Deadpool’s success would not have been possible in a world where Marvel and Fox hadn’t spammed the world with countless superhero movies and Warner Brothers slowly trying to get in on the act. Yes, Deadpool works as a stand-alone and can be enjoyed even if you’ve never seen another superhero movie or even know the genre, but like always, context matters.
And the context is that Deadpool came out at just the right moment when people where starting to talk about the glut of superhero movies, of getting tired and when even second-rate garbage like Civil War was hyped to high heaven and praised like the coming of another great Marvel Movie Universe installment, when it was even worse than Batman vs Superman.
Deadpool’s plot isn’t complex, it’s an origin story (rather different than the comic origin) mixed with a minuscule romance focus and later on a save-the-princess plot. The only thing it has going for it is a self-awareness about being a movie, and a superhero one at that, and then taking a piss on the genre and its characters.
It’s not even a great action-comedy, most of its moving parts are references and it has none of the more subtle insight into people that make other comedies work so well. The villain is cardboard, almost all of the characters are, but the baseline is funny enough, especially Reynolds himself. And since it came out at just the right time, it packs more punch than it would a few years earlier or later.