’s face however is what wraps this nice Christmas gift in the middle of July. She says, “This is a face. One I’d be happy to sit on.” Deadpool realizes that the theme of true love is not dictated based on appearance. It is not what is on the outside that matters when it comes to love; it is what is on the inside. Sure appearance matters. It is what we learn first about each other, but as time goes on and the relationship develops, appearance is not what makes a person worth keeping around it is the element of trusting the one you love to accept you even when you don’t accept yourself. The theme of Deadpool (2016) is, “Hold on to love tight and never let go,”… so what does true love mean to you?
Other films that present the same theme are Superman, The Avengers, The Crow
IMDB – Deadpool (2016)
Save the Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need.
Blake Snyder – M. Wiese Productions – 2005.
Deadpool (2016). Dir. Tim Miller. Prod. 20th Century Fox. By Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick. Perf. Ryan Reynolds, Ed Skrein, Morena Baccarin.