Ever since Tobey Maguire put on his Spider-Man costume in 2002, we've been inundated with films following superheros of both the Marvel and DC Comics universes. There are some pretty phenomenal women in the stories now (big shout-out to Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman), but there is no denying the majority of superheroes are largely based on male characters — and boy, are these characters the traditional ideation of male!
They are strong, muscular, powerful, charming, handsome, athletic, and generally loyal to one particular female. In short, they are hyperconventional, magical versions of men. However, Marvel's Deadpool is a special case. The antihero is more of a criminal than his counterparts. He isn't sparkly clean in his appearance without his costume, his corrupt past is nothing to brag about, and he comes across crass, rude, flippant, and mouthy. It's these qualities that make him so special. He's a breath of fresh air!
Apart from these characteristics, there is much interest regarding Deadpool's sexuality. His character in the comic books has been labeled as pansexual, which is a huge deal for any mainstream hero. (For those of you who need to catch up on terminology, pansexual describes a person who is fluid in their sexuality, meaning that they do not have a preference based on gender or gender identity.)
Deadpool writer Rhett Reese even said regarding Deadpool's pansexuality, "We knew that was part of the comics. We wanted to honour that in the movie."
But is Deadpool actually pansexual in the films?
The hero has an onscreen girlfriend in Vanessa. In keeping with Deadpool's story, Vanessa is a sex worker and his feelings for her ground him, exposing his humanity throughout the films. But he can love a woman and still be attracted to other people — does the new film address this?
There have been arguments that due to his regenerative cell power, Deadpool can literally be fluid, constantly regenerating as a person who is sometimes homosexual and sometimes heterosexual, just depending on the new cells he grows. This concept makes his powers a metaphor for pansexuality in a sense.
In a more obvious sense, clues to Deadpool's sexuality can be found in his trademark one-liners. He lightens the severity of situations with his scrappy comments that revolve around sexual, sometimes flirtatious, jokes, mostly at the expense of the men (or even fellow superheroes) who he is alongside at the time.
Either way, Deadpool 2 does feature an LGBTQ+ relationship (not including the title character), which is at least a step in the direction of diversity. So look forward to a little shake-up in the superhero world; it just became more progressive, layered, and potentially relatable to a much broader audience!