In the first Deadpool movie, Deadpool gains his powers as part of attempting to force a mutation. And he does get a mutation: the incredible healing factor. He also gains the ability to break the fourth wall and recognize he's in a comic book movie some time shortly after the mutation.

However, neither movie is really clear on whether his ability to see and interact with the audience was a literal mutant power, a side effect of him going insane from the therapy, or just a running joke that isn't bound by logic.

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    As far as I know, Deadpool wasn't born with any powers, which means he's officially a mutate, not a mutant. So, arguably, he can't have mutant powers, only mutate powers. I know I'm being pedantic here, which is why this isn't an actual answer, just a small clarification for the sake of accuracy. – trlkly Sep 21 at 19:07
  • Maybe in the movies that fact is not clear, but in the comics, however, IT IS actually a superpower, as is explained in this related question – LudovicoN Sep 21 at 23:41
up vote 74 down vote accepted

After reviewing the script again from the advice of a friend offline, it looks like Wade's 4th wall breaking isn't a power. While he has his collar on, he quips the following while turning and looking directly at the camera:

Fun fact about the Ice Box... though no one's ever seen it, they keep a monster in the basement. Right next to a huge, steaming bowl of foreshadowing. https://www.springfieldspringfield.co.uk/movie_script.php?movie=deadpool-2

So, even when he's powerless, he can still call out movie tropes and recognize that it's a popcorn flick with an audience.

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    But surely if his mutant power gave him the knowledge that he was a fictional character in a movie, taking away his power wouldn't take away that knowledge. – delinear Sep 21 at 14:42
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    @delinear Maybe, but he wouldn't know where the camera was at that specific time. – GGMG Sep 21 at 14:59
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    True, although if he knew he was part of a movie he might reasonably expect that if he did a "monologue to camera" thing, a camera would be there to capture it XD – delinear Sep 21 at 15:02
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    @delinear It would be fun if he was giving his monologue but he was facing the wrong way. – Arturo Torres Sánchez Sep 21 at 15:47
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    @ArturoTorresSánchez yeah if they'd filmed it so that whenever he had his collar on, he kept wrongly guessing where the camera was meant to be. That'd be super meta, but definitely in line with the character! – delinear Sep 21 at 16:03

It's not a mutation. It's actually a sign of his madness. Deadpool gained his powers through torture1, which mentally broke him.

Not only is he under the "illusion" (in-universe this is seen as a derangement) that he is a fictional character (his frequent 4th-wall breaks)

Ryan Reynolds has told Empire that he’s insistent on Deadpool‘s habit of breaking of the fourth wall to carry over from the comics to the big screen. That means, in effect, that Deadpool/Wade Wilson will sometimes address the audience directly, as with Ferris Bueller, say, or the character of Paul in Funny Games.

Source

He also suffers from schizophrenia (voices in his head)2,

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And while it could be attributed to the excessive amount of pain he undergoes on a regular basis - his reaction to pain and being mutilated over and over again is not one you would expect from a sane person.


1. In Deadpool 1, Ajax explains that the Weapon X program requires the body to undergo increasing amounts of stress in order to trigger the mutation.
2. This is in the comics, but not depicted in the movies. It is possible that this was tied into the 4th wall breaks as talking to the audience as the "voices" in his head

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    The schizophrenia seems to be in the movies too. For example in the first one he has a limited number of bullets left and uses an excessive number to take down one guy who was particularly annoying. He says something like "stupid stupid stupid... worth it", similar to how in the comics each voice gives a different take on events. – user Sep 21 at 10:47
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    The problem is, he doesn't just believe he's a character in a movie and narrate to an imaginary audience the thoughts in his head, if he did it would be easy to write off. However, he also references accurate information from outside the world of the movie which he has no reasonable way of knowing and which we, the audience, know to be true (like when he asks whether the professor they're going to see is "McAvoy or Stewart", if he was just mentally unstable we'd have to write that off as a ridiculous coincidence, and he does it a lot). – delinear Sep 21 at 14:50
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    @delinear That's the joke - people in-universe think he's insane, but the audience knows he's right. That's why "illusion" is in quotes in the answer. – IllusiveBrian Sep 21 at 19:28
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    "Ajax"? Don't you mean Francis? – Steve V. Sep 21 at 22:33
  • It's how I've always seen it. Going insane can very well involve thinking that you are being watched, and talking to imaginary friends. In Deadpool's case, it just happens to be true. – Misha R Sep 23 at 8:10

Movies are a little more vague on this but if you include comic lore it is much clearer. So I have read a lot of Deadpool comics and I can tell you he is fully aware that he is in a comic book but it is not derived from his mutant powers whatsoever just a side affect of his craziness. At one point he instructs the readers to update his wiki page to show that he was offered to join the X-Men and refused after Storm asks for his help even.

If you are looking for a character whose power revolves around manipulating the comic book she is in I would recommend the Gwenpool character. The Unbelievable Gwenpool #13 even has Deadpool and Gwen talking about being in each others books.

  • Can you provide some direct references to support this? – DavidW Sep 21 at 16:58
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    Ya it was Deadpool (2012) #36. Deadpool knows he is in a comic. – Brett Johnson Sep 21 at 17:26
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    @BrettJohnson - I love the tie in with Gwenpool, but this does not "show" that the ability is not related to his superpower and therefore does not technically answer the question. Is there another reference that you know of supporting/proving the idea that either of their wall breaking in the comics is not a superpower? – Odin1806 Sep 21 at 18:04
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    Gwenpool's powers are centered around her knowing she is in a comic so I would say her superpower is the ability to break the 4th wall. For Deadpool there is just an absence of any lore ever equating his powers to this knowledge, for him breaking the 4th wall is just something he does. So I would have to just say the complete lack of supporting material around it makes me believe it isn't associated with his forced mutation. – Brett Johnson Sep 21 at 18:14
  • Just more proof Deadpool is insane. – Jamie Clinton Sep 21 at 23:31

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