Why Deadpool could mean big problems for Fox and Marvel

In February 2016, 20th Century Fox finally brought Deadpool to the big screen. After butchering the character in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, fans have been waiting to see a proper version of the mercenary brought to life. Sure, critics and fans love it, and the movie has destroyed at the box office. But that doesn't mean it isn't spelling bigger problems for both Fox and Marvel alike…

It takes place after Apocalypse?

Fox is set to bring the X-Men's most dangerous foe to the big screen with 2016's X-Men: Apocalypse. It's been described as a disaster movie by the filmmakers, and based on the villain's name, it's safe to assume that the entire world is in danger—the world of the 1980s, that is, which is when Apocalypse is set. Deadpool, meanwhile, is set during the modern day and was released before Apocalypse. It's going to pretty hard to believe that the world is in jeopardy when a movie released several months prior showed that same world doing just fine later on. Fox has always had a tough time keeping the X-Men timeline straight, but this is the first time they're attempting to branch out the franchise. Even though First Class didn't really fit with X-Men Origins: Wolverine, it was fine because there was so much distance between the movies' release dates. The only reason why Marvel Studios' movies work is because they fit together cohesively. By releasing Deadpool and Apocalypse at the same time, Fox is trying to jam two pieces from different puzzles together, and all that results in is a mess.

Which X-Men films does it fit with?

The other major problem with Deadpool is that no one knows where it fits into the franchise. The X-Men character Colossus shows up, so it definitely takes place in some X-Men movie universe. Which one? Who knows? It doesn't fit with X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which is fine because we'd prefer that it didn't. It also doesn't fit with Days of Future Past, though, because Colossus is suddenly a different person. So maybe it exists on its own? Then why would any X-Men show up? The filmmakers clearly want it to fit somewhere, but it just…doesn't. Given the fact that Days of Future Past gave Fox a good branching off point and they still screwed up continuity this much isn't a good sign for the future of the franchise. It raises so many questions, like which movies count now? Does The Wolverine still count? Does anyone even care?

Deadpool represents the worst era of comic books

The X-Men debuted back in the '60s, and they've been in publication ever since. They've gone through periods of extreme popularity, but they've also had some rough patches. During the 1990s, the X-Men were at the height of their popularity, but looking back, it was a pretty terrible time for the mutants. Characters wore costumes with hundreds of pouches randomly placed all over their bodies, stories were stretched out for as long as possible just so every X-title could be incorporated into a crossover, no matter how clumsily they fitted. Deadpool debuted during this period, and he was often considered the epitome of how ridiculous things had become. He was a blatant ripoff of DC Comics' Deathstroke, only with bigger guns and more attitude. That's why Deadpool is such a joke of a character, because that's the only way he works. Now, he's the star of his own movie, which is a troubling sign. Are comic book movies about to enter their "extreme" phase? Hopefully not, because the genre barely survived it the last time this happened.

It shows the consequences of the violence

Deadpool is, by far, one of the goriest mainstream comic book movies yet. On the surface, that seems awesome. If this movie was rated PG-13, that would be super lame. The problem is that Deadpool lives in a typical comic book world. This isn't like Watchmen, which takes place in a dark, alternate dimension. The only difference between this movie and Wolverine or The Avengers is that Deadpool doesn't cut away from the violence. The same sort of action takes place in each movie, but Deadpool is slightly more explicit (and, in a way, realistic) about the results. After watching Deadpool, it's going to be hard to watch Captain America and not imagine how his shield probably sliced that Hydra goon's face open. Deadpool is just going to reveal that these people aren't superheroes—they're all violent lunatics.

He sets too absurd a tone to coexist

As we know, Deadpool is a comedic character. Stories starring him are always absurd send-ups of typical comic book cliches. He also constantly breaks the fourth wall, often times making jokes and comments that suggest he knows that he's a comic book character. As a character, this kind of isolates him. Sure, he interacts with other comic book characters all the time, but it usually comes across as a parody of a team-up. Doctor Strange might show up in a Deadpool comic book story, but he acts more like a caricature of Doctor Strange. This might work in comics because characters are constantly being drawn and written by different artists. In movies, however, characters are generally portrayed in a more consistent way. Fox kicked off its new X-Men films in 2016 with a movie that mocks the sort of movies that Fox is going to be making in its new X-Men film universe. That's pretty tough to reconcile.

He can't interact with Marvel characters

With all that being said, Deadpool works best when he's around other superheroes. Unfortunately, 20th Century Fox and the Disney-owned Marvel Studios don't really seem all that interested in cooperating with each other. That means that Deadpool can only interact with the characters Fox owns, which include all the X-Men characters and the Fantastic Four. Since Fox seems to have no current intentions of bringing the Fantastic Four back to the big screen yet another time, that means Deadpool will only ever interact with Marvel's mutants. That's a real shame, because in the comics, Deadpool often teams up with Captain America, with whom he has an odd friendship, or Spider-Man, whom he idolizes. By making this movie, it just feels like Fox is teasing fans. Imagine all of the great team-up movies that will never happen now…

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