It was a fun movie, but where representation is concerned, a film with an ostensibly LGBTQ title character should go farther.
Ash Griffith | May 24, 2018
Deadpool is literally everything I want in a superhero. He’s fearless, he’s fun, he unapologetically stands up for any and every one, and god, does the man appreciate some good Tex-Mex. Luckily for me, the sequel to his first film, Deadpool 2, is out now.
My thoughts on this are more complicated than I really wanted them to be. Looking at Deadpool 2 as a film and as a representative work are almost two separate experiences.
As a film, Deadpool 2 was excellent. The writing was strong and true to the comics, the flow was smooth and felt like a ride, and Terry Crews, who plays Deadpool’s fellow mutant hero Bedlam, is a national treasure to be protected at all costs. There is really no one else who can play Deadpool like Ryan Reynolds does, and honestly I don’t want to see anyone else try.
That being said, Deadpool is in and of himself a progressive character. He is a pansexual superhero — a dark, sarcastic Captain America, if you will. At the end of the day he is there for the people, especially the underdogs, in any and every capacity, always with a sharp quip at the ready. Deadpool himself isn’t even the only LGBTQ member of his universe. Shatterstar, who is featured in the new sequel, identifies as both bisexual and polyamorous. However, where its overall progressiveness is concerned, Deadpool 2 swung between two polarizing ends of the spectrum. When it had a win, it was massive, and when it had a loss, it was devastating.
For such a strong, fearless comic, that has been willing to depict its star in everything from homoerotic flirtations with Spider-Man to occasional moments of drag, it’s devastating to see the film version of Deadpool not live up to its full potential. Deadpool’s films have earned millions, if not billions, in the United States and around the world. Not only is the title role played by a major A-List actor, but said actor led the fight to see it produced for well over ten years. Before the first film in the series was even released, its director, Tim Miller, promised us “pansexual Deadpool.”
So after all that, why is he still not pansexual in the films?
Actually, why isn’t Shatterstar bisexual in the film, either? Not only is he in the film for a total of fifteen minutes (if that), never once is it ever mentioned in any way. This film could have been a huge testament against the pervasiveness of bi-erasure… but it never made it.
Let’s not get too upset, though because despite those two swift kicks to the heart, there was one excellent moment. Negasonic Teenage Warhead (who is technically a composite character combining herself and fellow X-Man Cannonball) is not only out as a lesbian, but casually introduces her girlfriend, fellow mutant Yukio (who previously appeared portrayed by a different actor in The Wolverine), to the gang. Deadpool’s response is simply to question what Yukio sees in Negasonic of all people.
If we can take one win from this, it is the fact that Deadpool 2 is the first major superhero film to unapologetically feature not one but two lesbian superheroes. As great as it is that Disney wants to tout overpriced rainbow Mickey ears to me, this is the support and representation I want. Put us in your damn films already.
When you combine the film itself and the representational aspects, Deadpool 2 gets a firm “Eh, not bad” for me. I loved it because I love Deadpool, but it could have been a lot better — especially since it stars the Bugs Bunny of the Marvel Universe. A lot more could be done with him. However, with rumors continuously circulating about a crossover with X-Men and Avengers (if Disney can ever secure the rights like they did with Spider-Man), the door is always open to fixing this.
Besides, be honest. You know you want to see Deadpool win a debate with Tony Stark as badly as I do.