Deadpool is an anthropomorphic meme.
This is clear now, thanks to the first trailer for Deadpool 2, which devotes the vast majority of its two minute runtime to making an extended Bob Ross joke.
Good old Bob has been around in the public consciousness for a long time, but it’s only in recent years that he’s gained widespread cultural appreciation thanks to internet memes. Kids who would never have heard of The Joy of Painting under normal circumstances have a good understanding of Bob Ross simply because of his exposure on the internet.
Thus, Deadpool 2 appears set to mine this resource of cheap laughs for a pop-culture reference that is strangely dated, for the sake of enjoying a brief bubble of relevance that’s going to burst fairly quickly.
Internet memes have a terribly short shelf life. Part of the fun of the these quick burst of shared entertainment is that they’re completely disposable, tossed aside when a newer, fresher idea comes along.
For Deadpool 2 to be reaching for a meme as its focal joke for this trailer, it suggests an impermanence to the entire movie’s comedy. Perhaps that’s fitting – it certainly suits the destructive, detached, sarcastic attitude of the movie’s main character.
Where this becomes a problem is in the film’s longevity. Much like memes, comedy movies generally tend to age poorly regardless of subject matter, thanks to the speed with which humor evolves. Try watching a comedy film from a decade ago, and you’re going to struggle to find it all that entertaining compared with more modern fare.
Deadpool 2 is a double-whammy of memes and superhero jokes that are only going to be relevant for as long as this genre continues to exist in its current form. As Marvel and the main X-Men movies are both embracing space adventure as the new direction of superhero films, it’s easy to see how Deadpool is going to look very dated and irrelevant in a few more years.
This won’t affect the film’s initial sales figures, so there’s no reason for Fox to try and keep Deadpool 2 alive as a Ghostbusters or Airplane style perennial classic comedy movie. The studio stands to loose very little if it turns out that nobody cares about Deadpool 2 in the futuristic year of 2020.
Just don’t be too surprised if, when you come to rewatch this film a little way down the line, you don’t find it particularly appealing. Some movies are best enjoyed in the movie theater as close to opening night as possible, and this is probably one of them.