WARNING: The following article includes spoilers for Deadpool 2, in theaters now.
At its best, Deadpool 2 is a fun sequel that gave representation to the LGBTQ community. For the first time in Fox’s X-Men universe, there was an on-screen relationship between two female superheroes, Negasonic Teenage Warhead and Yukio. Another source of empowerment in this sequel was Zazie Beetz’s lucky Domino, who was the scene-stealing breakout star of the film. (Seriously, no one would object to giving her a spin-off!)
However, at its worst, Deadpool 2 severely mishandles its other female characters, particularly in how the sequel’s writers chose to motivate their male characters. Once again, another comic book movie utilized the tired trope of “fridging.”
What is Fridging?
In the late ‘90s, Gail Simone coined the term “women in refrigerators,” which is now known as “fridging,” in response to an unfortunate Green Lantern storyline where Kyle Rayner found his girlfriend Alexandra’s dead body stuffed in a fridge. Simone realized that female characters in comics and other forms of pop culture entertainment were often killed, maimed or raped in order to give the male hero motivation to act. In essence, a female character dies or is hideously injured so that the male character can be developed. As a plot device, fridging is truly an epidemic in the comic book field; This list covers just some of fridging’s victims.
It’s been about 20 years since Simone put a label on fridging, yet it continues to plague the entertainment industry. Avengers: Infinity War, the most recent comic book movie prior to Deadpool 2, had fans and critics discussing Gamora’s death as an example of fridging, for example. To give its villain, Thanos, some shades of humanity, the writers killed a developed, capable female character.
In Deadpool 2, Vanessa, Wade’s fiancee, didn’t have as much screen time as Gamora to be fully developed, but there’s no mistake that her death was solely to motivate Deadpool and act as a catalyst for the film’s plot. That is the exact definition of fridging.
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