The Deadpool movies are famous for many things – breaking the fourth wall, being rated R etc. – and one of those things is their pop culture references. According to Ryan Reynolds, the references are chosen and placed into the script very carefully: “You want them sprinkled throughout the movie. You don’t wanna overdo [it], though, either, and you try to...find stuff that’s not...just of the moment and out the next second. Sometimes, they’re just off-the-cuff, and we just f**king roll with it.”
As Reynolds himself says, the best pop culture references have staying power, aren’t too close together, and most importantly, make the audience laugh. So, here are Deadpool’s 10 Funniest Pop Culture References, Ranked.
10 “McAvoy or Stewart?”
With the release of Dark Phoenix bringing Fox’s faltering X-Men franchise grinding to a halt as the rights to the characters revert back to Marvel Studios in the Disney merger, fans will no longer have to keep up with the confusing timelines creating by the original series, prequel series, and time travel storylines all running concurrently.
But back in 2016, when Deadpool was first released, keeping these timelines straight was still a great struggle. ‘Pool himself pointed this out when Colossus referred to Professor X and he wasn’t sure which Professor X he was referring to, the James McAvoy version of the Patrick Stewart version.
9 “Nothing compares to you. Sinead O’Connor, 1990.”
Initially, Fox didn’t have the rights to use Negasonic Teenage Warhead in Deadpool. Thankfully, they found a way to get a hold of the character, because Marvel wanted to use Ego the Living Planet, who Fox had the rights to, in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, so they traded characters.
Brianna Hildebrand took an obscure character from the comics and turned her into a mainstream icon. What makes her such a joy is that she doesn’t take any crap from Deadpool, and will bite back when he makes fun of her. That doesn’t stop him, though. In the first movie, he hilariously compares her to Sinead O’Connor.
8 “Are you sure you’re not from the DC universe?”
When Deadpool meets Cable, he’s surprised at how dark and gritty his look, personality, and backstory are, considering he’s a Marvel character and not a DC character. For a long time, the Marvel universe has been known as the lighter, brighter, more colorful alternative to the DC universe.
This is mostly thanks to the way the movies have portrayed them, because in the comics, aside from Batman, DC has a ton of light characters: Superman, Green Lantern, the Flash, Aquaman. But thanks to Christopher Nolan’s movies, Zack Snyder’s movies, and the CW’s Arrowverse, the DC universe is known as the darker one.
7 David Beckham’s voice
In the first Deadpool movie, as the title character is trying to explain that looks are everything, he uses David Beckham as a case study. Although having a high-pitched voice “like he mouth-sexed a can of helium,” he’s still a huge celebrity and a successful footballer.
His second case study is Ryan Reynolds, who he claims has gotten ahead because of his looks and not because of “a superior acting method.” The Beckham reference was later called back to in a TV commercial where Deadpool apologized to the football legend and Beckham thought he was apologizing for all of Reynolds’ bad movies and not for the joke.
6 “Please don’t make the suit green. Or animated!”
For as much as Ryan Reynolds makes fun of other celebrities and movies in the Deadpool films, he makes fun of himself and his own movies above all else. Fans went into 2016’s Deadpool with Reynolds’ disastrous 2011 Green Lantern movie still relatively fresh in their minds.
The incoherent plot, the entirely CGI costume, the clichéd character development – everything about Green Lantern sucked and Reynolds knew it. So, the actor relished the opportunity to take a jab at his past failings as Wade Wilson was being wheeled off for mutant testing, pleading with his captors not to make the super-suit green or computer-generated.
5 “His mom is named Martha, too.”
Towards the end of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, as the Dark Knight is about to plunge a Kryptonite blade into the Man of Steel, they realize their moms are both called Martha and call off their feud.
Deadpool was the first to point out how ridiculous that is: “I was fighting a caped badass, but then we discovered that his mom is named Martha, too.” There was briefly a controversy about Deadpool 2’s the “Martha” moment, with Marvel-bashing DC fans responding negatively to it, but Ryan Reynolds himself defended it: “The Martha gag, it’s a perfectly Deadpool moment. I think Deadpool is willing to break a few eggs to make that omelet.”
4 His Adventure Time watch
In the very first scene in Deadpool, we see the Merc with a Mouth sitting on the edge of a highway, waiting for the bad guys to drive past so that he can drop down into their car and ask after Francis. He checks the time and we see that his watch is Adventure Time merch.
The oddball Cartoon Network series about the adventures of a talking dog and a human boy in a fantasy world is exactly the kind of quirky, brilliant, hysterical show that Wade Wilson would be a fan of. So, not only is his Adventure Time watch a great pop culture reference; it’s in character, too.
3 “Give me your best shot, One-Eyed Willy.”
Josh Brolin’s star-making turn as a teen actor was playing the big brother Brand in the ‘80s Amblin adventure comedy The Goonies. So, it was a delight for film fans when that classic got a shout-out in Deadpool 2.
At one point in the movie, ‘Pool says to Cable (also played by Brolin), “Give me your best shot, One-Eyed Willy.” One-Eyed Willy is the legendary pirate whose treasure the titular group of kids is searching for in that movie. This means that the reference works two ways: he’s making fun of Cable’s only working eye, and he’s making fun of the career of the actor who plays him.
2 Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’s post-credits scene
Kevin Feige has said that the post-credits scene that inspired him to put one at the end of every movie in the MCU was the one in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Matthew Broderick’s title character walks out in his bathrobe and says to the camera, “You’re still here? It’s over. Go home.” So, it was a perfect gag when, following the end credits of Deadpool’s first solo outing, he did exactly the same thing.
He emerged from the same bedroom into the same hallway and wore the same bathrobe over his superhero costume and uttered the same words to the audience. And he still found time for a Deadpool 2 tease, as he promised an appearance by Cable in the sequel.
1 “F**k Wolverine.”
At the beginning of Deadpool 2, the title character posits the whole thing as a feature-length response to the emotionally charged ending of Logan. The movie opens with an action figure of Wolverine impaled on a spike with ‘Pool’s opening line being: “F**k Wolverine.”
Since Wolvie died in the most inspiring and heartbreaking way at the end of that Oscar-nominated masterpiece, Deadpool decided that he was going to die in his own sequel. What makes that difficult is that he can’t die, but that doesn’t stop him from trying. It almost happens for real at the end, but Cable uses his time machine to go back and save him.