The Deadpool movies featuring Ryan Reynolds as the Merc With A Mouth made a number of references to Monty Python. Founded in 1969, the legendary comedy troupe redefined sketch comedy with their series Monty Python’s Flying Circus, which ran for four seasons on the BBC. They later developed a cult status in the United States with the release of their second film, Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
The Pythons officially parted ways professionally in 1983 but continued to work together on other non-Monty Python projects. Their influence on modern comedy cannot be understated, so it is understandable that Ryan Reynolds would turn to the Pythons for inspiration in his development of the Deadpool comics into a film franchise. Reynolds’ work, however, went beyond simply referencing Monty Python, going out of his way to honor their comedic legacy.
Why Deadpool Makes So Many Monty Python References
The chief reason why Deadpool movies make so many references to Monty Python is one of stylistic similarity. The original Monty Python’s Flying Circus series reveled in the same kind of ludicrous situations and over-the-top violence as the Deadpool comics, playing out like live-action cartoons. Monty Python and Deadpool both also have a tendency to break the fourth wall, with many classic Monty Python sketches having the actors break character to speak to the audience and ending without a punchline or any kind of resolution of their story.
How The Deadpool Movies Reference Monty Python
The first Deadpool movie made a number of references to Monty Python. The most overt of these came during Deadpool’s fight with Colossus, in which Deadpool destroyed his body trying (and failing) to hurt the nigh-invulnerable Russian X-Men member. This was a clear tribute to a similarly one-sided fight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, in which an increasingly annoyed King Arthur slowly dissected the Black Knight, who refused to concede defeat in a duel. He finally agreed to call it a draw after he lost both arms and legs and was reduced to a somehow still-living torso.
A more subtle tribute occurs earlier in Deadpool when Vanessa and Wade first meet. The two flirt by telling stories about how horrible their childhoods were, trying to one-up the other with increasingly disturbing details. This resembles one classic skit, titled “The Four Yorkshiremen,” which was originally written for At Last the 1948 Show but was recreated for various Monty Python stage shows. The skit centers around the titular four Yorkshiremen engaging in the same game while reminiscing on their humble beginnings. When one man speaks of having to live in a cardboard box, his friend boasts of living “in a brown paper bag in a septic tank.”
Ryan Reynolds also used Deadpool to make a direct reference to the most famous work of comedian John Cleese apart from the meme-able Monty Python and the Holy Grail. When Wade Wilson first meets Ajax, he mocks his pretentious codename and tries to guess what his real name is, running through several nerdy names before inquiring, in a fake British accent, “Is it Basil Fawlty?” This is a nod to Cleese’s short-tempered hotel owner character from the sitcom Fawlty Towers.
Deadpool Referenced Monty Python In Marvel Comics Too
The Deadpool comics have also honored the legacy of Monty Python, with one 2018 issue acting as an unofficial crossover between the Marvel Universe and the reality of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Cable & Deadpool Annual #1 by David Walker, Luke Ross, Marco Rudy, Leonard Kirk and Francesco Manna sent the Merc with a Mouth back in time after being hired by the TVA to protect a woman from time-traveling robots. Hilarity ensues as Deadpool runs into Cable (who is in the middle of his own mission to preserve the timeline), and the two eventually wind up in the Arthurian era.
The Monty Python tribute comes into play when a mob of man-eating rabbits attacks Cable and Deadpool. Beyond being a direct nod to the fearsome Rabbit of Caerbannog from Monty Python and the Holy Grail (who guarded the cave revealing the location of the Holy Grail), the comic also references the Black Knight by having Deadpool lose both legs to the vicious rabbits and his torso having to be carried around by an unamused Cable. This bloody and bloody ridiculous scene was a prime example of the Monty Python brand of humor, making it clear why Ryan Reynolds would choose to repeatedly reference them in Deadpool.