Favorite Fictional Characters, #237: Deadpool
It's been well-documented that movies from the Marvel universe are better than those from rival DC. Part of the reason is the organic presence of humor in Marvel's characters, a quality that first materializes cinematically in Downey's Iron Man movies, steps it up in Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man, and then takes the proverbial Great Leap Forward in Deadpool (ironically not even a MCU film, instead a FOX release).
Deadpool has always been one of the more odd characters from Marvel's House of Ideas. He started out as a fairly colorless mercenary designed to take advantage of the early-90s ninja fetish and to ride the wave of popular morally ambiguous anti-heroes like Punisher and, increasingly, Wolverine. But a funny thing happened - he was funny.
Deadpool was - is - like these others in that he was vicious, mentally unstable, and bloodthirsty. What set him apart was that he came to see the absurdity of the self-important grittiness of it all, and repeatedly punctured that gravity with meta-aware pop-culture references, lewd remarks, and offhand insults all delivered in a constant patter of verbal diarrhea. The humor leavened the violence and allowed the reader to remember that comics are supposed to be fun.
This year's movie struck that same balance, and the product is one the more hilarious films to hit theaters in a long time. Ryan Reynolds inhabits the red and black mask with a perfect irreverent charisma, delivering relentless laughs while still headlining a first-rate action flick. It's vulgar and gory and awesome.