Warning: Deadpool spoilers to follow
“With its fourth-wall breaking costumed crimefighter and snarky sense of humor, Deadpool, which hits theaters Thursday night is selling itself as the Marvel superhero movie that sets out to defy the genre’s conventions. But there’s one unfortunate ossified tradition that the movie declines to turn on its ear: including a major female hero. In the film’s version of Deadpool’s origin story, before Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) becomes the titular “merc with a mouth” — famous for his self-aware quips and regenerative abilities — he’s your average roughneck-for-hire, who meets cute with an equally damaged lady of the night, Vanessa Carlysle (Morena Baccarin). A torrid romance ensues and endures even after Wade is diagnosed with cancer and makes the decision to subject himself to risky experimental treatment that scars his face and body and grants him mutant powers.
So far, this is relatively close to Deadpool’s comic book history…although the exact details of his past have proven mutable. But there’s one Colossus-sized difference between the comic and the film: On the page, Vanessa is a mutant as well, operating under the codename Copycat and possessing shapeshifting and power mimicking abilities in the vein of X-Men’s Mystique.
On the big screen, though, her powers are more or less limited to a sharp wit, a ferocious sex drive, and a need to be rescued by her big, strong man.
“The movie is called Deadpool, and because we were recreating this character, we wanted to focus entirely on Wade Wilson becoming Deadpool,” co-writer Paul Wernick explained to Yahoo Movies in a recent interview. Rhett Reese, who wrote the film with Wernick, expounded on the decision, adding that a Vanessa with any sort of superpowers wouldn’t work in a movie with a run-time of less than two hours.
“We have to make it make sense,” Reese said. “I think comic logic and movie logic aren’t the same. There was a certain coincidental nature to this idea that she’s also a mutant after he was getting powers. So we thought we could find ways to add a logic to that down the road that we just didn’t feel like we could reasonably do easily and efficiently in this movie…“