Deadpool and Moral Perversion

We watch a movie or read a book because we think it is worth engaging with. While “Transformers 4: Age of Extinction” may have its merits, I don’t think it would demonstrate a great deal of worth to me, so I don’t watch it. As a result, art reflects what we find to be valuable. Art also changes our understanding of what has value. Consciously or unconsciously, we are changed by our art.
Louie, I think this is the beginning of a horrible habit.

The way some people will be shaped by certain art will be different, and it is important to be cautious about critiquing art too broadly. It is unwise for a compulsive smoker to watch “Casablanca,” and it is unwise for a particularly violent person to watch “Gladiator,” but that doesn’t make these films particularly evil, it makes them unwise viewing material for some people.

If films can contain content wicked enough to exclude some audiences, can there be films that have content wicked enough to exclude all audiences? Can we ever say with confidence that “No one should see that movie”?

Operating under the assumption that we can make this claim, I will declare (with China, apparently) that no one should see 20th Century Fox’s “Deadpool.”

This film was made totally independent from corporate interests, just like how Suburbans are the most reliable and efficient Sports Utility Vehicles on the market that will keep you independent from automotive trouble on the road.

This film, based off of the beloved comic book mercenary Deadpool, has been given an extensive marketing campaign, all trying to reassure comic book fans that this Deadpool will be the character they know from Marvel comics, not the confusedly mute and stoic character in “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”

All of my observations have been based off of the handful of trailers that have come out for this film. The fact that the trailers themselves have thoroughly condemned the film to my moral sensibility shows that I am either a fuddy-duddy (possible) or the film is deeply wicked.

Deadpool is a character based on perversion and irreverence, a comic hero in a tragic setting. In the trailers alone the character strips away meaning and value from important things, leaving only cynical humor and gore.

Don’t worry, at least he can do cool tricks.

Nearly every trailer for this film is a comedy trailer. Comedic trailers have patterns, beats and pauses, that demonstrate when the content is telling a joke. When this trailer pauses, once even with the stereotypical comedic record scratch, it is during scenes of brutal violence. We are to laugh as a bullet crashes through several brains, spilling a bloody mess. We are to laugh when Deadpool hoists up a human being with his two swords, crowing that he has turned him into “a f***ing kabob.” Violence is a joke to Deadpool, but we are not asked to be disgusted at him, we are asked to laugh with him as he dances in scenes strewn with carnage of his own making, laughing at human dignity, laughing at the value of life.  

After graphic scenes of death, Deadpool declares that he is “so turned on right now” and “definitely touching myself tonight,” as if violent disposal of human life is a matter of sexual titillation.

Deadpool also perverts sexuality, sexualizing nearly everything with juvenile efficiency. The trailers, complete with strippers, feature the protagonist making every possible reference to sex. As he stuffs an enemy’s mouth, he taunts “I never say this, but don’t swallow,” after a female villain punches someone he quips “I so pity the dude who pressures her into prom sex.” Sexuality is a joke, and the only women not strippers or his love interest seem to be immediately sexualized.

Freud would have a lot of uncomfortable things to say about this movie.

This film is set in the context of the most generic plot imaginable. “When your worst enemy is after your best girl” seems to be the extent of this film’s conflict. This basic plot is a vehicle to portray the hero’s perversion. The film seems to act out a Freudian adolescent daydream where the hero is invincible, dominates everyone, and rejoices in objectification and lechery.

But why have I bothered to write this article? Obviously this film is trashy, it bills itself as such. But humans have been making horrible art forever, and we have to expect evil at the box office.

I am writing this article because I have seen many of my friends, Christians even, expressing overwhelming excitement at this film. Given that the film is unabashedly advertising itself as perverse (one advertisement consists of Deadpool cursing and making sexually charged comments to children), I cannot reason why anyone should watch, much less be excited for, “Deadpool.” What virtue or value can come out of this film?

Some may say the film has merit as an exploration of a wicked character, but Deadpool is not a character as much as a combination of internal desires, a bundle of lusts that is clearly made to be rejoiced in.

Some may answer that the film will be a fun action film purely seen for base enjoyment. But when a film intentionally uses graphic and wicked means to portray “fun,” the very act of watching the film is demeaning.

I may be missing something. Perhaps my frustration at what I have seen has blinded me to real merit and value, and I would welcome correction in the comments, but I can see no reason or acceptable excuse for watching the bloody, carnal circus “Deadpool.”

Maybe the totally interesting and original jokes about chimichangas justify the horrific violence and sexual objectification.

9 thoughts on “Deadpool and Moral Perversion

  1. Alowdowndirty Shane January 20, 2016 / 7:37 PM

    Yeah, I can’t see a reason for someone with a stick, that large, in their ass, to watch it either. You’ve obviously never read the comics. If you had, even once, you wouldn’t question the plot, or this particular character’s motivation. Just rent Left Behind again.

    • Luke Brake January 20, 2016 / 7:52 PM

      Thanks for the reply! What about the comics would make this worthwhile? I understand he is motivated through pain, insanity, and madness, but what gives meaning or value to reveling in horrific violence and sexual objectification?

      • Luke Brake Fuckboy January 20, 2016 / 11:48 PM

        If your trying to find deep meaning and value, I don’t think Deadpool, or the entire action movie genre is for you. Citing this stuff as “evil”. Please man, don’t be so over-dramatic.

        • Luke Brake January 21, 2016 / 12:07 AM

          Firstly wow! What a coincidence with the username! That’s uncanny!

          Secondly, I understand what you are saying. Not every movie needs to be significantly impactful on my soul, but that’s not my complaint about Deadpool.

          My complaint is that the film is rejoicing in perversion. It is glorifying evil things.

          You said it was overdramatic to cite “this stuff” as evil. The “stuff” we are talking about is ghastly violence, dehumanizing cruelties, and disgusting sexual objectification through either juvenile sex jokes (that sound an awful lot like a prepubescent teen laughing that he has seen breasts), or the leering the camera does on the nude or near nude bodies of the women they have hired.

          I don’t think it is overdramatic to call objectification and excessive violence evil. Do you disagree?

          I honestly think the question is now, why are you so willing to defend this horrific content? What does this film give you that justifies the gruesome display of irreverence?

          Side note: action movies communicate goodness through story all the time. Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy is an obvious example, but there are many more.

          Again, I do appreciate the comment, and I look forward to your reply!

  2. David Craft (@Maktesh) January 21, 2016 / 2:04 AM

    Thanks for writing this piece, Luke.

    There was a time when I would have strongly agreed with your argument, and I would still find much personally applicable merit within. I have not seen the movie, but I do intend to. I am not, however, boasting of this on social media or following the various websites, pages, etc.

    For added clarification, I think your friends who are openly providing their endorsement and sharing their excitement for this film are beyond foolish. If they truly take their faith as followers of Yeshua seriously, then they should be aware that the principles of 1 Corinthians are to be applied here. This is decidedly a film which is not for everyone; even most, I would venture to say. As such, I would not in any way encourage others to see it.

    From my understanding, though, this movie can (potentially) be valuable to watch. It really depends on how much they stay true to the source material. What we are doing here, as voyeurs, is watching what happens when a good (and skillfully powerful) man reaches a point of complete brokenness. While on a surface level it seems to be pandering to the glorification of violence, I think there’s something deeper here. When we look at a character such as Deadpool, I think we can catch a glimpse of something inside of ourselves. Which this may be a result of the Fall, I’m not entirely sure that it’s purely sin.

    You see, we ourselves are broken and require something tangible for which to live. I think what we see in Deadpool is not a “depiction of the human condition,” but the innate desire we have to live for something, and honestly, what happens when that no longer exists. Could this concept be conveyed without an R-rated gore fest? Absolutely, but not as effectively. I think that Deadpool is someone that we connect with, because we understand him. We’ve all been at points where we simply do not care anymore and feel as though all we can laugh at a funeral. This is just the personification of those extremities.

    At the end of the day, it’s probably not going to be a movie that sanctifies us. I do, however, think it may be a movie which points us towards understanding our need thereof, odd as that may be.

    Again, a good piece, and thanks for writing.

    • Luke Brake January 21, 2016 / 10:03 AM

      Thank you for your thoughtful response! I really appreciate your perspective here.

      I think you are absolutely right that the character Deadpool could be used in a meaningful manner. I am no comic book expect, but in my research I did for this article I found that among the many authors who have used Deadpool, several times he has been used in a manner that is interesting and compelling.

      If this is going to happen in the new film, however, they are entirely hiding it in their promotional material, which promises a character we can project our own rage and desire onto, rather than a character who is to be pitied because of his own destruction and perversion.

  3. Andy January 21, 2016 / 2:51 PM

    The problem with this movie and the acceptance that it will bring to the culture is evidence that our society is ok with the demoralization of our conscience. It’s not about Christian or no. (There was a time when even non-Christians had a conscience in regards to the type of content in this film), but it’s all about the tolerance of violence and sexual perversion that our world is beginning to embrace. Very very sad. I agree Luke, sadly I agree.

  4. NM February 15, 2016 / 11:04 AM

    I left the movie theater last night aghast at the content of the movie and the reaction from the crowd laughing and cheering at the movie. I felt like I was camped out in the middle of Sodom and Gomorrah. I said out loud just enough for a few to hear me. I said what is wrong with you people? In regards to the clown that made the remark about a stick up your ass, well all I can say is that it’s a spiritual thing. If you don’t have the spirit of Christ with you than you wouldn’t get it. I just decided to see the movie because it received a user rating of 8.7 out of 10. I found it highly offensive and disturbing. The cutting off of his own hand in the movie was a nice subliminal of urging people to commit suicide. Most people’s brains don’t slow down like mine when I’m watching for the lulling of the populous through movies and TV, I like to keep my finger on the pulse of where are society is heading. It doesn’t look good. Good luck finding yourself Shane you seem really lost. Pray up for yourself son, you yourself could be running out of time. Listening to a couple interviews of real exorcist may give you something to start with Shane. Good job Brake, I’m glad to see you felt the need to comment on this.

  5. Derek Garde February 15, 2016 / 11:34 PM

    Thanks for writing this and putting yourself out there. I’m glad there’s men like you writing about things that matter and taking a stand to live a better story. You have a lot of wisdom to see beyond the action and the gore and get to the heart of the matter, realizing what we put into our minds will eventually play out in one form or another.

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