Do You Need to See the First Deadpool to Enjoy Deadpool 2?

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Deadpool 2. Photo: Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox/Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.

Don’t worry, this piece does not spoil really anything about Deadpool 2.

A strange thing happened to me in February 2016. I had spent a few days visiting my brother, who lives almost literally halfway around the globe, and when I came back, the world had changed completely. Superhero movies were funny. Ryan Reynolds was an A-lister again. And everyone couldn’t stop talking about chimichangas. I had missed Deadpool.

In retrospect, though, this would make me a perfect test subject upon the arrival of Deadpool 2, which many critics are saying is better than the original. While I’ll leave Vulture’s contribution to that debate up to our critic David Edelstein, I am well-equipped to handle the question of whether one can enjoy the second Deadpool without having seen the first. (I still have not seen the first.)

The answer, it turns out, is yes — you don’t really need to know anything about Deadpool to understand Deadpool 2. Because, as I guess people who saw the first Deadpool learned two years ago but I am just learning now, the Deadpool movies are not movies you have to “get.” By the time you’ve asked yourself, Is that something I need to remember?, five or six punch lines have flown straight by your head. The habit gets beaten out of you pretty quick. In fact, if there’s one movie you need to see to best enjoy the new movie, it might be 2017’s Logan, whose ending is the subject of Deadpool 2’s opening gag.

I’m not saying there’s no connection to the first movie, but catching up is pretty easy. Here’s a list of what I gathered I missed: Deadpool has a wife/girlfriend whom he loves very much, and she’s played by Morena Baccarin. He’s friends with some C-list X-Men, and also T.J. Miller. He has superpowers that make him really good at fighting, and I guess they also make it impossible for him to die. (There’s something about tumors?) And for some reason, without his mask on he looks like Voldemort, if Voldemort got a really good rhinoplasty.

Whatever your opinion of the specific type of humor in the Deadpool franchise, there’s something refreshing about walking into a superhero movie without having to figure out which of the dozens of previous movies you need to have seen to understand it. Instead, your mind is free to concentrate on the little things, like how long it’s going to take for Zazie Beetz to get her own solo movie, or why Josh Brolin’s Cable has the salt-and-pepper fuckboy haircut and Equinox-honed physique of a Fire Island daddy. This would be the point in the article where I’d typically end with Deadpool’s catchphrase, but I’m still not quite sure if Deadpool has a catchphrase. So, uh, who wants to grab a chimichanga?

Do You Need to See the First Deadpool to Enjoy Deadpool 2?