Now that most of us have seen Deadpool 2, and many of us have discussed every plot point to death, it’s about time I give my 2 cents on some of the most discussed aspects of the film. As should be clear from the title, this post contains MAJOR SPOILERS for the movie. Get ready, we’re going to get nerdy.
- Deadpool redeems X-Men characters:
This isn’t new. The first Deadpool movie redeemed Deadpool himself from what was done to him in 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine. It also redeemed Colossus from his rather bland role in X2 and in X-Men: The Last Stand, this:Deadpool 2 continues in that proud tradition by pulling the Juggernaut out of the mess left behind in the wake of “I’m the Juggernaut, bitch!” from X-Men: The Last Stand, and makes him a seriously formidable presence. What many might not have noticed is the fact that Yukio, the character introduced to us as Negasonic Teenage Warhead’s girlfriend here, is the same character we saw in 2013’s unfortunate The Wolverine. Not that she was awful in that movie (though at least in certain scenes she was), but Shioli Kutsuna, even with her limited screentime, lights up the screen with her energy, and I would love to see more of her in the future.
What other characters should Deadpool 3 redeem from the original X-Men timeline? I for one would like to see Gambit done better. Where’s my Channing Tatum movie Fox?
- Speaking of Deadpool 3, what next?
It’s a foregone conclusion by now that an X-Force movie will happen before Deadpool 3. That still leaves the question, do we even want a Deadpool 3? Ryan Reynolds recently said that he’d like Deadpool 3 to be scaled down, with a smaller budget and smaller stakes. If they go that route, I would like to see it.Now the primary reason the excitement is greater around X-Force right now is that new characters Cable and the scene stealing Domino both left fans (including me) wanting more of them. In an X-Force movie, Wade wouldn’t necessarily need a character arc and could mostly be the comic relief, while the story focuses on Cable, Domino and their relationship. And, of course, Dopinder. Can’t forget Dopinder. If that seems like too small an ensemble, it might be fun to see Negasonic Teenage Warhead and Yukio leave the X-Men to join the darker and more brutal team X-Force. This is especially important because as much praise was heaped on Deadpool 2 for showing an openly lesbian characters (Sorry Marvel, Valkyrie doesn’t count) in a superhero movie, they weren’t really a part of the story in any significant way, which is something X-Force could change.
- Homage? Ripoff? Coincidence?
Deadpool 2’s many similarities to other movies have not gone unnoticed, but the response has ranged from praise to indifference to criticism.
Two of these connections were referenced by the movie itself, which does to a certain extent shield them from criticism. One is the obvious Terminator 2: Judgement Day connection, with Cable coming back in time to kill a kid, and Deadpool filling in Arnold Schwarzenneger’s iconic shoes as the kid’s protector. (Did anyone else find it odd when Deadpool called Cable John Connor? Just doesn’t fit!)The other is a much more subtle connection to Logan, with Deadpool, like Wolverine, losing everything, and holding on to his humanity through a child. This was referenced by the movie in multiple ways, the most poignant of them being the music from Logan’s death scene being played here. The thematic connection was explored in more depth by Richard Newby for The Hollywood Reporter, as well as this video by the YouTube channel Wisecrack.
The similarity that I cannot defend is with X-Men: Days of Future Past. Once we find out why Cable has come back in time, the connection isn’t easy to ignore. Russell is basically Raven, and wants to murder a bigot who tortures mutants. Cable is Magneto, and believes that the only way to stop this from happening is to kill Russell. Deadpool, like Charles Xavier, has hope. If only they had made that reference themselves!
- Does the time travel in Deadpool 2 make sense?
That’s a question that can be answered in one word: NO. Which is particularly disappointing because the same franchise gave us X-Men: Days of Future Past, which is one of the few movies in recent years that made mostly good use of this science fiction concept.
So where did Deadpool 2 go wrong? Not immediately at least. But when you don’t clearly define your set of rules, it’s not easy to be consistent. It all began when Cable came back in time to save his family (I must mention, I completely agree with Wade on this, Cable should’ve gone further back and killed Hitler instead). Now Days of Future past had established a form of time travel in this universe where a person’s mind is sent back through time to their own younger body. Here, the whole of Cable, not just the mind and memories, but the entire physical body travels back. That’s okay. One universe can have multiple kinds of time travel. Cable’s device simply works differently from Kitty Pryde’s mutant powers.But things get messy(er) as we approach the end. Deadpool sacrifices himself to save Russell, helping redeem the kid so that he doesn’t kill the evil headmaster. Cable’s daughter’s teddy bear is no longer drenched with her blood, signalling that Russell does not go down a dark path, and Cable’s family lives. But wait, what? This teddy bear experienced the original, darker future! So even if we’re now set on a more optimistic course, why should that change anything about the toy? Cable didn’t change! He’s still the Cable who has experienced, and remembers, a dystopia.
But okay, let’s suspend our disbelief for a moment. After all, this is the device that Back to the Future used, with the fading photograph. Let’s just say that objects from the future take on the physical properties of the new likeliest future, but the mind retains its memories. Yes, I know, that’s just lazy writing.
(Image courtesy ScreenRant)But the advantage of this acceptance of a leap of logic is that it makes what comes next pretty easy to swallow. Cable uses his last charge to turn back time and save Wade’s life. But this time, instead of his body being transported back so that there are 2 Cables running around simultaneously, his mind goes back into his (slightly) younger body so that he can just make one different choice and do everything else exactly as he did it the first time around. This can be explained away by saying that a) the device senses if its user was still around in the past, and if so, just sends back the mind, otherwise, the entire body; or more likely, b) the device has 2 settings, and Cable deliberately just sent his mind back the second time. Lazy writing? Yes, but by this point I’ll accept most anything.
Now of course we get to the mid-credits sequence. Deadpool goes back in time (mind only) to save Vanessa. I’m assuming he still does everything else as he did originally, so he can save Russell from becoming a murderer anyway. Next, he saves Peter. Just Peter, it seems. Sorry folks, no Terry Crews, Bill Skarsgård, or Brad Pitt(!) in X-Force. He then somehow jumps to the original X-Men timeline, pre-Days of Future Past, when X-Men Origins: Wolverine was still canon, and shoots that godawful version of Deadpool. Probably doesn’t kill him, though. That’s unfortunate. And finally, he finds the Ryan Reynolds of the X-Men universe and shoots him before he can say yes to the Green Lantern script. Unless their universe’s timeline went very differently from ours, that would’ve happened in 2009. But seeing how the X-Men in the manor look like their 90s versions, and seeing how much younger this Yukio is than The Wolverine’s Yukio, Deadpool 2 is probably set significantly before 2009, in which case that’s a jump forward in time.
(Also courtesy ScreenRant)Okay okay I’m sorry for trying to find logic in this, I just couldn’t resist the temptation once the writers confirmed these scenes are all canon, and Vanessa and Peter really are alive.Speaking of which…
- Does death matter? For that matter, does anything matter?
Okay no I can’t answer that second question, but the answer to the first one seems to be “no” these days.
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So the thing is that the impermanence of death is by no means a new problem. Comic book readers have for years dealt with characters, good and bad, coming back to life so frequently that we’ve stopped being scared for them. In movies, however, for a while the concern, at least for our favourite villains, was the opposite. They never seemed to live to see another day, and thus never got more than one movie’s worth of character development. One of the reasons Loki stands out is that he changed that. He was more complex in The Avengers than he had been in Thor, and even more so in Thor: The Dark World. That said, the MCU also brought the “superheroes never die” problem from the pages to the screen, with Phil Coulson, Nick Fury and Wong refusing to stay in their graves. Infinity War was supposed to change that. Death was coming, and would mean something. But not only did not do that, the issue seems to have infected Deadpool Too, so it might be too late now. Vision’s sacrifice was immediately reversed using the time stone, and since we know Peter Parker and T’Challa need to be alive to lead their upcoming sequels, they can’t be dead either, and their return in the next Avengers movie might also end up involving the time stone somehow.
Luckily, the Deadpool 2 writers have confirmed that Cable’s time machine, unlike the MCU’s time stone, is truly spent, and won’t play a role in any future movies. I suppose we could take that as reassurance that future deaths in this series are to be taken seriously. As for the damage already done, I can’t say. What do you think? Will seeing Vanessa alive and well in X-Force cheapen Wade’s character arc for you? Were you emotionally invested to begin with? Comment below!