'Deadpool 2' X-Men Cameo Is the Greatest in Marvel Movie History

And how it borrowed from Orson Wells to make it work.

Deadpool 2 is an absolute riot for comic book and action movie buffs. But, in between the laughs and cheers for the Merc with a Mouth, there’s one truly surprising and thrilling moment, especially for X-Men fans. The X-Men make a cameo. As in, there’s more than just one mutant who shows up for Deadpool 2, and it’s one of the best cameos in the entire Marvel franchise.

Minor spoilers for Deadpool 2 ahead.

While the proper Marvel Cinematic Universe of Disney likes to mash up all the toys in its toy box, the independent X-Men Universe at Fox hasn’t mingled the X-Men with Deadpool. In the first movie, only Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead appear, and they’re essentially new to the franchise rather than familiar faces from the main X-Men series. But a cameo in Deadpool 2 makes up for lost time, as a bevy of X-Men pack in like sardines in a single frame.

Shortly after the death of Vanessa, Colossus brings Wade to the X-Mansion, to help him grieve and to rebuild him into a real superhero. In a callback to one of the best jokes from the first movie, Wade snarks that the X-Mansion still feels empty. It’s this supposed to be a school? Where the heck are the X-Men? Is Fox being cheap again? (Yes, this is an actual joke in the movie.)

Deadpool finally joins the X-Men in 'Deadpool 2.' Kind of.

20th Century Fox

If only Wade Wilson would shut up and turn around. As Wade rants, that’s when the film shows most of the X-Men packed in Xavier’s office, hiding from the Merc. Beast (Nicholas Hoult), Quicksilver (Evan Peters), Storm (Alexandra Shipp), Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee), and yes, Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) all make an appearance. No, Jean Grey and Mystique aren’t around, but this is still the biggest crossover between the Marvel/Fox properties.

What makes the cameo extra special is that it uses a classic cinematography technique, “deep focus,” to sell the gag. Though there are a half dozen X-Men packed into a small room, director David Leitch and cinematographer Jonathan Sela use deep focus to make sure the X-Men appear sharp and distinguishable, even though they’re in the background. One master of deep focus taught in film schools everywhere is Orson Wells, who used deep focus a lot throughout his 1941 classic Citizen Kane.

Believe it or not, this shot of 'Citizen Kane' (1941) has a lot in common with the best gag in 'Deadpool 2.'

Turner Home Entertainment

By seeing the X-Men clearly, audiences see just how many of them are there. They also see what Deadpool is too self-absorbed to see for himself, which makes a shockingly perfect example of dramatic irony. In a meta-textual way, the cameo is peak Deadpool, as if Deadpool himself is telling his audience, You want X-Men? Here’s your X-Men! And if you’re a film student who needed help passing finals, well, you’re welcome.

Deadpool 2 is in theaters now.

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