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Toxic Masculinity Is Holding Deadpool Back

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WARNING: The following article includes spoilers for Deadpool 2, in theaters now.

In the third act of Deadpool 2, Wade Wilson stands outside Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, holds up a miniature boombox and serenades his bestest friend Colossus into forgiving him. Wade has once again screwed up his chances of being an X-Man and this time he did it so publicly this nicest-ever version of Colossus is mad at him - but not for long. He, of course, shows up in time for the film’s climactic battle. No matter how much of a fuckup Wade is, or how inappropriate he gets, Colossus can’t help but forgive him. He cares about, and perhaps more importantly, believes in Wade too much not to.

Deadpool established Wade as a no-homo sexual harasser, equal opportunity with boundary-crossing jokes and touches, and Deadpool 2 leans still further into this, suggesting maybe (tee hee) some aspects of Wade’s sexuality have gone unexamined. Maybe… homo?

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The film builds on Wade and Piotr’s sort-of friendship from the first film to give them something more substantial. This time, there’s a sense of real care between these two, or at least of more time spent together than Deadpool suggested. The film does it by mining '80s teen movies and romantic dramas. Wade is bridal-carried by Piotr when he’s injured, Wade serenades Piotr, and Piotr does more than tolerate Wade; in this film, he seems to actually like him, no matter how annoying Wade gets. Theirs is a bromance constructed wholly out of romantic tropes, with no real bro moments in sight. It's all high stakes drama, and no sitting on the couch watching Golden Girls.

In the last act, as Wade prepares to let go of a temporarily ghostly Vanessa, he jokes that she can’t ghost-sleep with Elvis in the after life. She responds by joking that he can’t actual-sleep with Colossus. “Wait, what?” is his reaction. It’s a shock to him, despite his spending two whole movies joking about how attractive Piotr is. For this Wade, being genuinely attracted to men, as opposed to criminally harassing them, is a joke. It’s foundational, even, a joke that props up his juvenile distancing routine. A way to ensure he will never have a real relationship outside of Vanessa, that no one will ever take Wade the person, as opposed to Wade the killer, seriously. Wade’s inappropriateness is as much a defense mechanism as it is an ill-grown sense of humor.

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