Monday, January 25, 2016

The Merc with the Mouth

In just a few short days 20th Century Fox will bring yet another Marvel Comics character to the big screen. Marvel’s merc with the mouth, Deadpool, promises to be a faithful interpretation of the character as evidenced by Fox’s tongue-in-cheek marketing campaign. In light of all the hype surrounding Deadpool’s debut, I’m about to share an unpopular opinion—I don’t like Deadpool (and you probably shouldn’t either).

Don’t get me wrong. Deadpool is an entertaining, even compelling character. But unlike other colorful comic-book characters, Deadpool fails epically as a hero or role model. As revealed by the teaser trailers, Deadpool is a foul-mouthed mercenary who more than earns the R-rating attached to his movie. Deadpool combines Spider-man’s wise-cracking wit with the Joker’s sinister sense of humor, making him an amusing anti-hero. Unlike other comedic criminals (such as the Joker or the Riddler) though, writers rarely paint Deadpool as a genuine villain; rather, he’s often the “hero” of his own stories despite his moral depravity. He’s a killer without much of a conscience, yet he’s a fan favorite even among kids. And this is what bothers me most about him.

At nearly every comic-con I attend, I see kids (boys and girls alike) cosplaying as Deadpool. Undiscerning parents dress their three-year-olds up as an amoral murder because they think he’s funny, and many of these kids see Deadpool as their favorite “superhero.”  Deadpool is not a hero. He’s not a role model. He’s not someone to look up to or imitate. The Bible cautions us, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter” (Isaiah 5:20 NIV).

While I believe there is hope for sinners of all stripes (even Deadpool), I think it’s important—especially for kids—to emulate and exalt genuine heroes; heroes who stand up for what is right and inspire us not just to greatness, but also to goodness.