Deadpool & Wolverine: The Antidote For A Stagnant MCU?

Deadpool & Wolverine

For me, the announcement of a new Marvel film is usually accompanied with a shrug, could be good, could be bad, and probably not going to be high on my list of priorities. However, Deadpool is an exception to that. The two Deadpool films have been tremendously fun with Ryan Reynolds finding what might be the perfect role for him.

The History

Deadpool with the less expensive X-Men they could use //credit: Deadpool, 20th Century Fox

Ryan Reynolds was first cast as Wade Wilson/Weapon X in the abysmal X-Men Origins: Wolverine, the fact that the character of Wade Wilson was something more significant than a minor villain would have only been apparent to comic book fans and the casting of Reynolds in of itself. For years Reynolds campaigned for there to be a Deadpool movie and he eventually got his wish. Deadpool was a brilliant and unusual addition to the comic book movie world, adopting many elements featured in the comics, most notably the fact that Deadpool breaks the fourth wall. A lot. And in an environment where the MCU is constantly criticised (including by me) for having a formula for its films Deadpool did feel different. Deadpool 2 didn’t quite manage the same success but still a very enjoyable film. Normally, Deadpool 3 might be expected to deliver less simply by the law of diminishing returns but it does have something going for it the others didn’t – Wolverine. This is not Deadpool 3, it is Deadpool & Wolverine.

The rivalry between Wolverine and Deadpool goes back to the comics. The two characters have a lot of similar powers and have faced off against each other as frenemies numerous times. The Deadpool movies have continued this rivalry with Deadpool breaking the fourth wall in criticising Wolverine and his movies. But then, and this has been going on for years, Ryan Reynolds and Hugh Jackman, have had a similar, somewhat staged, frenemy rivalry going on. Both men have spent a lot of time on social media playfully insulting the other, going back so far that it was before any notion of this film was dreamt up.

God’s Perfect Idiot

Deadpool 2, 20th Century Fox
Deadpool with his own X-Men // Credit: Deadpool 2, 20th Century Fox

A lot of the success of the Deadpool movies is down to the charm of Ryan Reynolds and that is a lot of charm. As someone who enjoyed the short-lived Two Guys and A Girl sitcom of the early 2000s which starred Reynolds, I can say that that charm has always been there. Reynolds is immensely likeable and able to laugh at himself – Deadpool contains references to his brief and unsuccessful stint as Green Lantern, and even the opening credits listed him as “God’s Perfect Idiot”. So the stunningly handsome, charming, willing-to-laugh-at-himself and talented Reynolds was a phenomenal choice to play Deadpool.

The Wolverine

Logan, 20th Century Fox
An angry Logan // Credit: Logan, 20th Century Fox

Hugh Jackman is of course a megastar and an actor who has found a career-defining role of an unkillable claw-slashing mutant (whilst still being able to be cast in high-budget Oscar-winning musicals). Logan is quite possibly the best superhero film ever made. Crossovers are hardly new but the fourth-wall-breaking nature of Deadpool allows them to have a bit more fun with it. The trailer seems to show Wolverine and Deadpool fighting next to a partially destroyed 20th Century Fox logo (20th Century Fox for a long time owned the rights to X-Men and this is why they were not part of the MCU). The multiverse shenanigans that now exist in the MCU comfortably allow characters who were not originally in the MCU to be brought in, and things like death and destruction are not barriers to appearing.

Deadpool & Wolverine, Marvel Studio
Wolverine in the famous yellow outfit //credit: Deadpool & Wolverine, Marvel Studios

I hope Deadpool brings some spark back to MCU as just anything to inject some originality and difference into it. And I do realise looking for originality in a second sequel shows the dire state of things. Anything that moves the MCU from the formula they relentlessly cling to. And Deadpool does seem to try to constantly pull away from the formula – Deadpool bills itself as a love story, and Deadpool 2 is a family movie. Deadpool brings a level of brutal violence rarely seen in the MCU, let alone from the supposed hero. Every Deadpool movie has been Rated R in America (as opposed to the solid PG13 rating for just about everything else in the MCU) meaning swearing, drugs, sex and various adult situations are present in Deadpool movies and if nothing else that gives more freedom to the filmmakers. That said they do lean into this, in Deadpool there is literally a sex montage scene. Ultimately I am more concerned with Deadpool & Wolverine being a good movie than its place in the MCU, and I think if every MCU movie was made that way, the MCU would be a lot better.

Also Read: Marvel Cinematic Universe: From A Love To Hate Relationship

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Richard Norton

Gentleman, podcaster and pop culture nerd, I love talking and writing about pretty much all pop culture.