'Deadpool': What did 20th Century Fox learn from 'Guardians of the Galaxy'?

The movie 'Deadpool' arrives on Feb. 12. Like some other recent comic book movies, including 'Guardians' and 'Ant-Man,' 'Deadpool' draws on humor. Is this a formula for success? 

Joe Lederer/Twentieth Century Fox/AP
'Deadpool' stars Ryan Reynolds.

Merc with the Mouth is almost here. 

The new superhero movie “Deadpool,” which centers on the famously talkative and snarky superhero of the same name, stars Ryan Reynolds as the title character and opens on Feb. 12. The movie co-stars Morena Baccarin and Ed Skrein.

In the comic books in which he appears, Deadpool, also known as Wade Wilson, is known for his chattiness and his breaking of the fourth wall, often addressing the comic book reader directly. His powers include the ability to heal and he is trained in fighting.

Judging from the trailers that have been released, it seems that the tone of “Deadpool” is quite different from, say, the often serious “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” which was released by Marvel Studios this past May. (Deadpool appears in Marvel comic books but the film is being released by 20th Century Fox.) 

Recent superhero movies, such as the “Dark Knight” trilogy that was directed by Christopher Nolan, were well, dark, and often raised serious moral questions. 

The movies released by the incredibly successful Marvel Studios have varied in timbre. More films that could almost be classified as comedies have come from Marvel in recent years, with, for example, the 2014 movie “Guardians of the Galaxy” and last year’s “Ant-Man” both including lots of humor (both starred actors known for their comedy, with “Guardians” actor Chris Pratt having appeared on the sitcom “Parks and Recreation” and “Ant-Man” star Paul Rudd appearing in such movies as “Anchorman 2” and “This Is the End.” 

While “Ant-Man” was a lower-grossing movie for Marvel (though still a box office success), this strategy paid off well in particular with “Guardians,” with the space-set movie becoming one of the highest-grossing movies of 2014. 

As, in particular, Warner Bros.’ serious-looking “Batman v Superman” comes to theaters about a month later, “Deadpool” star Ryan Reynolds has spoken about how different the movie is from gloomy comic book films.

“We have all these movies coming along and they're all very, very serious and ... very gritty and dark," Reynolds said in an interview with Reuters. "Deadpool is kind of the opposite of that. He takes nothing seriously and I think that's fun. It's a nice, refreshing change of pace.” 

Some industry watchers say this difference, if embraced enough, could be key to the success of the movie. 

“That fourth-wall-breaking is what can set Deadpool apart,” International Business Times writer Ben Skipper wrote. “…Make Deadpool outright hysterical and you're on to the sure-fire winner.”

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