Warning: Mild spoilers within. The last time Ryan Reynolds starred in a superhero film, it didn't work out so well. He'd probably be the first person to tell you that. Actually, Reynolds feels so comfortable talking about the dismal failure of 2011’s Green Lantern that he makes fun of it several times in Deadpool. In the new movie, out February 12, he plays the shit-talking title character — a role he first tried on for size in X-Men Origins: Wolverine back in 2009. In fact, during Deadpool’s slo-mo opening credits, which are set to Juice Newton’s “Angel of the Morning,” we see a trading card of Reynolds in his Green Lantern garb floating by in a cloud of debris. Message immediately received that A) the meta-irony is strong and not at all subtle in this movie, and B) this isn’t going to be another Green Lantern disaster. Reynolds appears to feel much more comfortable playing Deadpool than he did Hal Jordan/Green Lantern because — let’s be real — one of his best on-screen personas ever is Van Wilder, that wisecracking, smart-ass, college party god. Just like Van Wilder, Deadpool — né Wade Wilson — isn’t trying to be anyone’s hero. He’s got “effervescent wit, a.k.a. sarcasm,” as Reynolds himself calls it, and a dirty, dirty mind. And sure, I loved both of those things (boy, did I appreciate the deliciously devilish quips emerging from Wade’s lips), but that’s not what I walked away from this movie thinking about. There are going to be a million reviews that discuss how meta Deadpool is, or how it completely subverts the superhero genre, but that’s not why you’re going to vibe with this film. Deadpool is deeply satisfying because it’s extremely sexually progressive, and while it’s ostensibly Wade Wilson’s story, the film’s female characters are actually its entire raison d’être. Oh, and that sexual progressiveness? It involves pegging. Now that Broad City has blown the doors wide open on pegging in mainstream, heteronormative entertainment properties, it’s getting some optimal placement. (ALL OF THE PUNS INTENDED. And to my mom, who definitely just got her phone to text me, “Remind me what pegging is?” — here you go.) I’ve really backed us into this pegging discussion, though. (Again with the double-entendre, I know. But you’ll find all of that and more in Deadpool, so really, I’m just providing some extremely relevant foreplay.) Anyway, let’s start at the very beginning — it’s a very nice place to start — so you can find out how Morena Baccarin sticking a strap-on into Ryan Reynolds’ butt factors into the story. Also, did I mention that our boy Ryan wears a Rent T-shirt for a healthy portion of the film? I guess the “La Vie Bohème A” and “B” sing-alongs will have to wait until later, though, because we’ve got pegging to discuss. But first, here’s a picture, because Rent.
Wade Wilson (Reynolds) is a former Special Forces operative who now works as a mercenary. They call him the “Merc with the Mouth” because he sure is a cunning linguist who likes to shoot off — verbally, of course — every chance he gets. He also breaks the fourth wall and narrates what’s going on for the audience, which is consistent with the Deadpool comics. One night, Wade meets a prostitute named Vanessa Carlisle (Baccarin) at his friend Weasel’s (T.J. Miller) bar. Wade and Vanessa one-up each other with horrible stories about their tragic pasts before going home together. What follows is a hilarious and extremely athletic sex montage of Wade and Vanessa celebrating various holidays together, including all the usual, to-be-expected ones like Valentine’s Day, and then the more unexpected ones, such as International Women’s Day. It’s on the latter occasion that Vanessa gets to do the penetrating. As it’s happening, the camera zooms in on Wade’s face. He’s wincing and says he doesn’t like it. Maybe they just need to go down a size or two, or perhaps start with well-lubed fingers and work their way up. No matter what, seeing a super-macho, hypermasculine leading man like Ryan Reynolds end up on the receiving end of a strap-on dildo will hopefully demonstrate to audiences that it’s fun and totally okay to experiment with power dynamics during sex, as long as both partners are willing and consenting adults. It’s one small(ish) peg(ging) for mankind, really. On Christmas, Vanessa and Wade get engaged, but shortly after, they find out Wade has terminal cancer. He then does something that I hate when fictional characters do: He leaves in the middle of the night so that Vanessa doesn’t have to watch him suffer and die. I guess I should have seen it coming because of his Rent shirt. It’s right there in “Goodbye Love” when Mimi tells Roger, “You don’t have to watch me die.” Foreshadowing via Broadway rock opera T-shirt? Whoever did the costumes on this movie is a genius. Also, please let me know if you’ve ever heard of this happening in real life, because as of now, I’ve only ever heard of the whole “peacing out because you just love your soul mate too much to let them watch you die, and they don't deserve a say in the matter” plot device in fictional narratives. You’re probably wondering right about now how this is a superhero (or antihero, as Deadpool is usually referred to) movie, but we’ve finally reached that point. A super-sketchy guy approaches Wade at Weasel’s bar and basically says that as someone who’s dying, Wade is a great candidate for his superhero factory, where he gives terminal patients superhuman abilities and another shot at life. Spoiler alert: It’s not a superhero factory. It’s a disgusting place where they take terminally ill people and perform gross experiments on them to test their limits under extreme duress and pain. It’s here that Wade gains the ability to heal almost instantly. He can even regrow limbs if they’re cut off. We’re also treated to Ryan Reynolds’ “Ben Affleck in Gone Girl” money shot, and by that, I mean you mightttttt catch a glimpse Ryan Reynolds’ penis if you play your cards just right. It’s all very hazy and appears through a lot of CGI flames, but he’s definitely naked, and there’s certainly something dangling down between his legs. It's been confirmed — straight from the phallus-bearer's mouth himself — that his penis is on display during this scene, which also has him fighting someone in the nude. Betcha didn't think Ryan Reynolds going full-frontal would come up in this story in addition to pegging, but well, here we are (and, hi again, Mom!). Deadpool: Members only. Call me, Hollywood slogan companies. So from the ashes our antihero emerges, reborn, but...wait for it...ugly. “You look like an avocado fucked another avocado, and that avocado had herpes,” is some variation of one of the jokes Weasel tells Wade the first time the bar owner sees his buddy's new mug. Henceforth, this scary-looking uber-man goes by the name Deadpool when he’s suited up and in action mode. Wade thinks he can’t go back to Vanessa like this. Honestly, dude, what the fuck? How superficial does he think Vanessa is? Sure, she’s drop-dead gorgeous, but she’s clearly going to be more upset that he abandoned her in the middle of the night because he thought she was lying or really couldn’t handle it when she said she wanted to be by his side when he died of cancer. She’s also going to be very surprised that he’s still alive, because as far as she’s concerned, a terminal cancer diagnosis still equals death. That’s the other great part of Deadpool, though. The female characters are on the exact same footing and playing field as the men. There are no damsels in distress. Wade is completely wrong about Vanessa’s inability to love him with his new face and body. Give her some credit, Mr. Pool. She was fine when she was with you, and she's gotten along fine without you. Her life doesn’t revolve around you looking like Ryan Reynolds. Build a bridge and get over yourself.
Wade also hits a few girls (because remember, women don't get preferential treatment in Deadpool world); Colossus (an enormous, silvery male CGI X-Man) fights Angel Dust (Gina Carano), who’s basically a perfect match for him, strength-wise. And Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) is there to show the audience that no matter how cool and witty Deadpool thinks he is, all teenage girls have the innate ability to reduce anyone to a cowering pile of nebulous vapour. Ah, the glorious ways N.T.W. trolls him! Like, slow your roll, Wade. Your alter ego's name may be the movie’s title, but this chick can become a friggin' negasonic warhead. Actually, without the female characters in Deadpool, there wouldn’t even be an impetus for the plot. Wade leaves Vanessa in the middle of the night to get turned into a superhero as a last resort to fight his cancer. He continues to track Francis (Ed Skrein), the evil doctor who turned him into Deadpool, because he thinks Francis can fix his face, the only thing keeping Wade from revealing himself to Vanessa again. Negasonic Teenage Warhead puts Wade in his place with a well-timed glare or long, uncomfortable silence when he gets too cocky or starts showboating. I want her to have her own movie or Netflix show immediately. So, just to do a quick recap: Deadpool is a superhero movie in which the protagonist has zero interest in being a hero, and actively hates on all other superhero movies. No one is trying to save the world, which, to be honest, gets a little tired after a while (maybe disassemble every so often, Avengers). Ryan Reynolds shows his bare butt, which should be the source of a thousand discussions about the end of hypermasculine heteronormativity and implied sexual power dynamics. The female characters rock. And, most important of all, Deadpool’s suit isn’t green, nor is it animated. Someone write a fucking thank you note to whomever made that call. And now, let the sing-along commence: Viva, la vie bohème!