Thursday, February 18, 2016

Deadpool Is So Biblical It Hurts

[ This post appears in edited form on PopCultHQ.com ]

"Maybe I need to do something else. I hear Wheaton College is offering a
degree in Spiritual Formation - awesome! Think of all the chicks I'd get!"
Any film that has you laughing out loud in the first ten seconds of runtime – and by laughing I mean howling – has fulfilled its promise of entertainment. Any film that ends with you laughing out loud – and by this time I mean snickering – has schooled you in how to please an audience.

Deadpool is that film.

Deadpool is exuberantly rated R, and while every studio exec in North America will try to copycat its success by bringing us more rated R films now that Ryan Reynold’s love-child has garnered over $150 million on it’s opening weekend, they will have sorrowfully missed the point of why it is a success.

It is Biblical. I mean, Old Testament meets the New. Totally.

Look, I am a volunteer preacher and let me tell you, I can smell a Bible story from a mile away. Born in Memphis, raised in Southern Baptist country, reading the Holy Bible and Marvel Comics at the same time, I am a Bronze Age baby who grew up with Wyle E. Coyote, Bugs Bunny and Vietnam in the rear view mirror. Presidents actually resigned in those days and Elvis was alive – well, until I was twelve. I remember Federal Express being born in Memphis with giant purple airplanes and Billy Graham preaching at the Mid-South Coliseum. To say I am child of holy letters, grand entertainers and wounded soldiers is to understand much of my point of view. I am, by training and ordination, a graphic designer turned minister & Bible teacher, and no one is more surprised than me about it.

So when I tell you that I did not write Deadpool, you can believe me. But you can believe I wished I had. You can also believe I laughed every minute of this wondrously profane romantic adventure that proved, once again, that there is a God, He has a sense of humor, and He created the gorgeous Morena Baccarin so we could believe that Wade Wilson, a disgracefully charming mercenary with perfect comedic timing, would go through Hell to stay with her.

It is hard to tell this to the inexperienced [clueless] geek [fanboy with a large taste for naked women, curse words and guns], but Deadpool is first, and foremost, what it is supposed to be: a romance of heroic – nay, mythic – proportions.

There is no snark left unsaid by this red-suited bon vivant who [minor spoiler] had to go through hades to become an unkillable, irrepressible soldier of fortune with machine-gun delivery – and free two-for-one kills on Tuesday [ladies, take note]. At every single opportunity, Ryan Reynolds serves up some 4th-Wall shattering commentary that made you love him and his character more and more.

Deadpool works because of this central truth we see played out graphically on-screen: for the ones we love we will do anything, up to and including, dying for them.

G. K. Chesterton said that marriage is really a forging between two different types of human beings. Men and women essentially dislike the other’s ways, so they must be forged together as hot as possible so they will stick together when things cool off.

Let me say it this way: the “forging” of Wade Wilson with his girlfriend is really, really hot. And since every single time I see Morena Baccarin [y’know, Dr. Leslie Tompkins from Gotham], I am reminded I am a man, I’ll have to submit that Deadpool is indeed a love story of believable yet epic proportions.

I absolutely agree that Deadpool is not for children to see, nor the whitish souls who seek to remain pure of all erotic imagery. I utterly respect that; I did have to avert my eyes a few times. That has been my choice for several years, since my family gene pool has a real hard time saying “No” to things we like that are honestly bad for us. [Just a friendly piece of advice: if you ever forge your own mini cannon, don’t test fire it at a neighbor’s solid wooden fence.]

Deadpool is a popcorn movie for those who have been run over by the world. It is for anyone who wishes they could have one more day with the person they loved. It is for people who have been viciously scarred and abused have only one reason to go on: a duty of love.

"I don't wanna be your test tube baby!!"
That’s pretty heavy, ain’t it? Deadpool is a heavy movie, when you remove the humor. Like Forest Gump, the themes we are playing with either make you laugh or make you cry. If you are in for a penny, you are in for a pound.

Wade Wilson has had a wretched life and is facing a wretched end. We who have seen what it cost him would not laugh in any other film – but therein is the genius of Deadpool: Wade is the one making all the jokes.

He paid to play, and by God, he’s going to PLAY.

He starts the jokes. He runs the jokes. He is the joke. He refuses to let you sit there and watch him make a total fool of himself without you joining in. He’s been abused, killed, mistreated and betrayed and he’s still moving on; what’s your excuse?

In the end, the theater was not laughing at Deadpool.

The theater was laughing with Deadpool – and with Ryan Reynolds.

That is why it was such a great film to see, especially for us pastors who worship a smart aleck who got up from the dead.

Thank you, Jesus.

Amen.


p.s. BTW. don't think I am casting off holiness. Deadpool has an amazing correlation to Biblical heroes and even by type, Christ Himself. We sanitize the Old Testament for kids and so we lose this viewpoint. Between David getting 200 foreskins of the Philistines as markers to prove his manly worth so he can marry a king's daughter, to superstrong Samson getting out of bed with a prostitute to rip the city gates off of their hinges, to Abram having a wife so hot a king took her into his harem, we do a grave disservice to the ancient stories of heroes who learned to have faith and obey God, but did NOT start that way. Definitely stories not for children.

As I said to my dear mother one night while doing our Bible reading – “Mom, if they ever made the Bible into a film, it would be rated ‘R’!”

Enter Deadpool. Thank you Mr. Reynolds. You went all “Old Testament” on us. ;) 


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