After two record-breaking movies, Deadpool has become one of the biggest pop culture icons of the last five years. Fans have fallen in love with the character’s humor and the films’ gratuitous violence. Few other characters in recent memory have broken the fourth wall so brazenly, and Wade Wilson always has perfectly timed jokes, which are often aimed at his contemporaries, up his sleeve. Wade Wilson’s first solo movie was stuck in development for a long time and it didn’t seem likely to see the light of day. Luckily, some of the film’s test footage got leaked and fans were hungry for more. The movie finally hit theaters in 2016 and it was an incredible success.
As with any adaptation, the writers had to make some changes to the Merc with a Mouth to make him suitable for the big screen. To create a franchise, the writers had to make Wade Wilson likeable. In the comics, before he became the Regenerating Degenerate, Wilson was a jerk that treated people horribly. The character had to change if his first solo movie had any chance of being successful. So, the writers made him likeable and somewhat heroic from the start. This alteration is just one of the many ways that the Deadpool movies have differed from the comics. Some of these changes have improved the character; some of them proved that the comics did a better job capturing certain aspects of Wade Wilson. With that being said, we’ve decided to list some of the ways that the movies improve upon the comics, as well as some of the ways that the comics are better.
19 MOVIES: WEASEL
T.J. Miller’s portrayal of Weasel is arguably one of the best parts of the Deadpool franchise. In the first movie, Miller shined as Wilson’s best friend, and he delivered some of the funniest lines. In some ways, the film didn’t accurately portray Weasel, as the comic book version of the character is a valuable asset due to being a source of information and firepower. Plus, in the comics, Deadpool treats Weasel terribly. In the movie, Weasel is little more than a Wilson’s buddy and a goofy bartender.
Still, the film makes it work. Weasel is a crucial part of the story in both movies. Unfortunately, it seems that the character won’t return in the franchise’s future movies.
18 COMICS: CABLE
It might be unfair to judge Deadpool’s relationship with Cable; the latter didn’t debut until the second movie and it would have been difficult to fully capture Nathan Summers’ character and Deadpool’s relationship with the time-traveling mutant. The sequel had the tall task of introducing Cable, providing some of his backstory and portraying him as both a villain and a hero. Still, the movie only scratched the surface of the connection between these two characters.
In the comics, Wilson and Cable were originally enemies but they eventually became permanently linked allies. The movie briefly covered this evolution but the comics have featured many dynamics of their relationship. Hopefully, X-Force will dig deeper into this partnership.
17 MOVIES: BLIND AL
Like Weasel, Blind Al is one of the best parts of the franchise. Wilson doesn’t treat her very well but their dynamic rarely fails to make the viewer laugh. In the movies, these two characters are just an odd pairing of roommates. In the comics, though, the reader eventually learns that Wilson kept Al as a prisoner.
This version of the relationship would not have worked in the movie. Viewers needed to like Wilson and the revelation that he kept an old woman against her will would have turned most viewers against the antihero. So, in both films, Al is Wilson’s friend and, somewhat, confidant.
16 COMICS: ORIGIN OF POWERS
The first Deadpool movie gave viewers the antihero’s origin story. The film took bits and pieces of Wilson’s various backstories and formed a new iteration. While it effectively gives Wade his powers and sets up his rivalry with Ajax, the comics offer a more intriguing version of Deadpool’s origins.
Typically, as the story goes, Wilson was a subject of the Weapon X program. When the experiment failed, he was sent to Department K, which was loosely adapted in the movie. But the film doesn’t connect Wilson to Weapon X, which deprives the character of an organic link to Wolverine. The various jokes about Logan would resonate even more if the movie included Wilson’s history with Weapon X.
15 MOVIES: ORIGIN OF NAME
When a character gets superpowers, it’s only natural to come up with an alias. Sometimes, the origin stories of these names can fascinating in their own right. For example, Wade Wilson didn’t randomly pick his superhero name. In the movie, Wilson borrowed it from the “dead pool” at Sister Margaret’s. At the Hellhouse, there’s a board where people place bets on who will be the next person to exit the land of living. Wilson takes the board’s name as his own.
In the comics, the Hellhouse didn’t have a dead pool but the Workshop did. Both versions of the story are effective but the big screen made the origin of Wade’s superhero name more interesting.
14 COMICS: WADE'S COPING SKILLS
Wade Wilson’s battle with cancer is a recurring theme in both movies. In the first one, Wilson’s (problematic) coping strategies after his cancer diagnosis shape the rest of the story. Even though Vanessa wants to help Wade in his time of need, he abandons her soon after the couple learns about his illness. Then, Wade goes to the Workshop and the rest is history.
In the comics, Wade ditched Vanessa before he got sick. Plus, he didn’t reunite with her until long after his transformation. The movie wanted to capture a love story, so it altered this relationship to meet that goal. However, the comics stayed true to Wilson’s character.
12 MOVIES: VANESSA
Wilson’s relationship with Vanessa is a critical story element in both movies. On the screen, their romance is both unusual and fairly straightforward. But, in the comics, Wilson and Vanessa weren’t always a happy couple. Early on, their relationship is little more than that of a service provider and their customer and Vanessa is one of Wilson’s many flings. In the comics, these characters weren’t the star-crossed lovers the film made them out to be.
The films made their relationship more compelling and, generally, romantic. The couple even considers starting a family together, which could provide endless storytelling possibilities in future movies.
11 COMICS: WADE'S INSANITY
Wade Wilson is known for his insanity. The movies capture the character’s wacky personality but viewers don’t get the sense that Deadpool has lost his mind. In the comics, Wade’s craziness is one of the most recognizable components of the Regenerating Degenerate.
Specifically, Deadpool hears a plethora of voices in his head, and he frequently talks to them. These discussions often offer a preview of Wade’s mindset at any given moment. The voices are often an effective source of the comedy, so it seems that the movies missed an opportunity to exploit a goldmine of humor. Sure, they didn’t lack jokes but the omission of these voices is fairly disappointing.
10 MOVIES: AJAX/WORKSHOP
In the comics, the story about the Workshop, Ajax and Dr. Killebrew is long, complex and multifaceted. There, Killebrew is Wilson’s true rival. Deadpool had a lot of ground to cover, and trying to include this complicated origin story would have overloaded the film. So, instead, the viewer gets a shorter, simpler version of Deadpool’s origins, which allows the film to thrive.
It’s easy for the viewer to get invested in Wilson’s personal rivalry with Ajax, and we still get a good look at Wade’s time in the Workshop. Anything else would have been excessive for a film that was already packed with material.
9 COMICS: CRAZY STORIES
The man under the mask isn’t the only thing that’s crazy in a Deadpool story. The character’s adventures themselves are notoriously bizarre. Wade has teamed up with a vampiric cow and a group of sentient animals. He has also battled zombified versions of world leaders. Let’s not forget about the Merc With a Mouth’s mission to take out icons of Western Literature, such as Moby Dick.
Deadpool’s stories are usually unpredictable and they embrace the absurd. In the movies, Wilson’s adventures are fairly grounded. Wade’s mission to take down Francis wasn’t inherently hard to believe. The comics have a lot more freedom in their ability to showcase some wild experiences.
8 MOVIES: LIKABLE FROM THE START
As with his relationship with Blind Al, the writers had to make Wade Wilson more likable to get viewers to immediately invest in the character. As a result, in the first movie, from the start, Wilson has a Deadpool-like sense of humor and he’s a (relatively) good guy. For example, he saves a girl from a stalker, which establishes him as a “hero.”
In the comics, Wilson wasn’t a likable guy --he was a jerk with sociopathic tendencies. Wilson only became the Deadpool we know and love after he lost his mind during extensive experimentation. Thankfully, the movie makes it easy for viewers to root for Wilson right away.
7 COMICS: VILLANOUS TENDENCIES
Who would have thought that Wade Wilson would become one of the most famous antiheroes in pop culture? When he debuted in The New Mutants #98, he was a villain and he kept that persona for his first several appearances. The character gradually morphed into an antihero but, now and then, he still regresses to his villainous side.
In Secret Empire, Deadpool does Captain America’s dirty work. It only came to light later that this Steve Rogers was not the same one that Wilson had idolized. Rogers coerced Deadpool into doing some despicable things and it took Wilson a while to return to the (relatively) heroic side of the costumed community.
6 MOVIES: SISTER MARGARET'S
Both movies featured the Hellhouse, or Sister Margaret’s School for Wayward Children, as a bar and, subsequently, a social hub in Wade’s life. Weasel is a bartender at Sister Margaret’s, and Wade meets Vanessa there. In the comics, this establishment is quite different. Here, the Hellhouse is just a place where criminals hang out, Weasel isn’t the bartender, and there’s no “dead pool.”
The movies successfully make the Hellhouse an important place; many scenes and plot developments involve Sister Margaret’s. It would have been difficult to feature a lowly hangout for criminals, so the writers wisely made the Hellhouse a semi-respectable establishment.
5 COMICS: DEADPOOL HAS DEPTH
Going back to Secret Empire, the event, and its aftermath, showed that Wade Wilson is more than a lovable clown. Wilson’s work for “Stevil Rogers” scarred the Merc with a Mouth, both during the main story and the few months after it, when Wade had to cope with his crimes. Wilson was ashamed of his actions and heartbroken over the realization that he let a false idol mislead him.
The movies don’t successfully capture this multi-dimensional personality. The sequel offered some hints, as Wade coped with the loss of Vanessa and he took a wayward boy under his wing. But the comics have a better track record of letting Deadpool get serious.
4 MOVIES: TEAM LEADER
In the sequel, the Merc with a Mouth leads the creation of X-Force. Weasel helps Wilson recruit some C-listers, in addition to a legitimate hero in Domino, to the team. The first lineup of the team was destined to fail but, by the end of the film, the group looks like a credible assembly of heroes. All along, Deadpool is the leader of the team, which displays some growth for the character from the first movie to the next.
But, in the comics, Cable is the head honcho of X-Force. Wilson battles Cable and his teammates and, even when the Regenerating Degenerate joins the team, Cable is the one in charge. Making Wilson the leader is an improvement from the comics.
3 COMICS: BROMANCE WITH SPIDER-MAN
Wade Wilson’s relationship with Spider-Man is one of the most compelling aspects of the Merc with a Mouth. At times, they’re enemies but they also have a complicated love-hate bromance that fans can’t get enough of. The Spider-Man/Deadpool team-up series has been going strong and the two heroes have gotten into some unforgettable shenanigans.
Fans would love to see the quirky dynamic between these two characters on the big screen. Unfortunately, complications with the rights to Spider-Man made the cinematic debut of this relationship impossible. Peter Parker was nowhere to be found in either of Deadpool’s first two movies, but due to the Disney-Fox merger, anything could happen down the road.
2 MOVIES: THE ESSENCE OF DEADPOOL
It’s fair to say that the true measure of success for the adaptation of any previously established character is how well the new version captures the heart and the essence of its source material. In a lot of ways, Deadpool exceeds the comics in its portrayal of the character’s soul. To put it another way, after seeing two movies, can you imagine anyone but Ryan Reynolds as the Merc with a Mouth?
For many fans, the Regenerating Degenerate will always be Reynolds. This effect often holds true for the best portrayals of heroes and villains; just as Reynolds is now closely linked with the antihero, Hugh Jackman is tied to Wolverine and Robert Downey Jr. is linked with Iron Man.
1 COMICS: CHIMICHANGAS
“Time to make chimichangas” is one of Deadpool’s lines in the first movie and it has become a fan favorite, but it wasn’t a random attempt to be funny. In the comics, the character has a long-running association with chimichangas. There are even various lines of merchandise that display Wade’s love of the deep-fried burrito.
As it turns out, his taste for chimichanga’s came from an inside joke amongst writers, but in the pages of the comics, it looks like Wade just loves the Mexican/Spanish dish. In the movies, viewers don’t see this staple of Wade Wilson. He eats one chimichanga and utters the classic line. But chimichangas are largely absent from both of the character’s solo movies.