Deadpool is many things. Crude, violent, but most of all it’s a fun and funny comic book movie, which is such a relief to see coming from a studio other than Marvel Entertainment. I felt the same way back in 2008 when I saw the first Iron Man. It was a comic book movie that got comic books. Unfortunately while everyone is copying Marvel’s interconnected cinematic universe plan, the comedy is often left on the sidelines. Guest writer, Zac Atkinson, has an important question to ask those studios.
Until next time,
Why so serious?
No. Really. I’m genuinely asking. Why do so many comic books, and their screen adaptations, take themselves so seriously? Not sure what I mean by “serious?” Have you seen a Batman movie in the last five years? Are you planning to see the new Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice later this month? No? Good. Watch Deadpool again instead. But before you do, go warm up a nice mug of instant soup and let me explain myself…
Some comic book stories, too many to be honest, are all about saving the world from total annihilation. It’s: “Oh my god, we’re all gonna die and the city, the planet, and probably the whole universe will be destroyed and humanity will be wiped out of existence.” Yay… good times. The stakes are always catastrophic as if to point out that the bigger the potential disaster, the more “important” the story must be. And this is all in service of one incredibly disappointing fact: these stories are to be taken VERY seriously! Dammit!
But do they have to be? Does a story have to be about the doom and gloom of everything we know and love? Can’t we just enjoy a comic book about some simple misadventures? Maybe a clever tale about someone in the wrong place at the wrong time? I really think that can make for an entertaining read, especially if that someone happens to be a bit hapless. But, that rarely happens in today’s bloated sagas. No, these “serious” comic books also want to have serious characters. And that brings us to another important fact…
There are a great many caped comic book superheroes who are dark and moody, and — let’s be really honest here — are probably suffering from clinical depression or another serious disorder. These characters are nearly always messed up. And yet, those same superheroes also always seem to have friends and good careers. And hell, some of them even have millions or billions of dollars in their bank accounts. So what exactly do they have to be depressed about? Are they scraping by trying to cover rent? Doesn’t sound like it. Did the “help” forget to fresh-press their morning orange juice? Is that it? Is Bruce constantly bent out of shape because Alfred burns his toast? Come on! Rich people problems can’t be that bad. Excuse me. I need to reheat my instant soup…
Okay. That’s better. Sort of.
So, I’ll go ahead and ask my question again: why so serious? I just don’t get it. We need to lighten things up. They’re comic books! Let’s put the fun in funny and then cram it back into our comic book stories like a turducken of awesome entertainment.
Yeah, this instant soup just isn’t doing it for me. And neither are these super-serious comic books. Frankly, I’d much rather go see Howard the Duck battle Bessie the Hellcow in theaters this month than watch Batman and Superman engage in a rain-soaked glaring contest.
But you tell me: how serious do you like your comic books and adaptations? And how serious is too serious?
And how did my soup get cold again?
About the Author
Zac Atkinson is a working screenwriter. He lives in Los Angeles with his amazing wife and a closet full of plaid shirts. He takes everything very seriously. How serious? Go ask him yourself at www.glorifiedlollipoptree.com or on Twitter @GloryLollyTree.