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Narrative: Comedy and Slapstick, Deadpool (2016)

Figure 1: Deadpool (2016)

This film review will focus on the film Deadpool, the story follows a man known as Wade Winston Wilson, a mercenary who has a particular liking of childish humor and guns. When diagnosed with terminal cancer he is approached by a mysterious organization who claim they can cure his cancer. By a series of events Wade then gain the power of immortality, being able to regenerate himself at will. This however leaves him incredibly scarred and with a lust for vengeance to the people who messed him up he begins his search/genocide to get his revenge.

The film was released in 2016, was directed by Tim Miller and was written by Rhett Reese. The cinematography was done by Ken Seng, music was composed by Tom Holkenburg and edited by Julian Clarke.

The topic for this film will be about comedy and slapstick, now whilst the film doesn't center itself around the original slapstick comedy genre, it is very clear that the influence from earlier generations within slapstick humor influenced some of the comedic decisions in the film. The humor in the film is very violent, but it is a very intelligent violence, despite the fact that 30% of the film is littered with 'Human Anatomical Jokes' as well as mass acts of Douchebaggery this film is very smart in the way it plays it cards.

Figure 2: Wade Wilson and Vanessa Carlysle
What is Comedy and Slapstick?

Comedy is a form of entertainment in the media industry which primarily focuses on appealing to mass humor. Comedy is something that is meant to be understood easily, so that the audience gets as much enjoyment out of the experience as possible. Multiple forms of comedy can include either a joke, a performance or a real life incident. Through the years these have been obviously been elaborated upon and brought into different forms of media.

For example, jokes like "Your Mama is so stupid, she thought Nickelback was a refund!" would be very different from "Why did the chicken cross the road, to get to the other side!", genre's within vary and over the years more and more genres can be created. Different joke genres include of Your Mama Joke, Knock Knock Jokes, self deprecating jokes and offensive jokes, now the part which is the most interesting is that depending on the viewer of the entertainment they may like a different form of humor. Some people like offensive humor whilst others like intelligent humor, however, finding a joke that a large majority of people can relate to is usually a difficult task, because not everyone will find the same subject as relatable as their own experiences.

Slapstick is usually a form of humor which elaborates on situations where there is a conflict to resolve, but due to the nature of the characters and the world this task seems impossibly difficult, a good example of this is 'Laurel and Hardy - The Music Box' (1932) where two men attempt to carry a piano to the top of the hill, however due to a series of unfortunate events getting this piano becomes much more difficult as time goes on. People like Norman Wisdom, Laurel and Hardy, and Mr Bean are all examples of Slapstick Comedy Icons.

Figure 3: Deadpools Dismembered Hand

Deadpool as a Comedy

Deadpools comedy isn't directly slapstick but it draws reference from being in understandable situations but there has been a challenge introduced which immediately makes the set task harder. The humor in Deadpool can be described as grotesque and dark, playing off of morally questionable motive and then adding childish humor creates a mixture of pure stupidity and brilliant hilarity. The childish humor is then reinforced just because of Deadpool character, a seriously dangerous mercenary who has dark motives, but he also acts like hes six.

An example of this humor at work is when colossus uses handcuffs to bring Deadpool into custody Deadpool cuts off his hand to escape. Now in the normal circumstance cutting off someones hand would probably fall into the horror genre, however because this scene is presented so mildly and in a comedic fashion (Leaving his Middle Finger Up) the audience sees it as a comedic situation.

Another situation like this would be when he goes on the killing spree, one person in particular meets his end by the end of a Zamboni Ice Cleaner. Now the much easier in order to kill someone would probably be to just end it quickly, but Deadpool in his childish manor decides it would be a good idea to do it in the slowest and most stupid way possible. This is comedic in a sense that there is an eaiser option but because of sheer stupidity he is taking a much more difficult option, which is not really much more difficult.

Figure 4: Ajax and Deadpool
Is the Humor in Deadpool  Stereotypical?

It isn't specifically slapstick but it still has some of the same formulas as slapstick comedy, the main difference is that the film is aimed at a much more adult audience, rather than trying to please everyone. Deadpools humor can't really be classed as a stereotype because whilst elements of it have been seen in other forms of media before it mixes up that attributes and creates something where the past can be seen influencing it but also brings something new to the table.

The humor if put into specific categories would probably be split into 'Extreme Childish Humor' and 'Extreme Adult Humor'. The rest of the film does have narrative inside but it the content of the film that flushes out its intentions. Deadpool isn't a stereotype but he isn't completely original either, the origins of him as a character are derived from the marvel comics and then due to popular demand more media has been created on him, so in a way he is.

The main thing about the films humor is that despite the content of it, its understandable. There is not a point in the film where either a joke doesn't make sense or the plot isn't very complex, and that is the key the Deadpools success. Deadpool in its own regard is its own stereotype that derives from earlier influence and creates something original and new.

Image Bibliography

Figure 1, Deadpool (2016)

Figure 2, Wade Wilson and Vanessa Carlysle

Figure 3, Deadpools Dismembered Hand

Figure 4, Ajax and Deadpool