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Deadpool 2

R16: contains graphic violence, sexual references and offensive language

Spoiler alert

This page outlines how the classification criteria were applied. We do our best to discuss the content while avoiding spoilers, but please avoid reading this information if you do not want to learn anything about the content of this movie.

About the film

Coming off the back of the original, Deadpool 2 follows a masked Wade Wilson in his embodiment of the antihero, Deadpool. The film covers Wade’s quest to avenge his lover’s death, and on the way he meets Russell, a kid from New Zealand with superhero fire powers.

Wade has a soft spot for Russell, and after Wade breaks out of jail, he forms the squad ‘X-Force’, made up of eccentric everyday quasi-heroes. The time-travelling cybernetic solider Cable arrives on a mission to murder Russell, with X-Force trying to stop him. The film works off the conventions used in the original Deadpool, breaking the fourth wall with satirical commentary. Deadpool’s witty banter and crude comments permeate the dialogue, making for a humorous and different kind of Marvel feature.

Deadpool 2 poster

Date registered: 11/05/2018

Classification criteria: Violence

The feature has a high extent of graphic violence, including multiple sequences of impaling many individuals at once, with blood and debris of bloodied bodies depicted. One fighting instance depicts the giant mutant Juggernaut holding Deadpool in his hands and then tearing him in two. His legs and torso are separated, with a pool of blood collecting under the still alive Deadpool who shows no pain. Domino wraps Deadpool’s arms around her neck, carrying his torso back home, as his legs begin to grow back. Another instance depicts Deadpool placing his hand over the muzzle of a gun, which is fired at close range. The gun goes through his hand, producing a gruesome image.

Although the film is laden with gory violence, it is set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), focusing on superpowers and the affiliated characters. Deadpool is able to evade death, and although he receives excessive bodily harm, is immune to death, with the exception of when he is wearing a power-reducing collar. He survives multiple stabbings, bullet wounds and being torn in half. This reduces the realism of the violence. Deadpool runs a commentary toward the audience throughout the violence which mitigates the impact of the sequences. However, the humour is also likely to trivialise the stronger violent elements.

Deadpool points a gun at a teddy bear

Classification criteria: Offensive Language

Deadpool and others in the film frequently use highly offensive language in the form of “fuck” (and its derivatives), “motherfucker” and to a lesser extent, “bitch”, “cunt” and “shit”. It is predominantly used in an aggressive or threatening context when either engaging with enemy characters or expressing disgust and anger in a situation. Other offensive language is used in conjunction with sexual references. The high frequency and degree of the offensive language is likely to cause serious harm to younger audiences because of its normalisation within the dialogue, particularly in a comedic context.

Picture of Russell in the film

Classification criteria: Sex

Deadpool 2 deals with matters of sex through extensive use of sexual references, but to a lesser extent and degree than the first film. Mentions of blow jobs, dildos and statements of “doing me”, “being inside you,” and so forth make up a large amount of the dialogue, mostly coming from Deadpool. The sexual innuendo occurs during unrelated conversations and in the middle of violent sequences, providing crude comedic relief. When discussing whether to have sex with Cable, Deadpool comments that he’d “do anything over the pants,” as if it were part of a pornography contract negotiation. At the beginning of the feature, Vanessa tells Wade that they will “watch some porn” while Wade “gets the strap-on.” The sexual references are crude, and even occasionally, explained explicitly to the audience as “bad innuendo”. 

Cable puts a finger to his lips, while Deadpool covers his mouth with his hands, as if in horror

Decision summary

Deadpool 2 is a well-made superhero satire, laden with crude humour and graphic violence. The feature has graphic depictions and exaggerated sequences of assault and murder. These depictions are likely to shock and disturb children and younger teenagers, and have an adverse impact on them. The sheer extent of this content is likely to have a desensitising effect. The comedic nature of the violence, and the film’s self-awareness through breaking the fourth wall, lessens the impact of violence. The feature is saturated with highly offensive language and sexual references, which support a restriction. Children and younger teenagers are not likely to understand the dark and unconventional humour that permeates the feature. Balancing these harms against the right to freedom of expression as set out in the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990, a restriction on the availability of Deadpool 2 to those 16 years and older is the lowest reasonable restriction which can be applied in order to prevent injury to the public good.

Contact the Information Unit if you require further information on a classification decision.

R16 label
R16: contains graphic violence, sexual references and offensive language