Deadpool 3 must atone for X-Men Origins: Wolverine’s sin of sucking

Ryan Reynolds Fans received a pleasant surprise on an evening which might otherwise have been overshadowed by some slightly alarming MCU developments. Ryan Reynolds will return for the much-awaited Deadpool Threequel, Released in 2024. But that was only half the bombshell dropped in Reynolds’ video tweet on Tuesday evening. Joining the titular Marvel antihero will be an even less expected, though perhaps even more highly anticipated, co-star: Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine.

But it won’t be the first time these two characters have gone face-to-face on the big screen. That extremely dubious honor belongs to what may still reign as the most detested and willfully forgotten installment of 20th Century Fox’s X-Men film series. Deadpool 3 — or whatever its title turns out to be — has a chance to make good on the 2009 showcase of chaos and desperation that was Wolverine in X-Men Origins.

With the publication of the mediocrely accepted in 2006 X-Men, The Last Stand, the initial Fox X-Men trilogy had run its course, but the studio wasn’t about to let a lucrative name brand die out quite so quickly. There were plans to make a prequel film that would explain the origins and evolution of certain major mutants, such as Wolverine, Magneto, and new favorites like Gambit.

RtL: Wolverine, Sabretooth, Gambit, Deadpool, and Kayla Silverfox on the poster for X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

Image by 20th Century Fox

This, as it turned out, never amounted to much: Magneto’s story was partially reposed into an eventual prequel/reboot of the X-Men movies themselves, while the Gambit movie remained in development limbo almost until the moment Fox ceased to be an independent studio. Jackman was brought onboard for the new series. Wolverine in X-Men OriginsThe film was successful. And it didn’t take long before viewers and filmmakers alike came to regret it.

This story is solid. Written by David Benioff and other honest-to–goodness Hollywood screenwriters (before that he was an actor). Game of Thrones showrunner) and Skip Woods (also a person who owned a word processor), the movie details the story of young James Howlett’s transformation from 19th-century Canadian backwoodsman to beclawed secret agent, courtesy of the conspiratorial military project known as Weapon X.

That’s a backstory that has plenty of comic book street cred, and in the context of the movie, it allows for what, in theory, ought to have been some fun cameos from other mutant enlistees in the project that turned Wolverine into an adamantium-infused operative. There’s Liev Schreiber returning as Sabretooth, Daniel Henney as Agent Zero (better known as Maverick to all two of his ’90s-comic-reading fans), Kevin Durand as durable fatphobic icon Fred Dukes, and, most memorably of all, Ryan Reynolds making his debut as Wade Wilson, the wisecracking assassin known here simply as Weapon XI.

Other than the tiny matter of how he manages to make sense for about a scene, The rest is history. OriginsIt seems that Deadpool’s comic fans love has been lost. Perhaps it was left on another film’s reels. Reynolds’ transformation into an ersatz version of the superpowered mercenary is a sight to behold. It’s gone! Reynolds is now wearing a red and black outfit. He has been replaced by a pair of pajama trousers with a naked torso that was drawn in black permanent marker.

Deadpool, shirtless in loose red pants, his mouth surgically closed, sword blades grafted to his arms, his chest crisscrossed with surgery markers, the skin around his eyes scarred in diamonds reminiscent of his comic book costume, in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

Image by 20th Century Fox

His powers, in an apparent effort to one-up Jackman’s iconic metal claws, now include laser eyes and His hands were full of swords.. The movie’s most notorious and inexplicable decision was to sew Reynolds’ mouth shut, depriving the Merc With a Mouth of any mouth to speak of, and obliging the actor to play out the remainder of his role in stark silence.

The result is that Jackman and Reynolds’ climactic battle plays out like a master class in overemoting through mime. Reynolds is faced with two challenges: conveying humor without dialogue or lips, and communicating expressions with huge kitchen knives duct taped around his wrists. Reynolds chooses a mustache-twirling performance that only Willem Dafoe could appreciate in Green Goblin armor. Although this sequence may not be as funny as Deadpool, we must admit that it is absurdly funny.

Deadpool fires his laser eyes in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

Image by 20th Century Fox

Deadpool’s decapitated body falls down a nuclear power station smokestack, his eye lasers still firing in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

Image by 20th Century Fox

Deadpool’s still-firing lasers plow a line of destruction through the cement of the nuclear power station smokestack in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

Image by 20th Century Fox

Carved up by Deadpool’s inexplicable post-death laser vision, the nuclear power station smokestack collapses in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

Image by 20th Century Fox

“Oh, oop! Oh, uh. Uhhh. Uh oh. Ummm, uh oh…”

However, it wouldn’t last (thankfully). Seven years after Reynolds’ return, the vehicle had been reconstructed narratively and physically, making it closer to what Marvel Universe fans had wanted.

Which may, when it comes down to it, be the best reason to dredge up this chapter of Deadpool’s sorry cinematic past in the next go-round. Wolverine in X-Men OriginsThis was the product of a different era of superhero movies. It was when costumes, capes and primary colors were treated with caution and seedy newsprint was considered an embarrassment rather than a selling point.

As the MCU continues to lean ever more heavily in to the multiverse as a venue to revisit the tombstones of franchises past — be it Patrick Stewart’s Professor X or a whole host of actors from the cast-off Spider-Man franchises of days gone by — it gives itself an opportunity to subtly but firmly make amends for a cultural moment when superheroes still carried a faint whiff of nerdy shame.

Hugh Jackman is in the film, so the next Deadpool movie could be a success. Wolverine in X-Men OriginsIt became the hilarious spectacle it was meant to be, even though it didn’t know it. We can all learn to love Joel Schumacher if it is in our hearts.

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