Deadpool 2 doesn’t have a lot of room for sacred cows. And among the most sacred of sacred cows is the cameo in a superhero movie, which is either a nod to the fans or setting up the next box office hit. Deadpool 2 doesn’t do that. In fact usually it does the exact opposite of that, generally for comedic effect.
So, spoiler warning ahoy, especially since these are jokes. If you haven’t seen it yet, enjoy a nice long view of some Peter.
- To start with, the movie continually sets up bad guys and then hilariously refuses to pay them off. The most notable is Black Tom Cassidy (Jack Kesy), who the movie continually sets up as the true bad guy of the movie, the big scary violent psycho who … uh, unceremoniously gets shot in the face by accident during an action sequence. But he does serve as a deep-cut bit of nerd foreshadowing: Black Tom is a partner to the Juggernaut, who turns out to be the real big scary true bad guy of the movie.
- Remember all the speculation about how the true villain of the movie, a guy they’ve been teasing since Days Of Future Past, would be Nathan Essex, AKA Mister Sinister? The movie almost goes out of its way to hint he will be appearing, right down to casting journeyman actor Eddie Marsan and rubbing it in our face Russell (Julian Dennison) is from a creepy abusive “orphanage” for mutants with Essex’s name in the title. Aaaaaand he doesn’t show up, although Marsan gets his ticket punched in the most hilariously unexpected way possible.
- Another topic that never comes up: Cable (Josh Brolin) is supposed to be the son of Cyclops, but he seems spectacularly uninterested in dropping in on Dad back in the day. Cable also idly mentions his daughter Hope, who’s, uh, let’s just say her story is even more complicated than Cable’s and leave it at that.
- Moving on to deep cuts, the prison Russell and our man DP wind up in to kick off the second act, the Ice Box, is a two-fer. It is, in fact, a prison from the comics, but keeping with the franchise’s ongoing jokes about both the home of Ryan Reynolds and its shooting location, it’s located in Canada. Considering the movie actively refuses to tell you where Deadpool actually lives, this is probably as close to a confirmation as we’ll get short of Deadpool picking up some Timbits with Bob and Dave McKenzie.
- Nor is this the only Canada/Marvel gag; if you pay attention, Dopinder (Karan Soni) has an ad for a travel service called Alpha Flight, telling us where Marvel’s team of Canadian heroes wound up in this cinematic universe.
- Another bit in the chase sequence is a subtle shoutout to a beloved run by comics writer Gail Simone, who, in one issue beloved by fans, has Deadpool on a very masculine red scooter, something he hops on after a mission goes a wee bit wrong.
- An ongoing in-joke is that Cable’s backstory is ripped off from The Terminator (right down to Deadpool snarkily calling him John Connor), which is a dig at Rob Liefeld, Cable’s creator. But it also may have come up because Tim Miller, director of the original Deadpool, is currently hard at work on a Terminator sequel.
- Speaking of Rob Liefeld, Deadpool ends a long rant about how lazy Domino’s powers are by insisting it was created by some guy who can’t draw feet, a common criticism of Liefeld’s art.
- To be fair, though, Reynolds and the writing team of Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese do take quite a few shots at themselves (in one case literally), but the opening credits have the most subtle one. In the first movie, the writers are credited as “The Real Heroes Here;” here, after the movie’s shocking opening, they’re credited as “The Real Villains.”
- Finally, the movie has a lot, and we mean a lot, of pop culture references, from spoiling the ending of Logan in the first shot to the Bond movie opening credits to making fun of director David Leitch for the most infamous dead dog moment in film. But the one it commits most to is a shout-out to, of all things, the notorious ’90s cheeseball thriller Basic Instinct, which not only memorably reenacts Sharon Stone’s flashing scene, but if you pay attention to the credits, you’ll notice they actually use Jerry Goldsmith’s score from the movie.
What was your favorite? Let us know in the comments!