The R-rated, record breaking movie adaptation of Deadpool was faithful to the comic series in a number of ways, with the most obvious being the meta, fourth wall breaking humor. Yet there are some aspects of Wade Wilson that the film didn't fully explore: Namely, Wade's sexuality.
Prior the the film's release, director Tim Miller confirmed that Ryan Reynolds' live-action character is pansexual (not limited to attraction based on sex or gender identity). However, fans who were hoping for the Merc with the Mouth to be a beacon of LGBT superhero characters would've been left underwhelmed.
In the comics, one of his most infamous relationships (which'll hopefully one day reach the big screen) is shared with Spider-Man, with Deadpool making a number of sexual comments, but there aren't many leading male Marvel characters who have avoided the seductive innuendo from Wade Wilson. Lots of it.
1. Like Almost Every Moment With Spidey
2. And This Homoerotic Fantasy Involving Cable
3. And His Obvious Attraction To Thor
4. Not To Mention His Flirting With Black Widow And Captain America
5. Oh, And Complimenting Frank Castle
A Lack Of Promise In The Movie
So, back to Ryan Reynolds' live-action version. With a film that really isn't afraid to break boundaries, and the comments made by Miller beforehand, there was a distinct lack of any explicit reference to Wade's sexuality.
Reynolds himself even entertained the idea the the premiere of the movie, expressing his desire to eventually see Deadpool in a same-sex relationship. But this came after the movie. He said:
“I love that about Deadpool. I love that he can break any boundary. In the future, I hope we get to do that more. I certainly wouldn’t be the guy standing in the way of that. That would be great.”
Most of the focus is on Deadpool's relationship with Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), which provides the gravitational force behind his actions throughout the film. That in itself could've limited the depiction of an onscreen relationship, but all references are suffocated by layers of subtext. Some moments of blink-and-you'll-miss-it innuendo, as highlighted by Slate, are:
- His playful obsession with a superhero whose name rhymes with Polverine.
- Referring to his behind as "main street."
- Vanessa strapping in during an experimental sex montage.
- Telling the pizza delivery guy that he has some "hard spots" before kissing him on the cheek.
- An animated Deadpool becoming even more turned on when Ed Skrein's name appears on the closing credits
Journalist Jeffry Bloomer also believes that the way Wilson's sexuality was portrayed, following on from the confirmation the character is pansexual, was actually insulting to the LGBT community. He said:
Despite a few smirking nods to extremely in-the-know viewers, Reynolds’ film version of Deadpool is no more pansexual than a frat boy who smacks another brother’s ass and then giggles about it, acknowledging a homoerotic energy he only knows how to dismiss with a joke. And that’s more disappointing—and even insulting—than it might seem.
It's certainly an interesting perspective, and perhaps more a reflection of the film industry as a whole, rather than Deadpool specifically. But the opportunity remains the same; Deadpool has been praised for thinking outside the box, which was also one of the reasons he had such a mass appeal with audiences.
As a result, the character's popularity is in prime position to provide a high-profile representation for the LGBT community. You never know; with Cable confirmed for Deadpool 2, could the sequel be the perfect opportunity to bring those comic strips to life?
Should Deadpool's pansexuality be explored more explicitly in the comics?