When he’s not saving the world or slamming chimichangas, we figure Deadpool must have a lot of time for binge watching. Now, most viewers will split their sides laughing at the Merc with the Mouth’s rapid-fire one-liners, but to really appreciate some of his deeper cuts you might want to brush up on some cinematic classics.
(Beware: some light spoilers for Deadpool and Yentl ahead.)
Deadpool star and producer Ryan Reynolds certainly can take a joke. One film on the receiving end of Deadpool’s sharp tongue is Reynolds’ famous flop Green Lantern. In the first Deadpool, there’s a passing glance at a Green Lantern wallet, and later Deadpool says “Please don’t make the super suit green … or animated” in reference to Lantern’s CGI outfit. Green Lantern gets an even more violent thrashing in Deadpool 2.
That’s not the only prior Reynolds role in Deadpool’s sights. The universally reviled first incarnation of Deadpool from this film (also played by Reynolds) gets a couple shoutouts in the series. There are a few references to this film’s character design in the first Deadpool film (“Don’t make us sew your mouth shut;” “My lips are sealed”), but Deadpool throws shade at the titular Wolverine as well.
Because they’re set in the same cinematic universe, you’d expect some reference to Marvel’s mutants, but leave it to Deadpool to get even more meta. In Deadpool, the Merc with a Mouth asks which of the two Professor Xaviers Colossus is taking him to, “McAvoy or Stewart?”
Deadpool’s not afraid to take aim at competing superhero franchises either. He refers to Domino as “black Black Widow” in Deadpool 2 and even tries the same trigger phrase Black Widow uses to calm the Hulk in an effort to subdue his own unstoppable foe. Also, after briefly losing his powers, he claims to be just a bow and arrow away from becoming Hawkeye, famously the least powerful Avenger.
Deadpool frenemy Cable has long been a target of Deadpool’s sass in the comic books, but Deadpool 2 is the first time the two interact on the big screen. Deadpool compares Cable’s cybernetic arm to the Winter Soldier’s own bionic biceps and even calls Cable “Thanos” (both are portrayed by actor Josh Brolin).
The absurd oeuvre of the Deadpool films is that they’re the antithesis of the serious, gritty DC Extended Universe, so it’s not a surprise Deadpool has a few zingers aimed their way. Upon meeting the perpetually-scowling Cable, Wade remarks “You’re so dark, you sure you’re not from the DC Universe?” An even sicker burn is when he tells Vanessa that he discovered the caped badass he was fighting “momma’s named Martha, too.”
In Deadpool 2, DP’s driver Dopinder has a taste for blood, and he wants more. He’s quick to point out their relationship is like Lestat and Claudia in this film based on the novel by Anne Rice.
John Cusack holding a boombox over his head as Peter Gabriel plays is an iconic film moment in its own right, but leave it to Deadpool to put not one but two twisted takes on it. In the first Deadpool film, he tells Vanessa he’d see her in another life, holding a boombox over his head a la Lloyd Dobler (except he’d be playing Wham!). Then, in Deadpool 2, he substitutes the boombox for a retro stereo app on a smartphone playing “In Your Eyes.”
Of all of Deadpool’s references, this one is our favorite. Not only is it a nod to Deadpool 2 co-star Brolin’s stepmother, Barbra Streisand, but it’s a perfectly bizarre thing for Deadpool to be very, very into. The film is referenced multiple times, most notably to (rightfully) assert that “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” from Frozen is a ripoff of “Papa Can You Hear Me?”
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