Until Deadpool roared into theaters back in 2016 and raked in a massive $782 million at the box office to become the highest-grossing R-rated movie in history at that point and launch yet another franchise that fell under the umbrella of Fox’s X-Men series, Ryan Reynolds was in real danger of gaining a reputation for being someone who exclusively starred in terrible comic book adaptations.
Prior to the success that greeted the Merc with a Mouth’s solo debut, Reynolds had featured in four comic book movies, two of which had bombed spectacularly, while the other two were widely regarded as the worst entries in their respective franchises. The most critically acclaimed of the bunch was X-Men Origins: Wolverine with a 37% Rotten Tomatoes score, which pretty much tells you everything you need to know.
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The 6 Underground star’s first stab at the superhero genre came in 2004’s Blade: Trinity as Hannibal King, and while Reynolds’ performance is one of the very few highlights of the Daywalker’s third outing, the movie brought the trilogy to a painfully disappointing end. Next up was Wolverine’s first solo film five years later, which is notable for both giving Reynolds the chance to play Wade Wilson for the first time and marking the beginning of a beautiful friendship with leading man Hugh Jackman.
Green Lantern, meanwhile, turned out to be so awful that Ryan Reynolds hasn’t stopped making fun of it for almost a decade, and the actor seems to have resigned himself to the fact that he’ll never be able to escape the shadow of director Martin Campbell’s intergalactic dud. Luckily for him, Deadpool was just around the corner and finally marked a comic book role he could be proud of, although it seems like it might be a long time before we get to see the third installment as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.