We knew we were in for a very different superhero movie when Deadpool finally made it to the big screen. We knew it would be violent and vulgar and that Deadpool would break the fourth wall, but the first solo movie from the Merc with the Mouth doesn’t just break the fourth wall, it beats the fourth wall to death in a back alley and steals its wallet.
Deadpool makes more pop culture references than we could count, but we did our best and made a list of every easter egg, in-joke, and reference that the movie dishes out. They came so fast that we may have missed a few, and if we listed every last one we’ll be here all week, but we broke them down into their basic categories and we’ll touch on our favorites. Let us know your favorite ones in the comments on each section, or ones that slipped through the cracks. We promise there won’t be any plot spoilers here, but we will spoil the jokes, so if you haven't seen the movie, be warned.
Green Lantern References
If you’ve been following the comic book movie scene for awhile now you’ll know that Deadpool is not exactly Ryan Reynolds’ first rodeo. Back in 2011, he was supposed to the guy who launched the DC cinematic universe when he starred in Green Lantern. It did not go well. The movie was a complete bomb. Reynolds does not shy away from his old alter ego as one of the few images you see in the film during the opening credits is a photograph of a guy dressed as Green Lantern. Later, when beginning to undergo the treatment that will eventually make him Deadpool, he begs that his super suit not be green or animated. He’s been down that road before, and the movie takes every opportunity to poke fun at it.
X-Men Origins References
But wait, even before Ryan Reynolds was Green Lantern, or Deadpool he was...Deadpool. X-Men Origins: Wolverine was at least as bad and Green Lantern, and the character hasn’t forgotten that. At one point Wade Wilson talks about his history as a professional mercenary and the places he’s been, and lists locations that he visited as part of the team in that movie. It’s not all fond memories, however. At one point Ajax threatens to sew Wade Wilson’s mouth shut, the same fate he suffered in Origins, and a fate worse than death for the Merc with the Mouth. A Deadpool action figure from those dark days even makes a cameo appearance.
Hugh Jackman/Wolverine References
The jokes are not simply limited to the movies, though. Deadpool has some specific vitriol not just for the Wolverine character, but also for the actor behind him. Near the beginning of the film, Deadpool speaks to the audience and claims that in order to get his own movie he had to do something dirty to somebody’s testicles in order to get the film greenlit. The person in question’s name rhymes with "Pullverine." The jokes don't stop there, however, as Deadpool begins to discuss the state of said balls with a thick Australian accent. Wolverine doesn’t have an accent like that, but Hugh Jackman does. Then, at the end of the film Jackman’s face makes an unplanned cameo stapled to Wade Wilson’s head.
Don’t worry, the movie doesn’t spend all it’s time making fun of Wolverine. There are so many more X-Men to fuck with. You likely know that Deadpool is joined by Colossus and Teenage Negasonic Warhead in the movie as his sort of sidekicks. But that’s hardly all you’ll get. Both the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters and the X-Men jet make appearances in the film. At one point Deadpool also accuses Beast of crapping in his yard. The highlight, however, comes when Colossus insists that Deadpool be taken to see the Professor. Deadpool is forced to ask "Stewart or McAvoy?" It turns out we’re not the only one confused by the constantly changing timelines.
Other Movie References
We...we don’t even know where to start here. There are just too many to list. When Deadpool needs to escape he asks the audience if they’ve seen 127 Hours and then does...exactly what you think if you’ve seen 127 Hours. A reference to Yoda riding on Luke Skywalker’s back takes on a totally different meaning (that we’ll never forget) when Wade Wilson and Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) are in bed together. This is followed immediately by Wade making a Weird Science reference when commenting on her perfection by saying it’s like he made her in a computer. Want more? Negasonic Teenage Warhead looks like Ripley in Alien 3. Also, T.J. Miller’s character references Blade 2 at one point, which is odd since a Blade: Trinity joke would have been more appropriate as Ryan Reynolds shows up in that movie.
Fourth Wall Breaks
In the Deadpool comics the character is known for his frequent breaking of the fourth wall. He’s the one comic book character who understands that he’s in a comic book. The movie version is no different. In trying to get gum off his fingers at one point, he accidently gets it stuck on the camera. At another moment Deadpool decides the beating he’s about to give another character is even too much for the R-rating, so he moves the camera out of position. Later, he takes a friendly shot at 20th Century Fox when he remarks that the entire Xavier Mansion seems to only contain Teenage Negasonic Warhead and Colossus, as if the studio "couldn’t afford another X-Men."
From the big screen to the small, Deadpool leaves no reference unmade. His deep and abiding love for The Golden Girls is the stuff of legend. It turns out this passion is not new as Wade Wilson is seen wearing a Bea Arthur t-shirt long before he undergoes the procedure that gives him his powers. That’s not the only classic TV show that Wilson is a fan of however. When trying to guess Ajax’s real name, based on his English accent he uses Basil Fawlty as a guess. Fawlty Towers may have been the very last thing we expected to hear referenced in Deadpool, but there you go. He’s also a big cartoon fan, as he uses his mad skeeball skills to earn himself a Voltron: Defender of the Universe ring at the arcade. Bonus points go to the guy running the concession who congratulates him for being a defender of the planet Arus.
Other than Wolverine, the other character that Deadpool tends to get compared to a lot is Spider-Man. They both wear full body covering red suits and they both crack wise with their opponents. Deadpool is aware this comparison will be made, and so he makes it first. Upon showing Weasel (T.J. Miller) what he looks like, Wade Wilson says that he looks like he was "bitten by a radioactive shar-pei." Later Wilson himself breaks out with the classic Mary Jane Watson phrase, gender bent for the situation: "go get her tiger." Finally, Deadpool refers to himself in the final voice over as your "friendly neighborhood pool guy" before an animated version of himself tries, and fails, to hang from some webbing.
Other Comic References
If none of the previous references scratched your particular comic book itch, it’s not like that was all. The film, of course, had its requisite Stan Lee cameo, this time as a strip club DJ. While trying to think up his new superhero name he runs by a couple of options, like Scaredevil, which would actually have been an awesome name, and Captain Deadpool, but we already have a comic book captain on the screen. And then, of course, there are the references to Deadpool’s own comic book, like his love of chimichangas. It’s not only Marvel that gets hit either. Batman & Robin? Totally gay.
Misc Pop Culture References
And finally, there’s just everything that doesn’t fit into any other category. The movie mentions the fact that Patrick Stewart bears a striking resemblance to the guy who ran the Heaven’s Gate cult, or that Ryan Reynolds himself was once called the Sexiest Man Alive by People Magazine. Wade Wilson carries a Bernadette Peters purse, because don’t we all, wears a Rent t-shirt, and references 1980s Chrysler TV commercials starring Ricardo Montalban right next to Honey Boo Boo jokes. Our favorite reference may not have even been intentional, but hearing Wade and Vanessa argue about which one had the shittier childhood makes us think of Monty Python’s classic Four Yorkshiremen sketch. "You had a house?"
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