There were many reactions when it was announced that Shawn Levy was going to tackle the third entry of Ryan Reynolds‘ Deadpool series. In a way, it wasn’t too much of a surprise after the director and actor tackled Free Guy and The Adam Project back-to-back. He already proved his ability to tackle pop culture references and Reynold‘s usual brand of humor. Yet, there was one key ingredient that he just proved with his work on the Stranger Things Season 4 episode “Dear Billy.” He knows how to direct powerful emotional moments.
It may sound strange, but while Deadpool#s quips and fourth-wall-breaking humor were generally his trademarks, the once 20th Century Fox franchise added one element that many overlook from his comic roots. Wade Wilson is a very tragic character that masks everything that has happened to him with the insanity that destroyed his view of his entire existence. The first two Deadpool films highlighted just how important that “human” element was when they explored his relationship with Morean Baccarin‘s Vanessa.
The romance in the first film had its high points, but it was in the final moments where it truly came together in 2018’s Deadpool 2. The sequence when he finally gets to meet her again after her tragic death earlier in the film with an acoustic rendition of a-ha’s Take on Me hits like a dump truck of emotions. Even as he throws outlines, there’s something sincere and sweet that you wouldn’t expect from a comedy like this.
With Levy taking on the third entry, there was some worry that the focus would mainly remain on the comedy aspects. Yet, his work on “Dear Billy” confirmed, at least for me, that the director is definitely one that can bring that emotional punch. The emotional arc of Sadie Sink‘s May Mayfield having to struggle with what may be her untimely death at the hands of Vecna was one of the season’s strongest.
The emotional arc is rounded out by Max’s escape from the hands of Vecna through her favorite song, Kate Bush‘s Running Up That Hill which punctuated the sequence at its emotional arc. Besides the bonus side effect of the episode leading to the song once again hitting the Billboard Hot 100, it highlights that he is just as capable of tackling the humor, action, and heart that makes any Deadpool story stand out as more than just a fourth-wall-breaking comedy.
Reynolds has proven he can pull off both, and it would be a shame not to continue his arc built around his connection with Vanessa. If they stick with her still being dead, there is an iconic story element that could be explored. The ending has implied he went back in time to save her life, and there’s a chance that this may have led to some shenanigans far beyond his own control; at least that he’d care to consider it. No matter how much the merc with a mouth throws out, as long as that emotional throughline remains, we’re in for what could become Marvel Studios’ funniest and most emotional entry yet.
Source: USA Today