In the grand course of
world Hollywood history, nothing has plagued audiences more than suddenly feeling ripped from an immersive world because of a situation or line of dialogue that didn't mesh well with audience expectations. However, in 2016, a new movie from 21st Century Fox gave us a movie, and a character, that let us enjoy that we were just watching a movie.
I'm of course talking about Deadpool, the Anti-hero Marvel Movie that wowed many of is in theaters with its beautiful rendition of the wise-cracking, fourth wall-breaking Ryan Reynolds as the titular hero. How is this important to your worldbuilding though?
A Short Chat
Deadpool came out in the midst of a massive Superhero and Cinematic Universe flood of movies. Between the 8 year long Marvel Cinematic Universe, the failed Universal Dark Universe, and the at best questionable DC Extended Universe ramping up at the time, Deadpool
did for Superhero movies what other movies, like parodies or B-Movies, couldn't. It allowed us as an audience, as fans, to stop and finally just watch a movie fully expecting to be de-immersed from it
. And this didnt just happen a few times for comedic effect either. Fox's Deadpool
served as a great satire of the entire genre it took place in, even of its own parent series, X-Men
. It lambasted overly complex plots in exchange for the best love-story since Up
, and took time out of serious and dramatic moments to make fun of itself, and it's creative team.
Why so Serious?
Many worlds struggle with the intensity with which their creators pour their ideas into them. The Dark Knight Returns
flailed under the weight of heavy realism and darkend mood, as did Batman vs. Superman
and the following Justice League
Other creations get hit with claims of not taking themselves seriously enough. Looking at you MCU and your always fun but repetitive bathos
The question then, is what is the balance? Simply put, in a serious work, feel free to create mome ts of calm, humerous reflextion on your own work, either by using your Curtain Character
or showing a funner side of your serious main character
. In more relaxed, comedic, or simpler works, feel free to make fun of the plot or situation by having a character reference outside works or lampshade the ridiculousness of their situation. Alternatively, turn the dial up to 11 when things get too funny and put your characters in momentary but very real feeling situations that change the emotion of the scene.
Never feel afraid to really dissect your own world and show your readers that you understand that you may be stretching their willing suspension of disbelief. By giving them a moment to breathe, to know that, yes, this is ridiculously convoluted, then your readers will be more willing to trust that you are giving them a great piece of informed entertainment instead of mindless Babbleology or kitchen sink fantasy.
When performing an Immersion Break, ots important to keep it short and sweet. A snide comment from the Big Bad, a quick glance at the camera, or even just a little editors note
allow the action to keep moving, but serve as a stop point for the audience to know that its a good time take a breath. Limit breaks to no more than three sentances when writing or 15-20 seconds maximum in film. Anything longer can feel like explaining how your work is fiction and the reader should just understand that and stop taking your writing so seriously.