Christian Movie Interviews, News and Reviews

4 Reasons the Deadpool Antihero Craze Should Concern Christians

  • Michael Foust ChristianHeadlines.com Contributor
4 Reasons the <i>Deadpool</i> Antihero Craze Should Concern Christians
Editor’s note: This story contains spoilers for the Deadpool films.

The 2016 hit movie Deadpool was full of low-brow humor and shocking R-rated actions that redefined the modern antihero, but one particular scene stuck out.

Deadpool was on the hunt for the villain who caused his disfiguration, when he bumped into the superhero Colossus. Deadpool was wanting revenge, but Colossus appealed to his better angels.

“You're better than this. Join us. Use your powers for good. Be a superhero!” he said.

Deadpool, though, was having none of it.

“Listen, the day I decide to become a crime-fighting [explicative]-swizzler … I'll send your shiny happy [expletive] a friend request,” he said. “But until then, I'm gonna do what I came here to do.”

Don’t hold your breath for a redemptive moment, because it’s not coming. When Deadpool finally does catch the bad guy – and Colossus urges him to do the right thing and spare the man’s life – Deadpool shoots and kills the villain.

“If wearing superhero tights means sparing psychopaths, then maybe I wasn't meant to wear them.” Deadpool responds. “Not everyone monitors a hall like you."

We’ve always had antiheros on the big screen – that is, morally ambiguous protagonists who meander between right and wrong. Han Solo (Star Wars), Felonius Gru (Despicable Me) and the characters from Suicide Squad come to mind. But these and most other antiheroes had redemptive moments. They saw the light. They did the right thing.

But Deadpool (played by Ryan Reynolds) does just the opposite. He has the wrong motive, does the wrong thing, and insults everyone along the way. He’s the worst type of antihero. He makes fun of the good guys.

Photo courtesy: Facebook/Deadpool

So what about 'Deadpool 2'?

So what about 'Deadpool 2'?

Deadpool 2 hits theaters this weekend, two years after the first Deadpool became the second-highest grossing R-rated movie (domestically) of all time. It’s part of the Marvel chain – you know, the franchise that brought us heroic characters like Spider-Man, Captain America and Black Panther. Deadpool/Wade Wilson, though, is no hero.

The saga has been praised by critics and fans alike for its humor and original storyline, yet as a Christian and as a parent of four small children, I must view the plot critically.

I need to be ready to answer my children when they ask: “Why can’t we watch Deadpool? And why can’t we buy the Deadpool toys in the aisle at Walgreens?” It’s not sufficient to answer, “Because it’s rated R.”  

Contrary to conventional wisdom, no movie is “just a movie.” Every film communicates a message. Every movie has a worldview. As Christians, we are called to view everything through a biblical lens, even if the rest of the world is consuming it without a thought.

With that in mind, here are four reasons the Deadpool saga – and other antihero movies like it – should concern Christians, especially parents:

Photo courtesy: Facebook/Deadpool

1. It gives us a bad role model.

1. It gives us a bad role model.

Marvel’s other superheroes have had flaws – Tony Stark’s womanizing, for instance – but those failings were balanced by positive motives and actions. Those superheroes strived to do good. In the Deadpool saga, we have a character who doesn’t want to be a superhero and who doesn’t care what other people think – as long as everyone’s laughing. The first film begins with him failing to pay a taxi driver, then shows him cracking jokes while killing villains, and ends with him shooting someone in the head. And since he’s the hilarious protagonist, we’re apparently supposed to cheer. There’s also the not-so-small R-rated content problems. Speaking of that …

Photo courtesy: ©Thinkstock/Jacob Ammentrop Lund

2. It desensitizes us.

2. It desensitizes us.

The first Deadpool film had about 70 f-bombs. Deadpool 2 has around 90. The first film showed Deadpool sawing off his wrist. The second film shows him having his torso ripped in half, complete with organs. See a trend? Perhaps in Deadpool 3 we’ll witness a colonoscopy. The only thing Deadpool enjoys more than cursing is telling sex jokes. If you remove the bad stuff, you’re left with a 10-minute film.

Movies like Deadpool spark a “top-that” competition, whereby each subsequent film has even more shocking content. Moviegoers are the frog in the proverbial boiling pot, and they’re not jumping out.

Photo courtesy: ©Thinkstock/Ralph Renz

3. It gives us a character with wrong motives.

3. It gives us a character with wrong motives.

Spider-Man and Iron Man killed their share of bad guys, but it was done with the right motive – justice. That’s not the case with Deadpool. In the first Deadpool film, our antihero is fighting for “revenge” – his word, not mine – and in Deadpool 2 he tells us that “you have to fight dirty.” There’s an unwritten rule among superheroes: You’ve been given a gift, so use it to serve others. But Deadpool ridicules decency. He despises virtue. And if anything is “goody two shoes,” he hates it. Well, at least we don’t have Deadpool toys. Oh, wait …      

Photo courtesy: Facebook/Deadpool

4. It confuses children.

4. It confuses children.

Imagine, for a moment, the world’s most popular organic food company suddenly selling Twinkies and Crisco. Crazy, huh? But that’s what has happened to Marvel, which marketed PG-13 superhero films to children, tweens and teens before it and 20th Century Fox decided to toss us an R-rated trash-fest. Perhaps that can explain why my then-5-year-old son brought home a Deadpool squirt bottle one day. It’s a superhero squirt bottle dad – complete with the Marvel label! My friend and fellow entertainment reporter DeWayne Hamby said he appreciated how Reynolds and Marvel “insisted the originalDeadpool was not a kid’s movie, whether out of moral obligation or corporate mandate.”

“Yet I saw Deadpool merchandise in the toy section at Target,” he said.

No wonder kids are confused. Inches away from Captain American toys at the local store is Deadpool – the foul-mouthed, perverted antihero you’d never want your daughter to date.

“What’s wrong with watching Deadpool?” my oldest son once asked.

He now knows.

Michael Foust is the husband of an amazing wife named Julie and the father of four small children. Visit his blog, MichaelFoust.com.

Photo courtesy: Facebook/Deadpool

Publication date: May 18, 2018





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