Wade Wilson is aware that he lives in a fictional world. Part of what made Deadpool such a favorite amongst comic book lovers before he was ever a big-screen hero — other than the violence and general foul-mouthedness of his comics — was the character’s habit of breaking the fourth wall. In Marvel’s comics, Deadpool regularly turns to the audience staring at him through the pages of a comic book and addresses them, confusing his page-bound counterparts and eliciting plenty of laughs along the way.
**SPOILER WARNING: This post contains spoilers for Deadpool 2.**
Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool carries on the Merc with a Mouth’s fourth wall tradition as the narrator of both of his big-screen solo outings and by referencing out-of-world events. Deadpool 2 cranks up the anti-hero’s meta mouth to a whole new level, though. One of the film’s biggest ongoing gags is a collection of references to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which just celebrated its 10-year anniversary and the premiere of the record-smashing Avengers: Infinity War. While Deadpool is very much a Marvel character, he and the rest of Marvel’s mutants (including the X-Men) have belonged to 20th Century Fox. An upcoming merger might change that and put Deadpool in the same room as Tony Stark’s Iron Man. And while that has yet to be seen, what a day that would be!
For now, though, Deadpool does not exist in the same universe as the Avengers. But that doesn’t mean he’s not aware of them. Wade Wilson is very much aware of the MCU. Here are all the MCU references he made in Deadpool 2.
"Zip it, Thanos!"
Brolin’s role in two superhero-based movies premiering within a month of each other — as Cable in Deadpool 2 and Avengers: Infinity War’s Big Bad, Thanos — was basically begging Deadpool to make at least one crack at Cable. Some of Deadpool 2’s trailers included Wade’s “Zip it, Thanos” comment, but it was still fun to hear it in the film. That no one else in the room understands the joke (including Cable) makes it all the better.
Cable’s “Winter Soldier” arm
Technically, Deadpool calls Cable a “grumpy old f***er with a Winter Soldier arm.” Josh Brolin’s Cable and Sebastian Stan’s Winter Soldier share a few things: Deep trauma, insanely adept fighting skills, and, most importantly, a metal arm.
Is it a coincidence that both of their metal arms happen to be on the left? Who knows. But the similarity is striking.
“Give me a bow and arrow, I'm basically Hawkeye!”
When Deadpool and Russell are imprisoned in a mutant facility, they get power-deadening necklaces slapped on them. Without his powers, Deadpool loses his healing abilities, which means the cancer wracking his body had nothing holding it back anymore. Wade is left to cough up blood and shiver in the corner but, of course, dampening the Merc’s sense of humor is an impossible task. He tells Russell that he can’t help him without his powers. He’s helpless. “Give me a bow and arrow, I’m basically Hawkeye!” he says, taking a shot at, arguably, the MCU Avengers’ least effective member, Jeremy Renner’s arrow-slinging Clint Barton, aka Hawkeye.
Deadpool’s taxi-driving bestie/hitman mentee Dopinder gets the “Brown Panther” reference, a nod to Marvel’s Black Panther, played by Chadwick Boseman in Captain America: Civil War, Black Panther, and Avengers: Infinity War. While Dopinder’s skills are just… slightly less effective than T’Challa’s, he’s got a lot of heart. And that’s what really counts, right?
"Black Black Widow"
While in the middle of one of their quickly-characteristic back-and-forths, Deadpool tells Zazie Beetz’s Domino to “Zip it, black Black Widow,” playing off Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow.
Wade’s quip reads as more than just a play on words. If you look at the X-Force lineup and the original Avengers lineup (the one that saved NYC in 2012’s The Avengers), both teams were stacked with a bunch of men and one woman in a skin-tight tactical suit. And yet, both of those women, Beetz’s Domino and Johansson’s Black Widow, were integral to the success of their teams and powerhouses in their own rights.
“Hey, big guy, sun’s gettin' real low.”
One of the biggest surprises of Deadpool 2 was its Juggernaut cameo. Not only did Juggernaut provide the movie’s obligatory CGI fight with Colossus (voiced by Stefan Kapicic), he also provided Deadpool with an opportunity for, arguably, his best MCU reference in the film.
“Hey, big guy, sun’s gettin' real low,” Deadpool says to Juggernaut, referencing how the Avengers go about calming the Hulk and forcing him to transform back into Bruce Banner. The tactic was first introduced by Black Widow in Age of Ultron and was played up for laughs in Thor: Ragnarok. It usually works for the Avengers; it absolutely did not work for Deadpool.