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**This article contain major spoilers for Deadpool 2 so if you have not seen it yet, quickly get yourself to a cinema before you read this article.**
About a week ago I wrote an article about the significance of ‘Take On Me’ in the film and I made a passing comment about my feeling towards the death of Vanessa. After thinking about it over the week, I’m ready to talk about my feelings on it in more detail. And that is the purpose of this article.
If you haven’t seen Deadpool 2 in a while, at the beginning of Deadpool 2 Vanessa is shot and killed out of seemingly nowhere. The first film certainly wasn’t alluding to that, so honestly it’s a bit of a shock for everyone. Plus, anyone who is a fan of the comics knows that Vanessa is supposed to become CopyCat — a ‘hero’ in her own right and former member of the X-Force. Cleary in this branch of the Marvel universe and the lore of the films, this isn’t the case. She obviously can’t become CopyCat if she’s dead. In fact in this film there was no hint that there was ever going to be a hero there. All Vanessa does is get excited about having a baby and then promptly dies before Wade Wilson gets a chance to enjoy fatherhood. After that, all she does is appear in dream sequences. She has been turned into a very bland character with very stereotypically female goals in life — which isn’t a bad thing — but it’s not who she is. That wasn’t the character that she came across as in the first film where she has much more texture and intricacy. It also reinforces the idea that the only thing women want in life is a baby, which we know isn’t true.
So why was she killed? To put it bluntly, she was killed because it gives Deadpool something to do for the rest of the film. Seriously, there would be no plot line without it. After she is reduced to being a damsel-in-distress/love interest, she is then killed so that Deadpool can advance his character arc. Does Vanessa not deserve her own character arc? Apparently not.
But this isn’t the only place in the film where we see a love interest dying in order to fuel the man’s plot line. Nathan Summers/Cable travels back in time to try and kill Russell Collins/Firefist as in the future he kills Cable’s wife and child. Cable intends to kill Russel before he murders the man in charge of his orphanage, as this is when he grows to like murder. Again, it is the death of the female love interest that sparks the male character’s need to take action.
Morena Baccarin (Vanessa) has spoken out about this. She recognises that what happened to Vanessa was ‘fridged’ (the term for when a female love interest is killed as a way to propel the male hero forward) and was "bummed" when she first read the script. Fridging is all too common in the films world, particularly in superhero films (for example, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and The Dark Knight), James Bond films, Inception, and the list goes on. With this being such a common trope, it’s not surprising audiences were upset by seeing Vanessa gone so early in Deadpool 2. For a film franchise that is often credited with being ‘woke’ and ‘progressive,’ it feels like a let-down — like an easy way out and a cop-out solution to progress the plot. It’s almost embarrassing and for me it overshadowed a lot of other aspects of the film.
Whilst both Vanessa’s death and Cable’s wife’s death are canon to the comics, it's 2018. Many texts have been adapted so that certain characters stay alive for longer than they should or die early. There are also lots of other methods to further a story and it is such a shame that David Leitch chose the overused and outdated one.