Suicide is a sensitive subject. Deadpool? Not always the most sensitive guy in the world. So what happens when the two collide on the big screen? A sequel to 2016’s breakout action/comedy hit, apparently. Is this a good thing? Overall I believe so. Read on to find out why, but realize that this article will contain major spoilers. You have been warned.
Deadpool has always had a special relationship with death. He kills people all the time (it’s his job) and in the comics he literally falls in love with Death, who is an actual woman. This is translated to the big screen in a less literal form, where instead Ryan Reynolds’ Wade Wilson has visions of his recently-deceased girlfriend. He is torn up inside and racked with guilt over her death at the hands of one of his enemies, and as a result he wants to reunite with her.
Cue a quick montage of increasingly bizarre suicide attempts ending with Deadpool blowing himself, without exaggeration, to pieces.
This is probably the touchiest point of contention in Deadpool 2’s handling of suicide because dark humor won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. Some will likely say that suicide should never be made into a joke, but to this I ask- is suicide really the punchline here? I don’t think so. Yes, the cartoonish methods with which Deadpool intends on ending himself are meant to be humorous, but thanks to Reynolds’ thoughtful script, the emotions and motivation behind these attempts on his own life are not.
This may be a case of wanting to have a cake and eat it too, but it all reads as an acknowledgement of Deadpool’s unique methods of handling problems without an accompanying denial of his genuine grief. This is a good thing. Furthermore, sometimes the best way to deal with grief is with laughter. It really can be the best medicine, and in this sense the film feels good-natured.
Most importantly though is the theme of hope within the movie that comes after this dramatic attempt at achieving death. Deadpool’s suicide fails because his body regenerates and he receives help from friends in his emotional recovery. After this point, the movie transitions into an arc detailing Deadpool’s emotional reconstruction of his own identity through making connections with others and seeing the potential good in life. The film allows Deadpool his desire for death at first, but is never willing to accept it as a real solution to depression.
That, to me, is a good way to develop a dark theme in a positive manner.