Just like the first movie, Deadpool 2 relies heavily on a wide variety of pieces of pop culture. Here’s the most important moves you need to see to fully get everything it’s targeting.
Throughout Deadpool 2, both the titular merc and his co-stars namedrop a selection of films, some as part of character development, others as self-aware jabs at the movie industry. In Deadpool, these one-liners and offhand comments were predominantly about Fox’s X-Men franchise , but this time around there’s a wider spread of titles referenced and discussed.
The delivery makes understanding the idea of the jokes easy, but maximum effect lies in legitimately knowing the cast and plotting of the movies. Everybody’s going to rewatch Deadpool before the sequel – consider this a watching list for extra credit!
If you still haven’t yet seen Logan (and have somehow avoided spoilers), it’s an absolute must-watch before seeing Deadpool 2. The very first thing Wade does is tell the audience the ending, winding up a musical toy that’s a small-scale model of the biggest twist before proclaiming that Logan has made his job for the sequel exponentially harder and decreeing that his personal mission is to make Deadpool 2 as memorable. Whether or not he’s successful is for you to judge, but it can’t be said he isn’t ambitious.
Logan and prior spinoff X-Men Origins: Wolverine get plenty of nods otherwise too; Wilson never passing up an opportunity to have a rib at the expense his frequent comics partner and Hugh Jackman’s portrayal thereof, and this time around goes all out. Since Deadpool has become such a success on the big screen, there’s a particular eye towards tearing down Origins, the disasterpiece where Reynolds first portrayed the Merc With A Mouth. Now, if we could just get that Wolverine and Deadpool crossover to seal the deal.
People unfamiliar with the comics might not be aware that underneath all the murder and mayhem, Deadpool’s a really cultural guy. He’s up on the latest movies and has his share of opinions on what’s good and bad. What’s more, he especially tends to like more effeminate properties, leaning into his pansexuality and open-minded perspective on gender. One particular favorite appears to be Frozen, with the Wade speculating on the origins of “Do You Wanna Build A Snowman?” multiple times. If you’ve watched the film recently, you may even notice a moment that calls back to the song. Fox also nixed a more cutting jab at the House of Mouse.
Slightly less obscure to a 2018 comic book movie-going audience is the talk of the 1994 adaptation of Anne Rice’s Interview With A Vampire starring Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise and Kirsten Dunst. Dopinder, the ‘Pool’s taxi-driver-sidekick-friend, is struggling to find his purpose in life taxiing Wade around. He compares his yearning for higher meaning to the lustful romance of Vampire’s love-triangle in a recurring gag, a sentiment Wilson plays on in very touchy-feely fashion to comfort his colleague. It also gets another, sneakier reference by way of cameo.
Cable is a part-machine human sent from the future to kill a teenage boy before his actions cause a quasi-apocalypse. You better believe Deadpool 2 mines those parallels to the legendary time-travelling robot assassin series. Cable’s arrival to the present day timeline is a big homage to Schwarzenegger’s landings in Terminator and Terminator 2, and his subsequent mission has lots of sly visual callbacks fans will notice.
Wilson reminds the audience and Cable of this at every turn, of course, in the names he calls Cable and subtly referencing the filmmakers’ reliance on movies now 30 years old. Whatever happens, it’s likely going to be better than Terminator: Genisys , so maybe the producers of Terminator 6 (including Deadpool‘s own Tim Miller) can get some pointers?