Fans of the Marvel not-quite superhero Deadpool know that the wise-cracking, Looney Tunes-immortal “merc with a mouth”’s real superpower is cheeky self-awareness. After Wade Wilson’s initial conception as yet another 1990s “extreme” antihero (and Deathstroke knockoff), Deadpool’s popularity grew in proportion to his fourth-wall-breaking irreverence as the blade-bristling boob became a walking, talking, stabbing parody of every superhero cliché in existence. Carrying over to the live-action Marvel Cinematic Universe has been a lucrative breeze (after a woefully misguided false start), as Ryan Reynolds’ signature snarky charm has easily carried over Deadpool’s genre mockery into three dimensions. Or maybe four, if you count his Tuesday appearance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.
“Please guys, no one stand up,” the masked and fully kitted-out Reynolds/Wilson/Deadpool deadpanned to the rousing applause from Colbert’s crowd, concluding, “This is CBS—I know how old your audience is.” Busting through whatever wall exists between movies and television and synergistic corporate entities, Deadpool then proceeded to take over Colbert’s monologue for some jabs at Colbert nemesis Donald Trump (and that “huge asshole,” Ryan Reynolds). After swatting back Colbert’s claim that late-night hosts are sort of like real-world superheroes with the question, “Because you’re all mostly white men?” Deadpool assured “Jimmy,” that he could do Colbert’s nightly roster of Trump jokes just as well as any Stephen, Seth, Jimmy, or, well, Jimmy. Luckily, Colbert revealed himself to have the power of Thanos (or at least the power of CBS’s graphics department) to take an Infinity War-style broom to his unwanted pest. “You don’t have the budget for this Colbert!” Deadpool bellowed with his last, discorporated breath, proving conclusively that winking, self-referential walk-ons will always survive.
Deadpool 2 opens on Friday.