Why I Think You Shouldn’t See The Deadpool Movie

Deadpool Movie PosterDeadpool

Rated MA15+

Starring Ryan Reynolds

This is not an easy review to write. I enjoyed this movie. A lot. But I can not recommend it. In fact, if you are a Christian, I recommend that you avoid this movie. Especially if you are under 18. Now, I know in Australia you can legally see this movie if you are 15 or over. Younger if you see it with your parents. But let me explain why I think this is a bad idea.

Deadpool is a movie that I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. I fell in love with the character when I first discovered his comic book back in 1998. A picture of Deadpool featured on the invitations to my 21st birthday party. So when a Deadpool movie was announced, starring Ryan Reynolds (one of my favourite actors), I got a little bit excited. Actually, that’s a lie. I got a lot excited. Out of all the movies being released in 2016, this is the one I was most excited for.

And I loved it. But as I began to think critically about the film, I realised that there were some things that troubled me. And I think they are some pretty significant things.

For those of you coming into this review knowing nothing about Deadpool, let me give you a quick rundown. Deadpool is Wade Wilson, a mercenary with connections to the X-Men. The same shady characters who gave Wolverine his metal bones gave Deadpool the ability to heal from any wound and disfigured face to go with it. Now he wears a mask and is tracking down the man who did this to him, with the aim of getting his Ryan Reynolds pretty face back and reuniting with the love of his life – Vanessa. The thing that sets Deadpool apart from other superheroes is that he is essentially a bloodthirsty Bugs Bunny in a spandex costume. He never stops with the jokes and is fully aware that he is a character in a movie, frequently stopping to talk directly to the audience.

Ryan Reynolds is the perfect choice to play Deadpool. He is funny and charming and gets what makes the character work. This movie never takes itself seriously and is constantly making fun the whole superhero movie genre. In that respect, this is the perfect movie for me. It’s like Tumblr put on a costume and started shooting bad guys. I’m down for that.

But here’s the problem – the creators of this movie wanted to make a MA rated movie (R in the USA). Now I’m okay with that in theory. I can respect that they wanted to make a superhero movie for adults. But in doing so, they pushed the envelope as far as it can go. And I think they pushed it too far. I’m not going to go into too much detail. I don’t think that would be helpful. But there is full frontal nudity, including a scene in a strip club that was completely gratuitous. The swearing is constant. Child abuse is treated as the punchline to a joke that goes way too far. There are references to and visual suggestions of sex acts that 20 years ago would have only been found in pornography. And to be honest? I think there should be a limit on how many decapitations there are in a movie that’s not called Highlander.

I’m not sure why it’s this movie that has me troubled and not other questionable movies I’ve seen in the past (there was one movie I saw with my wife that featured some scenes that had me memorising the pattern in the carpet of the cinema floor so I could avoid seeing what was on the screen). Maybe it’s because I enjoyed it so much but my heart is telling me that it was unhelpful for me to have seen and heard those things. Maybe it’s because of the post-modern nature of this film, with the main character engaging directly with us as the viewer, that these things seem immediate and involving rather than distant and detached. Or maybe it’s because this is a Marvel superhero movie – I’ve been reading the Deadpool comic for nearly 20 years and it’s never been this violent or “adult”.

There’s going to be a lot of pressure to go see this movie. The marketing campaign has been the best I’ve ever seen. It’s connected with both Marvel and the X-Men – two of the strongest comic book movie franchises. It seems like everyone is talking about it. But I think you should consider not seeing this film.

I am going to encourage you to do something that I wish I could retroactively do – be counter cultural. Instead of doing the same thing as everyone else in the world, I want to encourage you to take a stand and be different. Choose not to see Deadpool because it will be unhelpful to your godliness.

In Mark 9, Jesus is talking to his disciples. He warns them of the dangers of stumbling in the faith. That is better to cut off your hand than be tempted into sin and fall away from the kingdom. Mark 9:50 says “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again?Have salt among yourselves, and be at peace with each other.” Salt makes food distinctive, makes it stand out. If it looses it’s flavour, it’s worthless. Be distinctive as a Christian. Be the salt. Stand out among the crowd because you follow Jesus. Let the world look at you and notice that you are different. Because if you lose your saltiness, if you look just like everyone else, then you are in danger of of stumbling. One way you can stand out and be different is to chose not to see this film. Make it clear that you don’t think it will be beneficial to your devotion to Jesus. Go against the flow. Be counter cultural.

I know my encouragement is hypocritical. I chose to watch the movie. I enjoyed the movie. But I wonder if I could have been a better servant of Jesus, a better representative of him in this world, if I had decided not to watch it. If you are a Christian, think very hard before choosing to see this movie. If you are under 18, don’t see it yet. If you are an adult, make an adult decision. Be aware that Deadpool will not help you follow Jesus. In fact, it may do more harm than good.

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About Joel A Moroney

Associate Minister at St Luke's Anglican Church, Liverpool (in the Sydney Diocese). A very strange man, but he usually has Pez, so that makes it okay.

25 responses to “Why I Think You Shouldn’t See The Deadpool Movie”

  1. Mark Powell says :

    Well said brother and thanks for posting. The reference to Mark 9 is spot on. I also thought of 1 John 2:15. As Christians we need to stand out as being different from the world and take up our cross in following Jesus which means dying to self. Thx again

  2. Lisa says :

    Do what I say and not as I do :-( disappointing

    • Soos says :

      You can’t review a movie you haven’t seen nor can you reflect on its value. Should he have lied?

    • Dawn says :

      I think he is admitting his mistake and suggesting others not make the same one. That isn’t disappointing, that’s being honest and real. Let he/she who is without sin cast the first stone … it takes courage and humility to admit when you are wrong and that is what he has done. So, I disagree with you and commend the fact that he admitted his mistake and is urging others to choose wisely.

    • Bas says :

      Did you completely miss the part where he acknowledged, how hypocritical he may be sounding?

  3. Seth Spearman says :

    Joel, thanks for the honest review. This weekend I was going to see either Deadpool or IP Man 3. You have helped me decide. Donnie Yen it is.

    Thanks for being real.

    Seth

  4. Rebekah says :

    Thanks for those words of encouragement – to stay on track and not get caught up in the norms of cultural or society just because they’re cool or in trend. I love that you were able to share from a point of being vulnerable and real about a choice that isn’t perhaps one Jesus would have made. Nonetheless, it’s clear that you’ve handed it to God and He uses whatever we give Him. From this you shared and have been an encouragement to others. Thanks!

  5. Chris says :

    Great Review, totally going to go see this movie now! It sounds awesome. Seriously lighten up guys, it’s a movie. No one was harmed making it, and as long as you keep it in prespecrive it won’t make you less of a Christian. I think that the reviewer is just feeling guilty for having enjoyed it. If your really feeling that badly, do some overt good. Stand out by ministering to the poor and hungry. It will do a lot more good than lecturing everybody about a silly movie.

  6. milan.ko says :

    I’ve seen the movie with my Christian friend. He’s a comic book fan, I’m not but I like good movie. We without both of us knowing what to expect so we were quite a lot surprised what we got. We did enjoy many of the clever jokes, not much so can be said about most of the immature ones.

    But there is one thing that seems to somehow elude in all the reviews – there is an element of (real) love, sacrifice and finding real value. The character development isn’t much to talk about but when he says in the beginning that it’s a movie about love, he’s not lying. It is a rather strong element from the movie to help engage talk about God’s love, sacrifice and finding real value in Him. It could work especially well with young people.

  7. Steve says :

    So, Joel…I get it. You are a grown man who likes comic book characters. You have always been a big fan of Deadpool; you were very excited about the upcoming movie. You go to watch it in the theater, and you realize it is not what you expected. It’s ungodly; filthy; inappropriate. Why not just get up and leave right in the middle – or first ten minutes – of the film?

  8. Andy says :

    Don’t see a movie because it might affect our “godliness.”

    If we are so afraid of sin and unable to maintain godly peace while being involved with the mess of the world, then we are poor excuses for Christians.

  9. Fenrir says :

    Andy, you’re the man. I was waiting for someone to say it. I’ve read a few Christian reviews of this movie and they all just seem like paranoid rantings about grown men too weak to adjust to the changing modern world. That being said, it makes Christians look really weak. If Christians have nothing to fear, why do they spend so much time fearing everything they don’t find in their Bibles?

  10. Chris says :

    Agree wth the overall feeling. As a lifelong fan of Marvel I enjoyed it, but also knew what to expect and can’t endorse the movie. Biggest fear was that people would take their kids thinking it is Marvel. The biggest strength of the movie was Deadpool’s fourth wall breaks and humour. Maybe they will release an edited version so youngens can watch it too.

  11. Ben says :

    Lighten the fuck up, it’s a movie. It won’t make you a worse person. Stop it.

  12. Sam says :

    The question i would have is, your thoughts on game of thrones? Whilst i dont watch it myself i know a considerable amount of christians that do andbfrom what ive heard is in it, I’d consider it far worse than the deadpool movie.

  13. Lindsay says :

    Thanks Joel! I appreciate being warned off things that won’t help my godliness. Made me rethink a couple of other TV shows I’m watching that just aren’t helpful, particularly when there are good alternatives around that are more edifying or are at the very least not destructive.

  14. JS (@crfstewarje) says :

    I thought about seeing this movie at one point, but I will certainly not anymore.

  15. JS (@crfstewarje) says :

    I do not think God is pleased with this movie.

  16. Emery Wang says :

    Now I gotta see Deadpool.

  17. Russ says :

    I have so many problems with this it’s difficult to know where to start.
    Adults who read comics might be a good place. Since when did that become ok? Since they started being called graphic novels by their writers and readers in the hope that they (the readers) could avoid being seen as emotionally retarded? The injunction against this practice for which you might have some respect comes from 1 Corinthians 13:11 “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” Comics are childish things Joel. Put away childish things, Joel, or you will think as a child. Is “The Brothers Karamazov” too difficult a pleasure? There are plenty of other books out there for those with an adult reading age.
    If St Paul doesn’t carry enough authority for you then perhaps Alan Moore (“Frequently described as the best graphic novel writer in history”) might cut it (although perhaps not, he has some odd beliefs you might find unsavoury).
    “To my mind, this embracing of what were unambiguously children’s characters at their mid-20th century inception seems to indicate a retreat from the admittedly overwhelming complexities of modern existence,” … “It looks to me very much like a significant section of the public, having given up on attempting to understand the reality they are actually living in, have instead reasoned that they might at least be able to comprehend the sprawling, meaningless, but at-least-still-finite ‘universes’ presented by DC or Marvel Comics. I would also observe that it is, potentially, culturally catastrophic to have the ephemera of a previous century squatting possessively on the cultural stage and refusing to allow this surely unprecedented era to develop a culture of its own, relevant and sufficient to its times.”
    Simon Pegg (who has made a career out of portraying sad sacks with a problem growing up, some of whom have a thing for comics) is reported by The Independent as saying a similar thing. “Obviously,” he said, “I’m very much a self-confessed fan of science-fiction and genre cinema. But part of me looks at society as it is now and thinks we’ve been infantilised by our own taste. We’re essentially all consuming very childish things – comic books, superheroes… Adults are watching this stuff, and taking it seriously! It is a kind of dumbing down because it’s taking our focus away from real-world issues. Films used to be about challenging, emotional journeys. Now we’re really not thinking about anything, other than the fact that the Hulk just had a fight with a robot.”
    My next problem is the presumption that you (Joel) can watch this stuff and not be affected and then take it upon yourself to attempt to persuade others (who might be affected) not to see it, same with your advice not to watch Game of Thrones. This is pure Third-person effect. From Wikipedia –
    “The Third-person effect hypothesis or Third-person perception or Third-person effect predicts that people tend to perceive that mass communicated media messages have a greater effect on others than on themselves, based on personal biases; additionally, because of this perception, people tend to take action to counteract the messages’ influence. The Third-person effect hypothesis often manifests itself through an individual’s overestimation of the effect of a mass communicated message on the generalized other, or an underestimation of the effect of a mass communicated message on themselves.
    These types of perceptions stem from a self-motivated social desirability (not feeling influenced by mass messages promotes self-esteem), a social-distance corollary (choosing to dissociate oneself from the others who may be influenced) and a perceived exposure to a message (others choose to be influenced by persuasive communication).“
    Fred Nile can watch the film “Salo” and think he’s totally uninfluenced by it but rail against the effect it might have on the impressionable minds of other people. You appear to be soaking in pop culture with the same result. In both cases it is a conceit. (For the record, I haven’t seen Salo and have no desire to do so. It sounds depraved and disgusting and I feel sorry for the kids who appeared in it).
    My next problem is with your use of post modern.
    “Yes, it’s Joel A. What does the A stand for? Well, Joel A is a pretty post modern guy, so a better question is, what do you want the A to stand for?” Well I know what I think the A stands for but it would be impolite to write it.
    So you’re a “pretty post modern guy” “(whatever that is meant to mean)”. So you are therefore into cultural and moral relativism? The meanings of these are easily found and are, or would be if you had thought about it a bit more, obvious consequences of post-modernism. Your cultural relativism is apparent but I thought moral relativism was anathema to Christians since it does away with moral absolutes. Joel, you think you’re a thoughtful guy but you’re shallow and trying too hard to be hip. You need to read more Dostoyevsky and less Marvel.

  18. Aldo Bartylla says :

    This means that, unless who you are or what you have done directly affects another person or their life, they are unlikely to spend much time thinking about you at all.

  19. phillip says :

    You say you are a fan of the comic books, but a large portion of Deadpool comics contain just as many things you consider ungodly as things you consider ungodly in the movie. For instance (in the comics) a scene where Vanessa sweet talks one of her “clients” while in her head insults him while he buttons his pants up after the deed…. Deadpool became the anti-hero to push the boundaries of normal comics and joke and make light of lude and crazy things. Maybe you should review the Deadpool comics compared to other Marvel comics and how ungodly the comics are too. I just find it kind of funny that you went to see Deadpool in theaters and expected anything but over the top lude. You have the right to feel the way you do about the movie, but how can you justify your love for the comics too?

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