WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Zombieland: Double Tap, in theaters now.
Zombieland: Double Tap continues director Ruben Fleischer's vision of an America overrun by zombies, with little pockets of humanity struggling to survive. A sequel to the 2009 hit, the movie finds Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), his girlfriend Wichita (Emma Stone) and den father Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) going on the road to bring back Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) after she ran away to a hippie commune with no fortification.
Seeing as the first film had quite a few pop culture references, plus the fact Fleischer -- who directed Sony's Venom -- and the writers (Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick, Dave Callaham) all work on superhero films, it's no surprise this new journey is laden with even more of these Easter eggs. Let's break down some of these fanboy moments.
TOO MUCH TERMINATOR
Columbus' team realizes rumors are true of zombies evolving and becoming harder to kill. When they run into one, they dub this breed the T-800s. The movements of the zombies and the way they are able to walk through shotgun shells is very similar to James Cameron's robots in the popular Terminator franchise.
The T-800 Terminator was Skynet's first cybernetic organism, with living tissue over a hyperalloy endoskeleton. This made it Skynet's first successful Infiltrator unit, capable of infiltrating the Resistance, and more so, it was super-resilient and tough to kill. Columbus' love for the franchise comes out even more when he keeps dropping lines like "Hasta la vista!" and "I'll be back!" -- iconic lines from Cameron's series and the robot played by Arnold Schwarzenegger.
THE LORD OF THE RINGS LOVE TRIANGLE
When Columbus' crew finds a home they can shack up in and live for a long time, it's none other than the White House. However, because they get bored quickly they often have Christmas early, which involves gift exchanges. The latest one has Wichita giving Columbus a first edition of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, but as appreciative as he is for the gesture, he's distraught on the inside as she writes a love note in it. Being a nerd, he'd have preferred it in pristine condition, although he hides his sadness pretty well.
He shows more of his Tolkien love later when the rebound chick he gets after Wichita panics and leaves following a proposal, the ditzy Madison (Zoey Deutch), wears "Law and Mordor" tee. Wichita is pissed when she sees the blonde rocking the cool tee, which has the Eye of Sauron on it, indicating she may well have lost her place.
THE DRAGON LAIR TEE
In the early half of the film, before Columbus decides to reconcile with Wichita, he's heartbroken and "sickeningly depressed," according to Tallahassee. So much so, all he does in wallow in self-pity, wearing his Dragon's Lair tee. It's his comfort tee, and it doesn't seem he's even taken showers, clearly missing the love of his life.
He expresses how much he loved in the game, TV show and comics in the past for how they portrayed Dirk the Daring fighting off mythical monsters to win the heart of Princess Daphne. Of course, in his mind he's Dirk and Wichita is his Daphne, which annoys Tallahassee, as he urges his comrade to literally leave the childhood nostalgia behind, grow up and also literally clean his act up.
THE WORTHY THOR
When the heroes finally put all differences aside and arrive at the commune, Babylon, they're shocked to find they have to give their weapons up. The hippies stupidly melt them down in the name of peace, so when the T-800s invade, they're weaponless. Tallahassee, however, finds a mallet and squashes some of the undead as if he were Thor. Tallahassee enjoys using the mallett and mocks Odinson's behavior while using it. The scene is made all the more fun by Columbus clearly loving the geek session.
When he passes the mallet to Columbus, the latter calls Tallahassee "Thor" and kneels so that he "could be worthy of this great gift." It hints they're even bigger Marvel fans than first assumed, and shocks audiences by having Tallahassee go into role-play mode this heavily.
Directed by Ruben Fleischer from a script by Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick and David Callaham, Zombieland: Double Tap stars Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Jesse Eisenberg and Abigail Breslin. The film is in theaters now.
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