You might've heard about this little sequel coming out on Friday...it's called Deadpool 2? It's only the follow-up to the highest-grossing R-rated movie of all-time? It stars a typically smarmy Ryan Reynolds as the titular, foulmouthed, fourth wall-breaking superhero? Josh Brolin is involved somehow?
Yeah, that one.
Maybe you saw the original; maybe you didn't. Maybe you saw the original and forgot about everything that happened, because you need to make room in your head for important stuff, like, say, the ongoing social media theories surrounding Yanny and Laurel.
In any event, unless you're a huge comic book and/or Ryan Reynolds buff, you could probably use a quick refresher on everything Deadpool, before you're roped into seeing the sequel this weekend by friends who gave you shit for wanting to see Tully instead. Topics covered: the first movie, Zazie Beetz, Rob Delaney's mustache, whatever's going on with David Beckham and some other good stuff.
Let's go to the FAQs...
First thing's first: who is Deadpool? What's his background?
Otherwise known as the "Merc with a Mouth," because of his tendency to never shut up, Deadpool, né Wade Wilson, first started appearing in Marvel comics in the '90s. He received his own miniseries in 1993, and in 1997, got his own title.
What you need to know, though, is that he's an ex-special forces dude, working as a mercenary, who gets diagnosed with terminal cancer. He's then approached by a mysterious recruiter person for the Weapons X program who takes him to Ajax, a mutated villain-ish guy who injects him with a serum designed to awaken any latent mutant genes. They torture Wilson to induce the stress necessary to bring out the genes, but to no avail. However, after Ajax basically leaves him in a hyperbaric chamber without air for a weekend or so (Wilson made fun of his name; go figure), he manages to escape with an activated superhero power.
What is said superhero power?
You mean other than his razor-sharp wit? Well, he can basically heal whatever wound he incurs (including terminal cancer). But, unfortunately, he's left totally disfigured, due to the hyperbaric chamber-related asphyxiation. Hence, the cool superhero suit.
But so what you're saying is he basically can't die?
Basically, but never say never. There's a whole masochistic thread underlying Deadpool (and Deadpool 2).
Why is Deadpool named Deadpool?
At Wilson's favorite local watering hole, Sister Margaret's, regulars keep a Deadpool—basically, an ongoing bet of which one of them is going to die first. Wilson, who frequently gets in bar fights, is always a favorite. When he goes to the bar after gaining his superhero powers, he decides to rechristen himself after the game. It's ironic!
What's the general thrust of the original movie? Like, what do I need to know?
Basically, Deadpool spends most of the original movie cracking jokes (he's painfully aware he's in a superhero movie) and tracking down Ajax, who he believes can cure him of his crazy scarring/bodily disfiguration. Along the way, he's recruited by Colossus, basically a giant man of steel, to join the X-Men. Deadpool is wary of being all hero-y, given his general anti-heroic tendencies and hedonistic joie de vivre. Eventually, though, he and Colossus defeat Ajax and his partner, Angel Dust, in a pretty typically Marvel-y climax, and, despite Colossus's pleas, Deadpool kills Ajax when he discovers he doesn't actually have a cure for his gross scars.
Wasn't there a love interest? And wasn't that love interest also in Homeland?
Wow! You have such a good memory when it comes to Homeland co-stars! Yes, there's a love interest: Vanessa. Wilson lets her believe he's dead, rather than face her with his disfigurations. Then Ajax—being Ajax—kidnaps her, and Deadpool, in that aforementioned climax, rescues her. She's pretty pissed about the whole "leaving her to think he was dead" thing, but they eventually kiss and make-up. Turns out, she's totally cool with his severe scarring. Love really does conquer all.
What makes Deadpool different than other superhero movies?
Basically, Deadpool mocks the fundamental premises on which the superhero genre relies. It's hero is an anti-hero, who actively resists playing the role prescribed for him. He routinely breaks character to address the audience, and is hyper-aware of how his actions both lean into and challenge the traditional notion of a superhero. One might call Deadpool the first true postmodern superhero movie, if one were so inclined.
Isn't there something cool and meta-y about how Ryan Reynolds came to star in and produce the film?
Indeed there is. Reynolds first became interested in the part after Deadpool referenced the actor in the comic, calling himself "Ryan Reynolds crossed with a Shar-Pei."
Ok, so now tell me about Deadpool 2? What's the basic premise?
Without giving too much away, Deadpool teams up with some other mutants (and one human) to stop an evil, time-traveling mutant named Cable from killing a younger mutant named Russell, for whom Deadpool has developed some fatherly affection (tied up in his guilt and desire for redemption spurred by...you'll see).
So what you're saying is that, for all its self-aware tomfoolery, Deadpool 2 is basically just another superhero movie where a gang of superheroes wage war against a gang of supervillains?
Yes and no. Mostly yes. Josh Brolin, who played the villain Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War, even plays Cable, who Deadpool jokingly refers to as Thanos in the movie.
Who is in Deadpool's crew?
You've got Domino, played by the lovely Zazie Beetz, whose superpower is more or less luck; Bedlam, played by Terry Crews, who can manipulate electromagnetic waves and stuff; Shatterstar, played by Lewis Tan, who's kind of just an overall superhuman, in terms of strength, senses, etc; Zeitgeist, played by Bill Skarsgard, who apparently has superhuman acid reflux, causing him to spew highly acidic vomit, which has the power to erode steel; Vanisher, who is invisible and portrayed, momentarily, by a very famous actor (click here for the spoiler); and Peter, a normal human being, played by the comedian Rob Delaney with a mustache.
There's also Weasel, Deadpool's best friend from the original, played by T.J. Miller.
Is the movie getting good reviews thus far?
The general consensus seems to be that it's too meta to function, but is ultimately worth your time. It's got an 87% on Rotten Tomatoes as of Wednesday afternoon.
One more question: what's the deal with David Beckham?
Well, he's not in the movie. But he is in this promo—one of many of the film's smart marketing ploys. So that's cool.