There will be spoilers.
I’ll admit I was genuinely worried about the female representation in Deadpool. Let’s take a fandom known for it’s hardcore fanboys and give them an R-rated movie. I was sure NOTHING could go wrong.
One of my favourite pet peeves in movies (super hero/action movies in particular) is when a female character dies purely to further what I call “the manpain” but is sometimes referred to as “mangst.”
When a female character’s purpose in the movie is only to cause the hero internal conflict and then to die and cause the hero excruciating pain and heartbreak, furthering his hatred of the villain and giving him an edgy, “pushed to far to care” attitude. This troupe is literally called “I Let Gwen Stacy Die.”
Some notable examples are:
Gwen in The Amazing Spider-Man
Rachel in The Dark Knight
Every single female character in Ant Man
Lily Potter in Harry Potter
Most of the women in Arrow (I’ve lost track at this point)
The mom in Supernatural (does she even HAVE a name?)
You get the point. The woman’s only purpose is to cause emotional turmoil for the hero.
Wade Wilson is the perfect chance to use this troupe. He’s lost everything, the only thing he cares about is Vanessa. It would be so easy to have Francis push Wade over the edge by killing her.
We do get a little angst: “Ohhhh she’ll never love me, I’m hideous! No one could ever find me attractive, I must protect her” but for some reason I didn’t find it obnoxious or over-done.
And yes, she does get kidnapped, but it’s not due to her own stupidity. Plus, she basically rescues herself from the oxygen deprivation tank, like when’s the last time that happened?
But she also doesn’t dissolve into a sobbing mess the moment Wade leaves her side. She’s strong, grown-ass woman who continues to work and live and survive, just like she has for her entire life. Because her life doesn’t revolve around him.
So does Deadpool pass the Bechdel Test? Nope. But does it portray healthy relationships with realistic and non-damsel in distress characters? Yeah, I think it does.