Deadpool 2's most confusing moments explained

Marvel's mouthiest red-suited mutant, Wade Wilson, is back. Deadpool 2 delivers an R-rated, raucous adventure, with even more fourth-wall breaking hilarity. With jokes landing quicker than the punches and pop-culture references flying every minute, Ryan Reynolds' return as the Merc with a Mouth is brimming with material. That means there's a lot to take in — in fact, unless you have superhuman powers of observation, concentration, and recall, it might be almost too much for a single sitting.

Add time travel and subtle references to panels from some of Marvel's other comic books, and Deadpool 2's two-hour runtime clearly contains its share of confusing moments, if not more. If you'd rather wait for the home release for a second viewing but have unanswered, head-scratching questions that you can't wait to have answered, worry no more. Here are Deadpool 2's most confusing moments explained. Grab a chimichanga and dive right in — spoilers ahead, of course.

Is Deadpool invincible?

Deadpool 2 starts with a bang — literally. Lying on top of a number of explosive cylinders in the middle of his apartment, Wade Wilson attempts to end his life in the most ferociously painful way possible. Not to be outdone by the mutant rhyming with Pulverine who died in Logan, Wade takes one last puff of a cigarette before blowing himself to smithereens.

Flames engulf the screen as Deadpool's body flies in all directions, limb by limb. Even for a mutant with immense healing power, it seems illogical for Wade to fully recover from such a destructive death, but his powers are similar to Wolverine's healing factor — and in the comics, the Xavier Protocols outline a way to kill Wolverine: his head must be severed and moved "utterly from the vicinity of his body to prevent swift flesh and nerve regrowth."

In the comics, Deadpool has been decapitated numerous times, and has regenerated after being turned to ash by Thor. He can regrow limbs and vital organs, too — in Deadpool he regrows a hand, and in Deadpool 2, he recovers after being torn in half by Juggernaut. So when Colossus recovered Wade's charred remains after that seemingly fatal explosion in the opening act, all he had to do was find his head and allow Wade's regeneration to do the rest.

Why did Deadpool blame himself?

Director David Leitch — a.k.a. "one of the guys who killed John Wick's dog," as he's billed in the opening credits — demonstrates his eye for stylized action from the start. Deadpool chops, stabs, skewers, and shoots gangsters in numerous locations, from Hong Kong to Sicily. Unfortunately, during one mission, a high-ranking criminal escapes to a safe room. Wade, eager to return to Vanessa and celebrate their anniversary, has to flee in Dopinder's waiting taxi when more henchmen arrive.

It's a moment he lives to regret. Back at their apartment, Wade detects an unusual sound and shouts at Vanessa to get on the floor — shortly before the door bursts open, and the room is showered with bullets. Wade kills the invaders, but his target from the earlier job comes in when he isn't looking. He's too slow to react; he throws a utensil at the gunman, knocking his shot off target — and the bullet pierces Vanessa's chest, killing her. Wade chooses a violent, self-destructive way to get revenge: he catches the killer, hugs him and steps into the road, directly into the path of an oncoming truck. Later he tells Colossus that one man responsible for Venessa's murder got away — himself.

Reynolds' interview with Entertainment Weekly may illustrate the creative reason for Vanessa's murder, despite her chemistry with Wade. As he put it, "I feel like the character, in order for him to function properly within his own universe, you need to take everything away from him." In Deadpool, Wade's cancer diagnosis and Weapon X treatment left him at a loss, but he returned — mutated, disfigured, but still alive. The next logical step was to take away the one person he cared for.

Your heart isn't in the right place

When Wade loses consciousness and is on the brink of death before his healing factor kicks in, he enters what appears to be the afterlife. He's submerged in water and swims to an abstract, dream-like room where Vanessa sits placidly, an invisible barrier preventing them from touching. When he tries to reach her, she tells him his "heart isn't in the right place" — a comment he puzzles over for much of the film.

When Colossus takes Wade to the X-Mansion, he tells him the X-Men are the family he needs, not necessarily the one he wants. This triggers Wade's recollection of Vanessa's words, so he decides to try a trial membership in the X-Men in spite of his better judgement. Serendipitously, this leads him to Russell Collins (Julian Dennison), a young mutant in desperate need of support. Vanessa's words were prophetic: the couple never had chance to conceive a child, but beyond the grave, she nudged Wade toward a new, unexpected, and endearingly dysfunctional family.

Why the Headmaster abused young mutants

The Headmaster of the mutant rehabilitation center, Essex House, secretly tortures his young charges. He's the reason Russell rebels, the lasting impact of abuse evident in Cable's future. Future Russell cites the Headmaster's motto — "blessed are the wicked who are healed by my hand" — before killing his victims, which include Cable's family. But why did the Headmaster and his team attempt to cure mutants by torturing them? That Clockwork Orange-esque experimentation may hide the key to Eddie Marsan's character.

Prior to Deadpool 2's release, there was speculation the main villain would be Mister Sinister thanks to a potential Easter egg in a teaser clip. Sinister is the logical choice to challenge Deadpool and Cable, having previously appeared in comic book form as an adversary to the duo in Cable & Deadpool #16 . He was also teased in X-Men: Apocalypse's post-credits scene, when men in white suits hold a briefcase with the logo of the Essex Corporation (Sinister's original name is Dr. Nathaniel Essex) embossed on it. Sinister was set to appear in Logan before director James Mangold opted not to use him. Did he subtly appear in Deadpool 2 instead?

In the comics, Essex launched the State Home for Foundlings, an orphanage where he secretly experimented on children in a laboratory under the building. He was responsible for the birth of Cable, too. It's possible the Headmaster is a version of Sinister. Yes, he was seemingly killed by Dopinder's speeding taxi. But we see a whole bunch of time travel shenanigans toward (and after) the end of the movie. Who's to say he stayed dead?

Russell's path of destruction

"There's a monster in the basement, next to a steaming pile of foreshadowing," Wade tells Russell sarcastically, accompanied by a fourth-wall breaking side glance at the camera. He is of course referring to Juggernaut, also known as Cain Marko. As comics fans know (and as Juggernaut tells Russell at one point), he's the stepbrother of X-Men leader Charles Xavier. As evidenced by his sheer size, Juggernaut is a formidable mutant with superhuman strength. In Deadpool 2, he's kept in the dark depths of the Ice Box, where he's easily the biggest and most intimidating inmate.

When Deadpool loses sight of Russell during Cable's botched murder attempt, Russell befriends Juggernaut. He asks him to team up with him and destroy the world — the beginning of Russell's descent into evil, a descent that ultimately leads him to kill Cable's family in the future. Judging from the young man's attachment to Deadpool earlier in the film, it seems unlikely Russell would've followed this path if he didn't overhear Deadpool tell Cable he didn't care about the kid. In that moment, the only person left he felt he could trust betrayed him.

The real reason behind Domino's luck

Deadpool 2 introduced the brilliant Zazie Beetz as Domino. In her interview to join X-Force, she told Deadpool and Weasel she should be hired because she's "lucky," enough of a reason for her to be accepted into the team. Later, the extent of her luck is shown in a breathtaking sequence during which cars whiz by her, light blinds her opponents at opportune moments, explosions erupt seconds away from causing danger, guns jam at just the right time, and she falls from a great height, landing on a huge inflatable panda.

Though not expanded on in the film, the panels of Marvel Comics shed light on her uncanny ability to always come out on top. As well as being deadly at combat with expert marksmanship, Domino has the ability of telekinesis, manifesting in a unique way. Rather than conscious will, her powers occur subconsciously — hence why the term "luck" is used — generally triggered by intense, high-stress events.

Her mutation subtly manipulates her environment for her, like a protective force field of good fortune. Simultaneously, her powers influence her body movement, gifting her with impeccable instincts. Combine her combat skills with her "luck," and you have a superhero who can pull off the impossible, escaping death in situations where she really should die.

Cable: From enemy to friend

With only one charge left on his time-traveling device, Cable sacrifices his chance to return the future to be reunited with his wife and daughter, instead using his final charge to travel before the X-Force begin their mission at the orphanage. He places a skee-ball token — the gift Deadpool gave Vanessa on their anniversary, lost during his first fight with Cable — in Wade's breast pocket, right where the bullet struck him. History repeats itself, but this time, the bullet is stopped by the token; Deadpool survives, his heroic gesture still enough to convince Russell to change his mind.

Cable dryly rejects Deadpool's insistence that he traveled back with the intention of saving him. Cable explains that with his family safe, he's decided to stay in the present and attempt to effect change on a global scale in an effort prevent his grim, apocalyptic future. In reality, Cable's decision is likely a mixture of the two; while he'd like to change the future, he also has a fondness for his new team.

The fate of the original X-Force

It's a scene that'll split audiences — hilarious, or a waste of interesting characters? To aid his mission, Deadpool and Weasel hold auditions for their new, inclusive group, X-Force. They include a number of characters familiar to comic book readers: Zeitgeist, Bedlam, the Vanisher, Shatterstar, Domino, and a normal guy called Peter, who saw the ad and thought it looked interesting.

They each skydive from a plane in their first mission to rescue Russell. Despite warnings of high winds, Deadpool insists everything is safe, yet each of them end up off track while parachuting down, with only Deadpool and Domino surviving. The Vanisher's demise reveals a special cameo — as he hits a power cable and dies, in a split-second moment that may elude some viewers, his previously unseen face appears, showing the familiar features of Brad Pitt. This is yet another clever meta Deadpool gag — last year, Pitt was rumored to play Cable, and concept art was even leaked online.

Fans of these characters may feel a bit short-changed by the brief screen time. However, it provides some of Deadpool 2's most unexpected laughs — and as we saw during the credits sequence, Deadpool ended up going back in time to save Peter. Did he rescue his other former teammates? We'll just have to wait and see.

How the post-credits scenes could shape the future of X-Men

Negasonic Teenage Warhead fixes Cable's time travel device in a mid-credits scene, handing it to Deadpool. Really, what could go wrong? Although he's a misfit, Deadpool exists in Fox's cinematic universe containing the X-Men franchise. The timeline of the X-Verse has been tinkered with before, with earlier events essentially retconned in 2014's X-Men: Days of Future Past. But Deadpool takes things a tongue-in-cheek step further.

One scene shows Deadpool enter the scene from 2009's X-Men Origins: Wolverine when Reynolds first appeared as Deadpool — albeit unrecognizable, with his mouth sewn shut and laser-shooting eyes. This incarnation of the character has been widely maligned, with Reynolds referring to it as the "wrong version," and he wastes no time correcting the timelines here, interrupting the battle with Wolverine by shooting Origins Deadpool in the head. Next, Deadpool jumps forward in time and shoots Ryan Reynolds in the head after he reads the script for the Green Lantern movie.

The post-credits sequences open the creative floodgates by introducing quick and easy time travel into the X-Verse, and opening the door for certain characters to return in future installments. Deadpool reverses Vanessa's death, returning to the fateful day, this time shooting the culprit. He also saves Peter, along with potentially all of the original X-Force members, so it's possible we'll see them return.

Most importantly, a time-traveling Wade Wilson fixes a creative timeline conundrum. Deadpool is set in the present day, while the X-Men franchise's next installment, Dark Phoenix, takes place in the 1990s, a decade after X-Men: Apocalypse. Now there's nothing stopping Deadpool, Cable and the rest of the X-Force from gatecrashing the main X-Men franchise. Was the blink-and-you'll-miss-it scene showing the rest of the team at the X-Mansion a hint? Go on, Fox — you know you want to.