Deadpool (2016) recently became the highest-grossing R-rated movie of 2016 and is in contention to become the highest-grossing R-rated movie of all time. One thing that makes it so special, besides the tongue-in-cheek humor and the fourth wall breaks, is its multitude of references to comics, movies and our world at large. Deadpool knows that he’s in the 21st century and even knows that he is a comic book superhero (or an anti-hero). The self-awareness and meta acknowledgement of the film we're watching makes for entertaining, thought-provoking viewing, and the experience is heightened and supported by the plethora of allusions within the movie. Some are obvious to most audiences, while others are hidden Easter Eggs only comic fans can appreciate.
Here are a few references to look out for while watching the movie:
- Shout outs to Ryan Reynolds
When Reynolds played the speechless Deadpool in the X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) movie, he was a huge disappointment for fans. Then he tried his luck with DC’s Green Lantern (2011) and the movie's reception was a big, green, animated slap in the face, too. All was not lost, though. For Reynolds, the third time has been the charm, as he gets to poke fun of his previous two attempts of being a superhero in Deadpool. “Don’t make the suit green or animated," Deadpool tells Ajax (henceforth called Francis, played by Ed Skrein) when discussing super suits. In the opening fight scene, we also see a wallet and get a glimpse of a photograph of a guy in a Green Lantern costume.
This is NOT the suit that he ordered
When Wade Wilson, Reynolds’ character's name outside of his Deadpool identity, realizes that he is not getting his cancer treated as an act of kindness and that his superpowers aren’t just for fun but for becoming a weapon, he rebels.
Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) making his requests clear to Francis
That’s when Francis threatens to sew his mouth shut — something that happened in the Origins movie — and Wade replies, “I wouldn’t do that if I were you.” We also see an action figure of that previous, speechless Deadpool when Wade mentions his WHAM! vinyl.
The Deadpool that should never have existed and the one we always wanted (both played by Ryan Reynolds)
- Hugh Jackman
Deadpool doesn’t just take jabs at Wolverine’s character but also at the actor behind the angry mutant. In the beginning of the movie, Deadpool talks to the audience about how he got his own movie, revealing that he had to do some "dirty" things to someone’s testicles to get the film to be made. He says that the person he is talking about rhymes with "Polverine." If that wasn’t enough, he goes on to talk about the state of this mysterious man’s balls with a very deliberate Australian accent. While Wolverine doesn’t have that accent, Jackman does. By the end of the movie, we also get a cameo of Hugh Jackman’s face from an issue in People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive that has been cut off and stuck to Wade’s face, who hides his abominable facade from his girlfriend.
The image Wade Wilson uses to hide his face
- Other X-Men
Deadpool isn’t the only good(ish) mutant in the movie. We also have Colossus (a CGI character voiced by Stefan Kapicic) and Teenage Negasonic Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) from the X-Men franchise. We even get a glimpse of the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters and the X-Men jet. While the two X-Men try to convince Deadpool to join, he, like us, has a particular question that needs answering. “Stewart or McAvoy?" he asks as Colossus tells him to see the professor. He’s not the only one confused by the various timelines in the X-Men movies.
Which Professor wants to see him?
Wade also has a line about traveling to "far-off, exotic places, meet new and exciting people," when his friend, Weasel (T.J Miller), finishes the sentence with "...and kill them." This is an exact quote from the Origins movie.
- Other Movie References
Deadpool is packed with little bits about other movies and TV shows. He asks the audience if we’ve seen 127 Hours (2011) when he is being taken by Colossus, before he cuts off his own arm to free himself. During the end credits, Deadpool pays homage to the stinger for Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986), asking us why we’re still here.
The end credits of Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)
Towards the second part of the end credits, he promises that the sequel will have Cable, a mutant and arch-rival of Deadpool in the comics and leader of the X-Force (he mentions,"We just need a big guy with a flat top. Mel Gibson, Dolph Lundgren, Keira Knightley — she's got range," and the Internet has speculated, that Cable could well be played by Kiera Knightley).
Fan art featuring Keira Knightley as Cable
My personal favorite is a reference to the movie franchise Taken (2008), starring Liam Neeson. Wilson refers to the multiple occurrences when Neeson’s character's daughter is taken and comments, "They've made 3 of those movies. Some point you have to wonder if he's just a bad parent.”
Liam Neeson in Taken 1, 2 and 3
- Fox Studios
Deadpool takes a friendly shot at 20th Century Fox when he notes that the entire Xavier Mansion seems to house only Teenage Negasonic Warhead and Colossus. He quips, "It's almost like the studio couldn’t afford another X-Man."
The Xavier Mansion from the movies
Deadpool says that he used to look like Ryan Reynolds before he was bitten by a radioactive Shar-Pei — the comment recalls our favorite web crawler who once got bitten by a radioactive spider. At the end, Deadpool refers to himself as "your friendly neighborhood pool guy," and during the animated credits he tries to hang from something that looks like webbing… and falls. There is also a Parker Boulevard in one of the scenes, possibly a tribute to Peter Parker.
Deadpool being touchy about his looks
- Stan Lee
What’s a Marvel movie without the famous Stan Lee cameo? This film, of course, had its requisite fulfilled, the 93 year-old this time playing a strip club DJ.
Stan Lee's cameo in the movie
Before the climax fight, Deadpool says, "Time to make the chimi-f**kin’-changas!" Chimichangas are also Deadpool’s favorite food in the comics.
Deadpool is not complete without the Chimichangas
- A nod to the creators
There are plenty of references made to the creators of the movie and also the comic book. As the SUV tumbles in slow-motion in the opening scene, we can see a coffee cup that has "Rob L." written on the outside. This is a reference to the writer and artist of Deadpool, Rob Liefeld. In another scene, when Wade enters a bar, he greets a patron as "Liefeld," the co-creator getting a short cameo for the scene. We also see a server named "Kelly" in the bar who could be a nod to the Deadpool writer, Joe Kelly.
Ryan Reynolds (left) with Rob. L, one of the creators of the comic book character
In the scene with Wade (before he becomes Deadpool), he has an assignment to kill a stalker pizza delivery boy. We get to see the pizza box, coming from "Famous Feige’s," a reference to producer Kevin Feige—who is the producer for many Marvel movies like Iron Man (2008) and Guardians of the Galaxy (2014).
Kevin Feige, producer of many Marvel movies like Iron Man.
Also, during the opening scene, we see a street sign that could be a nod to co-creator, Fabian Nicieza.
Some streets and roads had the creators' names
- Vanessa Carlysle or Copycat?
The movie stars Morena Baccarin as Wilson's romantic interest, Vanessa, but there could be more to her character. In the comics, Vanessa was also Copycat, a mutant with shape-shifting abilities. Deadpool doesn't explore this side of her and may choose to exclude it altogether, but she does vaguely allude to a shapeshifting power when Francis takes her hostage: “I’ve played a lot of parts in my life, but a damsel in distress ain’t one of them,” she says. We’ll see if the sequel chooses to expose her as a mutant.
Copycat, the mutant, and Morena Baccarin's character, are both called Vanessa Carlysle
Only in Deadpool can you have a hero chatting with a goon. Towards the film's climax, Deadpool kills a lot of guards on his way to Francis, but he stops when he recognizes one of them. Bob, with whom Wade shares fond memories of the old days in T.G.I Friday’s, was a former Special Forces operative with Deadpool. Although Bob’s appearance is brief and Wade knocks him unconscious, he is memorable. Many fans of the comic will recognize him as Bob, the agent of HYDRA, a series regular.
Bob from the comics
These are only some of the many references that you will notice as you enjoy the rib-tickling Merc with a Mouth add a whole new dimension to your superhero movie experience. Did you catch any we missed?