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Deadpool is a superhero movie game-changer

Deadpool has arrived, lovingly birthed by newly-christened nerd champion Ryan Reynolds, and whether you like it or not, the film has changed everything you know about superhero movies. For a film genre that's taking over more of the box office with each passing month, a lot of the standard hero stuff, as great as it is, is already starting to feel a little old. Enter Deadpool, which equally embraces and defies every superhero cliche we've become used to over the past 20 years. The fact that Deadpool is an immediately beloved entry into the world of cinematic superheroism is a big deal, and here's why.

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Why so serious?

Even though most heroic films have moments of levity, we haven't really had a film that's an intentional comedy, laughing at Halle Berry's Catwoman aside. While Zack Snyder does everything he can to make DC Comics' films the bleakest place since purgatory, and Ant-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy came pretty close to being heroic comedies, none came without moralistic overtones to kill the comedy buzz. Deadpool's unrepentant nihilism and acknowledgement of the inherent ridiculousness of comics show us that the audience for superhero films might just be a little more open to a laugh than they've been given credit for.

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On the ffensive

There's no doubt that Deadpool played up a lot of gross things for shock value, from gory violence to explicit descriptions of Hugh Jackman's nethers, but that's okay. Comic books embrace hyperbole and exaggeration, but many comic films prefer to play around in a very small, safe sandbox where it's nearly impossible to offend anyone. If social commentary is doing something right, it's bound to bother a few people, and Deadpool's meta-commentary on comics and comic films is necessary in a world blindly obsessed with imaginary costumed heroes. Expect a lampoon of every dumb superhero movie thing that happens between now and the next Deadpool film.

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Negasonic, please

Superhero films are terrified of plugging any money into characters that aren't already household names or sell action figures. It's hard to consider Ant-Man a risk when he's one of the original Avengers, and even the Guardians of the Galaxy have always had a dedicated cabal of fans, as obscure as they might be to the general non-nerd world. So, seeing characters like Ajax, Angel Dust, and Negasonic Teenage Warhead in a real movie is amazing. Even the fan reception to the split-second appearance of Marrow tells studios that audiences are ready for the real stuff, buried deep in comic archives, so hurry up with more unusual characters like MODOK, Bizarro, and Mojo.

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Bridge over troubled waters

Even though Deadpool exists in a bubble universe of its own, aware that Marvel movies are a thing, the casual chaos of the Deadpool-verse makes it possible for all known Marvel movies to live in harmony, albeit unofficially. Deadpool, intentionally or not, has become the central point of the Marvel-verse, with official connections to all of the convoluted X-Men stuff, nods to the existence of the Fantastic Four, and acknowledgement of the Avengers, which has official ties to Spider-Man. By being ridiculous, Deadpool makes the most sense of all, and studios have a solid avenue to make fans happy by allowing these cross-property hints to be dropped.

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Comics are crazy

One thing that might not be totally obvious to an audience who goes to comic films without reading actual comic books is that comics are insane. While there's an overarching theme of good and evil punching each other into submission, all of the context and in-between stuff is where the glorious madness really lives, and Deadpool brings much of it to the forefront. Too many superhero films seem to be ashamed of their ridiculous origins, but bizarre science fiction is where it's really at. Forget about sanding down the difficult edges for a mass audience, because Deadpool proves that it's time to get weird. Out with the billionaire playboys, and in with the depressed, world-eating aliens.

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Budget be damned

Deadpool was created on a budget of $58 million, but made $135 million on its opening weekend alone. Compare this to Ant-Man, which needed a budget of $130 million just to get out the door and is considered to be one of Marvel's smallest movies. Still, Deadpool thrived, despite last-minute cuts to the budget, forcing story points to be re-written to suit cashflow issues, all while maintaining a great cast and a well-told story. Directors, you can have fun and be smart without a ridiculous amount of money, and still completely kick ass, so there are no excuses anymore.

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No excuses

Speaking of no excuses, Deadpool is an absolute proof of concept that things like both 2005 and 2015's abysmal Fantastic Four movies just should not have ever happened, no matter what reasons the maligned staff can muster. Deadpool feels like an effortless romp into the world of superheroes, but that's because it didn't allow itself to be beaten to death by re-writes, negotiations, and trying to appeal to the widest possible audience. From here on out, there's no production excuse that will hold any weight when the resulting movie is terrible. Deadpool schooled all you suckers.