A few weeks ago or whenever a new Deadpool trailer was released. The famous merc with a mouth, besides being a tremendous goofball within the work he occupies, has a special power, or perhaps trait: knowledge of the fourth wall. Not sure what this means? Simple: Imagine a movie where a character looks straight at the camera and addresses you, the viewer. For example.
It happens often. Phineas and Ferb talk about how they’re in a cartoon. Newspaper Comic Pearls Before Swine has the writer as a recurring character. Neo, in a strange meta sense, is aware the Matrix is false but isn’t aware he’s in a movie. It’s a common trait in works that are less serious than their brethren that don’t break the fourth wall. It is the ability to be aware one’s universe is fictional, and use this to act in otherwise impossible ways.
Deadpool works with this ability greater than most. Why? My theory is, since breaking the fourth wall is an inherently silly idea – it is rarely used for anything other than humor – a comic book character benefits from it the most. Deadpool assures us of this, thanks to classic moments like: Deadpool talks to the yellow boxes. He mentions the size of the issue you’re reading. In Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Deadpool rips the health bar off the top of the screen and beats the opponent with it in a special move. He yells at Wolverin to “snikt” him. He rips open the issue and shouts at himself in the past. He takes something many others have done to elevate himself above his comic book siblings. Comic books, except for, perhaps, the cool factor, elicit very few emotions. Characters die but you know they’ll either come back to life or appear in the next reboot. The bad guys will make you angry but you know they’ll be defeated in the end. Only humor actually resonates in the comic book, and this is why Deadpool rose in the ranks of heroes so quickly – he knows the comic book is about humor, and for that end he breaks the fourth wall.
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