Deadpool Movie Trailer Analysis

Now that we've gotten to see Deadpool in action, we can run a comb through the footage and see who's who and what's what.

Well, now! As shown on last night’s Conan and all over the internet, we’ve finally been blessed with the Deadpool movie trailer. After the biggest misstep with 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool is getting a mulligan. The whole X-Men universe has been rebooted, so let’s pretend that the mouthless, laser-eyed final boss incarnation never happened.

This new movie is directed by Tim Miller with a screenplay by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. It’ll open nationwide on February 12, 2016 and it’s rated R. You can see how R-rated it is by watching the redband trailer, which features bloody stuff, sailor language, and lady butts. You have been warned.

Now that that’s done with, let’s break down the trailer. I should point out that I read a leaked version of the early screenplay years back, so even though stuff got changed over rewrites, I still have some idea of the context. I’ll try not to give too much away.

We begin with a look at a woman identifying Ryan Reynolds as Wade Wilson and saying she loves him. Wade Wilson is, of course, Deadpool. Deadpool was introduced in New Mutants #98 (1991) by Fabian Nicieza and Rob Liefeld. A renowned mercenary and expert killer, Deadpool started as an antagonist for Cable and X-Force before becoming more of an antihero. Co-creator Nicieza first hinted at Deadpool’s origins in Deadpool: The Circle Chase #3 (1993), which was the first miniseries to star the character.

The woman with him is Vanessa Carlysle, as played by Morena Baccarin. In the comics, Carlysle was a mutant known as Copycat, who was essentially Mystique (down to the blue skin), only with the ability to copy abilities. She too was introduced in New Mutants #98, though as a technicality since she was disguised as Domino and didn’t reveal her true form until two years later in X-Force #19 (1993). Whether or not she’s a mutant in the movie is up in the air, though unlikely.

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What’s important here isn’t her history as an assassin, but her history as Wade’s initial love interest. Wade is a hired killer and Vanessa is a prostitute, which I suppose is meant to say something about their tendencies to do illegal (and “immoral”) acts for the right price. As Wade mentions, he has been stricken with an overdose of cancer. He’s basically screwed.

Deadpool: The Circle Chase briefly shows Wade breaking up with Vanessa, but Joe Kelly and Aaron Lopresti expanded on it in Deadpool #-1 (1997). Simply put, Wade had no intention of seeing the love of his life watch him slowly die in front of her and acted like a dick to spare her.

The government recruiter is played by Jed Rees. He’s nobody from the comics in particular or at least nobody important. IMDB doesn’t even give him a name!

The brief dialogue about tapping Wade’s potential and making him into a superhero does gravitate a bit towards Deadpool/Death Annual ’98 by Joe Kelly and Steve Harris. That particular issue, which mostly acts as a flashback, is incredibly important to this movie.

In the issue, Wade is interviewed by a general in Canada, who wants to have Wade experimented on so he can be turned into a superhero and potentially even join Alpha Flight. This is part of Department H, which is connected to Weapon X. You know them as the guys who captured Wolverine and forced him to have a metal skeleton.

There’s a shot of Wade being wheeled into a dark basement of a laboratory and the brief look shows that it’s anything but sanitary. Especially with a guy staggering around on the left, who appears to be whipping someone. It looks like they’re cutting right to the chase.

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See, in Deadpool/Death Annual ’98, Wade flunked out of Department H and was deemed a reject. Rather than simply toss him away, they essentially held him against his will and experimented on him for their own interest. Wade is thrown into the Hospice, where he’s treated as nothing more than a guinea pig. So in this movie, there is no first step. The government’s plan has been to give him the rough business from the very first second.

Something that stuck with me since reading the old screenplay that’s still apparent is the existing superhero concept. This is the X-Men universe and the X-Men aren’t really considered superheroes in the public sense.

During this segment, Wade jokes about not wanting his costume to be green or animated. Obviously, this is a joke about Reynolds’ previous superhero role in Green Lantern, which isn’t very well-regarded years later, especially by Reynolds himself. Deadpool’s eyes are animated in this movie, so we’re getting our first taste of our hero’s tendency to break the fourth wall. It’s one of his trademarks.

In the greenband version of the trailer, Deadpool also breaks the fourth wall a bit later by telling the movie to cue up the music.

Here we have Gina Carano as Angel Dust and Ed Skrein as Ajax, outright torturing the hell out of poor Wade.

Angel Dust is an incredibly obscure mutant character introduced in Morlocks #1 (2002) by Geoff Johns and Shawn Martinbrough. Known only as Christine, Angel Dust only appeared in that relatively unknown miniseries where she wasn’t really a villain or anything. Her power was generic super strength. She was never followed up on in any meaningful way outside of mention that she lost her powers during House of M.

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Ajax first appeared in Deadpool #14 (1998), created by Joe Kelly and Walter McDaniel. Originally, he was known as the Attending. He was also an experiment for Department H and while he was physically a success – having super strength and speed – he was too much of a sadist for them to use in a superhero fashion. Instead, they used him as an orderly in the Hospice, where he took pleasure in bullying around the experiments without any repercussions. This included Wade.

Wade eventually got wind that Attending’s real name is Francis and relentlessly made fun of him for it, egging him on repeatedly in hopes that Attending would finish the job and kill Wade for good. In the end, Wade got loose and seemingly killed Attending. He was rebuilt as a cyborg and renamed Ajax. Ajax was obsessed with killing not only Deadpool, but all escaped Weapon X rejects.

Deadpool doesn’t have too many original enemies and the list of actually good ones can be counted on your elbows. Ajax is probably the best of them, which makes it a shame that he’s only been around for one story before being killed off. He’s since only shown up through flashbacks and delusions.

What’s interesting here is the shifting of roles. In the comics, Deadpool was experimented on by a man named Dr. Killbrew, who ultimately saw the error in his ways and tried to make amends for all the horrors he was responsible for. Attending/Ajax was his muscle. In the movie, it looks like Ajax is the mad doctor with Angel Dust as his muscle. Only unlike Killbrew, there is no desire for redemption.

We see some crayons and have Salt-N-Pepa playing. Totally in-character for Deadpool. He’s childish and silly, but as we’re about to see, is more than capable of taking out waves of enemies competently.

Also, the following action sequence is more or less the scene we got to see last year when CGI test footage was leaked onto the internet. Ah, good times.

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I should probably mention that this post-Marvel-page-flippy intro is the first time we get a clean look at Deadpool’s costume. 100% accuracy, baby.

I’m probably looking way too hard into this, but that guy Deadpool’s shown shooting does have kind of a passing resemblance to fellow hired gun/antihero/Weapon X experiment Fantomex. Maybe it’s an Easter egg. Maybe it’s a coincidence. Deadpool’s certainly had his issues with him in the past.

Deadpool gets shot through the arm and seems more annoyed than anything else. We get to see that Weapon X has made him virtually unkillable through giving him one hell of a healing factor. That hole will be sealed up in moments, though he will have to do some stitching on the costume.

One running gag in basically all Deadpool comics is that he’s constantly confused for Spider-Man due to the costume, body type, and sense of humor.

Since Spider-Man’s at a different studio two different studios, this is probably the best reference to that we’re going to get.

Amidst the rapid cuts is a shot of Angel Dust strangling this man, Weasel. Here, he’s played by T.J. Miller. Weasel was created by Fabian Nicieza and Joe Madureira and first appeared in Deadpool: The Circle Chase #1 (1993). Weasel, real name Jack Hammer, is Deadpool’s weapon supplier and tech guy. Originally, he was the closest thing Wade had to a friend, but Deadpool proceeded to screw him over again and again because a lot of the time, Deadpool is kind of an asshole and in some cases a total monster. Though I wouldn’t expect anything to that extent here.

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Amongst all the action, there’s a fight inside a burning building. No idea what that’s about and I can’t even get a clean look at who’s involved.

We see a strip club followed by Wade banging Vanessa. He looks normal and her hair is a lot shorter than in the beginning of the trailer, so this is likely very, very early on in their relationship.

Hey, now! It’s Colossus! Despite being played by Daniel Cudmore in several X-Men movies, he fulfilled his three-picture deal and is now replaced with Andre Tricoteux. We all know about him, but despite being a pretty major X-Men character, Colossus has very, very little history with Deadpool.

The only time I recall them having any real interaction is Deadpool #18 (2011) by Daniel Way and Paco Medina.

In the fight, Deadpool tried headbutting Colossus, which didn’t do anything but bust up Deadpool’s face. He then removed his mask and vomited blood into Colossus’ eyes. There’s actually a fighting chance of that happening on screen.

With the references to Posh Spice and Salt-N-Pepa, you could make the argument that the movie might take place in the 1990s. It would fit the character and the X-Men movies have been playing with the whole period piece concept for the past couple years. That said, the car models and Colossus being there basically confirm it to be present day.

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Then again, the whole timeline thing is screwy. Wade Wilson existed at roughly the same age in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which took place, what 30-35 years ago? Days of Future Past’s time travel really shouldn’t alter Wade’s age like that in any way. But whatever, figuring out continuity between these movies has always been a fool’s errand.

There’s a brief shot of a girl raising an eyebrow at Colossus pimp-slapping Deadpool in what appears to take place directly after Deadpool slaughtered all those guys in the earlier action sequence. This is Negasonic Teenage Warhead, named after a song by Monster Magnet (editor’s note: an awesome song). Played by Brianna Hildebrand, Negasonic is another super-obscure X-character. She appeared in New X-Men #115 (2001), created by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely, but was then shown to be dead in the very next issue.

Then she popped up in later comics to remind us that she existed and died once upon a time. Her powers were telepathy and precognition.

Much like Angel Dust, there’s no mention of Negasonic in the leaked screenplay. Angel Dust at the very least is replacing at least one character’s role, mainly due to the change in gender. Negasonic Teenage Warhead, from the images we’ve seen, appears to be something of a teen sidekick for Deadpool and that’s very new to me.

Leslie Uggams plays Blind Al, who is Deadpool’s sarcastic mother figure. Blind Al first appeared in Deadpool #1 (1997), created by Joe Kelly and Ed McGuinness. In the comics, Al is white, mainly to make her appear more like Aunt May. She resembles May enough that she once had to pretend to be her and nobody figured out the difference. Ultimately, she’s supposed to be a more dysfunctional take on the character and acts as Deadpool’s roommate…against her will.

It was played up for laughs originally, but became increasingly dark and disturbing when we saw the true meaning of their relationship. Despite that, Blind Al would usually mess with Wade on a regular basis and, when it’s truly necessary, give him some strong advice.

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Oh, and she dated Steve Rogers back during World War II. She’s been around.

Finally, a clear look at Deadpool unmasked. Yes, the horrible experiments have done some serious damage. In the comics, the explanation changes bit by bit. Is he covered in tumors? Is he constantly regenerating scar tissue? Depends on the writer.

Artists depict him differently all the time as well. Sometimes he’s melty. Sometimes he’s burnt. Sometimes he’s simply ugly. Everyone appears to have their own vision. The first time we ever got an idea that something was up was in Circle Chase, where we saw him unmasked from behind.

As far as I know, the first real look at Deadpool’s gross face came from the first issue of Mark Waid and Ian Churchill’s Deadpool miniseries in 1994. Back then, Deadpool was incredibly ashamed of his appearance, but he grew to accept it over the years. Still, he does get a bit self-conscious when people bring it up from time to time.

Which reminds me. Weasel makes reference to Wade looking like Freddy Krueger. That comparison comes up occasionally, including recently in Hawkeye vs. Deadpool #1, where Kate Bishop Hawkeye mistakenly thinks he’s being Freddy for Halloween.

The rest of the trailer is neat action stuff and one-liners. Nothing especially illuminating, outside of knowing that Ajax probably won’t be wearing his helmet and armor from the comics.

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Having DMX’s “X Gon’ Give it to Ya” play is incredibly cute in how on the nose it is.

And that’s our mature audiences trailer. Fun times. Very little of the actual plot is explained outside of Deadpool’s initial origin, but you don’t want to give everything away. We’ll just have to wait for February.

Oh, wait. Before I forget, I would be totally remiss if I didn’t post this bit from Cable/Deadpool #2.

It’s from 2004. Five years before Reynolds played Deadpool to begin with. Fun how that works out, isn’t it?

Gavin Jasper is wondering how many sequels we’d need before Shiklah shows up on the big screen. Follow him on Twitter!

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