Warning: This article contains minor SPOILERS for Deadpool 2.
Ryan Reynolds has gone on record defending himself after a few people have called out Deadpool 2's joke referencing Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice's infamous "Martha" moment. The Marvel vs. DC rivalry amongst the vocal minorities is one that will never die. Being the black sheep of the Marvel Universe, Deadpool loves stoking the flames of that rivalry by poking occasional fun at the DC Universe. In fairness, Deadpool also takes aim at his Marvel compatriots, especially Wolverine.
Sometimes Deadpool's jokes lead to friendly back-and-forth with DC properties, as during the recent Twitter exchange between the Merc With a Mouth and Warner Bros. Animation's Teen Titans Go! to the Movies. And other times, Deadpool's references cause genuine animosity to erupt. Indeed, when some DC fans heard Deadpool making fun of Batman V Superman's "Martha" moment, they became legitimately upset.
Speaking to Empire Film Podcast, Deadpool himself Ryan Reynolds addressed the mini-controversy over Deadpool 2's "Martha" joke. Reynolds first defended the joke by saying it's totally in-line with Deadpool's devil-may-care spirit: “The ‘Martha’ gag, it’s a perfectly Deadpool moment. I think Deadpool is willing to break a few eggs to make that omelette.” However, not wishing to bring anymore DC fan ire down on himself personally, co-screenwriter Reynolds also refused credit for the gag: “I didn’t write that joke, I’ll say that one. That’s one joke I didn’t write.”
The joke in question, which showed up in TV spots for the movie, happens early in Deadpool 2. The ever-irresponsible Wade Wilson arrives home late from doing what he does, and his girlfriend Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) is seemingly angry with him. So, Wade goes through a series of increasingly lame excuses. "I was fighting a caped bad-ass, only to discover his mom is named Martha, too," Wade meekly offers up as one excuse. Naturally, Vanessa doesn't buy it.
The joke, of course, is a reference to the scene in Batman V Superman where the Caped Crusader is about to kill Superman. But, when Superman tells Batman to save Martha, that name sends him spiraling through all kinds of emotions, which the filmmakers attempted to set up throughout the film since Bruce Wayne's mother, Martha Wayne, was murdered when he was just a kid. Although the scene is meant to show Batman that Superman is very much "human" (who has a mother that's in danger), many made fun of it afterward, arguing that it provided a very weak pretext for Batman to turn around in his perception of Superman. Enough controversy erupted that Diane Lane, who plays Superman's mother Martha, even spoke up to defend the scene.
Given the DCEU's general reception from critics so far, it's arguable that Deadpool 2 making fun of the "Martha" scene is a case of unnecessary piling on. But then again, no one ever accused Deadpool of being a gracious winner. At any rate, Ryan Reynolds seems to realize that his DC-bashing jokes are a bit of a sore subject with some fans, which is why he's quick to deflect blame onto his co-writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. Reynolds, after all, used to be part of the DC Universe himself via his performance in the maligned Green Lantern. So, he has some experience in that arena.
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