So Just How Pansexual Is “Deadpool,” Anyway?

Are producers giving us a queer merc with a mouth, or just gay-baiting?

Deadpool hits theaters today, as Ryan Reynolds stars as the mutant mercenary with more than a few screws loose.

Much has been made about director Tim Miller’s comment that the film will depict Deadpool as “pansexual”—Reynolds even said he’d like to see DP get a boyfriend in the already-greenlit sequel.

But at least one critic claims its much ado about nothing.

Slate’s Jeffrey Bloomer writes:

Despite a few smirking nods to extremely in-the-know viewers, Reynolds’ film version of Deadpool is no more pansexual than a frat boy who smacks another brother’s ass and then giggles about it, acknowledging a homoerotic energy he only knows how to dismiss with a joke. And that’s more disappointing—and even insulting—than it might seem.


Bloomer allows that just because Deadpool was pansexual in the comics doesn’t automatically mean he had to be in the film—after all, producers still have to worry about international box office, and the film’s chief audience is still young straight guys.

But touting LGBT representation and then delivering balls jokes is worse than nothing at all, says Bloomer.

A look at what qualifies as queer inclusion makes his case for him:

Deadpool references Wolverine’s balls, and seems to have an obsession with Hugh Jackman, in a kind of playful homosocial way.

Deadpool refers to his ass as “Main Street,” if you get my meaning.


Deadpool threatens a pizza boy who stalks a young woman, saying he will meet Deadpool’s “hard” end if he doesn’t stop. He says he may or may not mean this
literally, then pecks the pizza boy on the cheek. Gay?

Deadpool wears a Rent T-shirt.

Deadpool sews, loves unicorns, and masturbates to Bernadette Peters. Admittedly, these are inconclusive.

Deadpool allows his girlfriend to peg him in one scene, albeit reluctantly and to his clear displeasure. This act is, of course, as open to straight follks as it is to pansexuals, but I suspect the filmmakers don’t quite get that.

Lastly, in the closing credits, an animated Deadpool is visibly aroused by a female cast member. But when the name of the villain, Ed Skrein, appears on screen, DP becomes even more aroused.

A throwaway joke in the closing credits, when half the theater has emptied out? Someone give them a GLAAD award.

They read as gags, barely edgy jokes from our enlightened-bro hero that exist mostly to establish his alpha-male bravado. One might argue that since everything is a joke to Deadpool, it makes sense that references to his sexuality would be, too.

Except they aren’t when it comes to his heterosexual love interest. Indeed, the one thing the movie takes seriously—the lone, plot-propelling story thread—concerns Deadpool’s desire to return to his lost (female) lover…


Simply put, the movie unmistakably codes Deadpool as a straight man, albeit one who uses his sexual swagger (and Reynolds has plenty in this movie) to make other men uncomfortable. It’s hard to imagine what audience, outside of grasping fans, will experience his character any other way.

Maybe Hollywood will grow a pair by the time Deadpool 2 comes out.

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.