‘Deadpool 2’: 1 Big Problem Fans Have With Vanessa’s Story
By most measures, Deadpool 2 is a major success. There had been some fear that Marvel’s sequel to the 2016 breakout hit Deadpool wouldn’t be able to hit the mark, and there were real reasons for that. Deadpool was a major surprise among audiences, performing well at the box office and kicking off what is sure to be a full-blown franchise of its own.
The second movie, starring Ryan Reynolds as Wade Wilson (Deadpool) and Josh Brolin as the time-traveling Cable, is hilarious and hits all the right notes. But there is one major problem that many fans have with the movie (page 5). Spoilers for Deadpool 2 to follow!
Trying to have a baby
After an opening montage that shows us Deadpool taking various jobs and killing various assorted bad guys, we see our (anti) hero get sloppy with a job and a bad guy gets away. Following a daring escape, Wilson returns home to his girlfriend from the first movie, Vanessa — played by Morena Baccarin. The two pick up right where the first movie left off, but with one major twist: Vanessa is ready to start trying to have a baby.
With news that the pair is planning to start a family, with hilarious discussions of potential names to follow, we should’ve known things were about to go sideways. The bad guys had tracked Wade back to his apartment, and it got messy.
Next: That very sad moment
They kill her off immediately
After taking down almost all the bad guys with kitchen knives, one last guy slips past Deadpool’s cheese spreader. He fires off a bullet, but misses Wade and hits Vanessa straight in the heart. After holding his love as she died in his arms, Wade chases the guy down and grabs him in the street as a massive truck runs them both over.
It’s the emotional crux of the movie, for sure. Deadpool fans know that the sarcastic mutant with the inability to die is a lot of fun, but also comes with some tear-jerking moments. Lest we forget, the entire cancer storyline from the first movie. Deadpool 2 thrusts us right into the saddest moments before the credits even roll.
Next: Wade Wilson’s reaction
Understandably, Wade is crushed
Following Vanessa’s death, Wade tries to commit suicide. It’s played up for gags, of course, featuring a hilarious Logan themed music box and a lit cigarette being thrown into a barrel of gasoline. But even blowing himself into little tiny pieces can’t stop Deadpool from regenerating, and from there Wade is taken by Colossus to recover at the X-Mansion.
While there, Wade plays the role of the sad sack. He struggles to find a reason to keep going, but still finds time to make jokes and ride around in Professor Xavier’s mechanical wheelchair. But after having a vision about Vanessa, he finds new purpose and decides to join the X-Men (as a trainee). This is what kicks off the main plot of Deadpool 2.
Next: Vanessa as a plot device
Vanessa’s death sparks his change
Semi-frequent visions of Vanessa, alone in their apartment like it was before she died, helps Wade to find his true calling. It’s from there that he meets Russell, the chubby fire-balling mutant that has been abused by the Headmaster of the Essex School for Mutants. Wilson takes it upon himself to try to redeem the child, who has developed understandable anger issues but is going down the path of no return.
According to Cable, who is from the future, Russell’s first kill (the Headmaster) gives him a taste for blood and leads to many more deaths — including Cable’s wife and daughter. In the end, Deadpool even goes as far as to sacrifice his own life — in yet another moment that nods to Logan — to save Russell. Of course, everything ends up fine. One last vision of Vanessa informs Wade that it’s not his time yet, and his life is spared (thanks to Cable).
Next: Why Vanessa’s story angers some fans
Vanessa got ‘fridged’
The problem in Deadpool 2 is that Vanessa got “fridged.” If you’re unfamiliar with this old comic book trope, here is what Abraham Reisman of Vulture wrote about it.
In 1999, writer Gail Simone coined one of the most enduring phrases of modern pop-culture analysis: “women in refrigerators.” Now a beloved comics writer, Simone was, at the time, just a fan and critic, and she was upset about a recent Green Lantern story line. It had featured GL’s girlfriend being murdered and stuffed into a refrigerator by a supervillain … She and her supporters felt that, all too often, female characters are killed off solely in order to give a male hero the motivation to get even.
Deadpool 2 often goes out of its way to be progressive. Deadpool makes jokes about cultural appropriation, points out flaws in other comic book movie tropes, and even features a few LGBTQ characters. But when it comes to “fridging” Vanessa, the movie missed the mark. And the response from the writers only made things worse.
Next: How the writers reacted to the accusation
They didn’t even know
Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, who co-wrote the script with actor Ryan Reynolds, saw no problem with “fridging” Vanessa. That’s mainly because they had no clue it was even a thing.
“I would say no, we didn’t even think about it. And that was maybe our mistake, not to think about it. But it didn’t really even occur to us,” Reese says. “We didn’t know what fridging was.”
For a movie that tries to be progressive in the lens through which it views the “superhero world,” this is kind of hard to swallow. The defense of “fridging” Vanessa is really no defense at all. Although, they did have their reasons for doing what they did.
Next: Why Vanessa got ‘fridged’
Reese explains the thought process
Reese did explain why the movie kills Vanessa so early, and it does make some sense. However, it’s still just a band-aid over the fact that they succumbed to an extremely sexist, old trope.
“In the very first drafts of the script, Vanessa didn’t die,” Reese continues. “She ended up breaking up with Deadpool, and he was trying to earn her back. Then I think at some point somebody just said, ‘Y’know, Deadpool kind of works best when he’s had everything taken away from him, when he suffers.’ So the thought was maybe we can really, really engender great suffering for him by having his line of work be the thing that costs Vanessa her life.”
The good news is, they might get a chance to make it right after all.
Next: Vanessa may return after all
Vanessa’s return is a do-over
In Deadpool 2‘s hilarious post-credit scenes, we see Negasonic Teenage Warhead fixing up Cable’s time-traveling device and handing it off to Wade. Before she can even lament the major mistake she has made, he’s traveling off to right some wrongs. What followed is a hysterical montage, and the righting of one very major wrong: Wade goes back and saves Vanessa from dying.
That pretty much confirms that the character will return for future movies, which is good. Fans love the character, and Baccarin does an outstanding job in the role. She should be made a part of Deadpool‘s story, not simply a plot device. Hopefully, they’ll do right by her in the future and not just stuff her in a refrigerator.
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