Deadpool 2’s Inclusion of a Queer Couple is a Small Step Forward in LGBTQ+ Representation

2018 is the year of awesome superhero movies. In February, Black Panther was released and it became a cultural phenomenon, and in late April, Avengers: Infinity War tore our hearts out and brought a legacy of superhero movies to its climax.

Deadpool 2 was released on May 18 and it’s already the third biggest domestic opening of the year ($125 million), right behind Infinity War and Black Panther. It is the sequel to Deadpool (2017), and in this film, we see the return of the famous merc-with-a-mouth Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds), in his anti-hero persona, Deadpool. Just like in the first movie, this one is full of crash language, gruesome scenes, graphic depictions of violence, and fourth-wall-breaking jokes. It also introduces us to new characters, like Domino, a human lucky charm, Cable, the time-traveling cyborg, some members of the X-Force, and a cute new X-Men member in the form of Yukio.

This last character is quite special, because she is introduced as Negasonic Teenage Warhead’s girlfriend, and this makes them the first LGBTQ+ couple in the history of superhero films.

 

It’s no secret that multiple studios from Hollywood have an issue with showing LGBTQ+ characters on screen, not to mention a queer relationship. This type of representation is often reduced to some sub-textual reference for the audience to interpret as LGBTQ+. But in Deadpool 2, these characters are openly gay and in love.

The appearance of these two characters in the two-hour film is very significant. In the initial scene, Negasonic introduces Yukio as her girlfriend to Deadpool and then asks if he has a problem with that. It’s important to emphasize that Wade Wilson, a character that is always making jokes, handles Negasonic’s coming out very seriously, and he doesn’t make any hurtful comments and is shown to be supportive.

This whole scene lasts less than three minutes, and while for some this might problematic, I find it to be a small step in the right direction. The way that Negasonic and Yukio’s relationship is treated brings a sense of normalcy. It shows that LGBTQ+ people exist, they are everywhere, and it shouldn’t be a big deal. It also makes a point to other superhero movies (Wonder Woman, Thor: Ragnarok, Captain America) that you can have queer characters in high grossing films, without making it LGBTQ+ centric.

This inclusion of LGBTQ+ characters is far from perfect. It’s a short scene in an R-rated film that is addressed to a mature audience. And in the same movie, Wade Wilson’s queerness is presented as a joke. Throughout the film, Deadpool constantly flirts with Colossus, a secondary character, but it doesn’t follow up with anything. However, it’s a small beacon of hope for further LGBTQ+ representation in blockbuster movies, and it’s a step in the right direction.

Images credited: 1, 2, 3