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Movie Poster Ethics: Is This Good Parody, Bad Taste, Blasphemy Or Religious Discrimination?
Jack Marshall -- ProEthics, Ltd. Jack Marshall -- ProEthics, Ltd.
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Alexandria , VA
Thursday, December 20, 2018


Well, it sure isn’t religious discrimination, but that’s what some of The Offended are claiming.

This is a poster for a holiday repackaging of “Deadpool 2,” the tongue-in-cheek sequel to the previous tongue-in-cheek Marvel superhero hit, “Deadpool,” featuring the hideously scarred, invulnerable, foul-mouthed and irreverent superhero who routinely breaks the fourth wall to crack jokes.  The poster is a parody of the “The Second Coming,” a painting by Harry Anderson that is inexplicably popular among Mormons, and often hangs at meetings of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Here’s the poster’s inspiration:


The poster is a clever concept, because the movie is coming back itself, having been released last summer, and the sequel was a “second coming” of Deadpool to begin with. Deadpool is the stand-in for Jesus, though, and a petition on Change.Org not only claims the poster mocks Mormons and their faith, but also that the parody is  “a form of religious discrimination.."

I don’t even think the poster intends to mock Mormons or Christians: it’s just a parody of a really bad, kitschy, painting that makes Jesus look like Elvis and the second coming look like  a Vegas act. Nor is a parody of religious art in a context unrelated to religion unethically disrespectful of the religion involved. Films like “Monty Python’s Life of Brian,”  “Dogma,” and satirical art like this…

or this…

or this…

…are not intended as anything but light-hearted, do not harm the religions or the religious, and should be well-within the margins of acceptable humor for anyone who has a sense of proportion and the ability to let others enjoy life.

Ethics verdict on the Deadpool poster: If you don’t like it, don’t see the movie, and stop trying to squelch artistic expression. It’s fine.

If only the movie was any good…


Pointer: ABA Journal

ProEthics, Ltd.
Alexandria, VA