I've seen the Deadpool movie, but don't have any knowledge of or experience with any of the comics.

What I noticed is that the film appears to set "Maximum effort" up as a catchphrase of sorts. I can recall at least three instances where the phrase was used:

  1. At the start of the film, where Deadpool says it shortly before dropping off an overpass and through the sunroof of a moving car.

  2. Towards the end of the film, where upon realizing that he has no firearms Deadpool says something to the effect of "we'll just have to do this the old-fashioned way, with two swords and maximum effort".

  3. Even further towards the end of the film, when he's struggling to throw/detach the O2 deprivation chamber.

What's not clear to me after watching the film is if the catchphrase is being played straight, meant to be taken ironically/as a lampshade whenever Deadpool does something that's only possible because the plot requires it, or a reference to an inside joke that only people who have read the comics will get. Which is it?

  • 1
    As a fourth, he always says in the bathroom when he goes to see Vanessa in the strip club.
    – TMH
    Feb 16, 2016 at 19:09
  • I was curious about this myself, and I think Alexandru Cimpanu was onto something re: the soundtrack song "MAXIMUM EFFORT" (youtu.be/4wD5tamhwXo): I've only seen the movie once, but what if Deadpool's calling his own musical cues?
    – user31303
    Feb 17, 2016 at 21:16
  • I think it's reference to Spidey's "maximum spider"...
    – user31310
    Feb 18, 2016 at 1:21
  • 1
    For reference, the catchphrase has NEVER APPEARED in the original Deadpool comics. Haven't kept up with Vol 3 (The Way travesty era) or Vol 4 (Posehn/Duggan current era), but its not in the Leifeld or Kelly era at all. It's strictly a movie thing.
    – cde
    Mar 29, 2016 at 3:45
  • @cde: "Never" is a pretty strong word. imgur.com/z0Z88dG (Which is, FWIW, a Leifeld/Kelly book; #900, 2009. But I'm no Comic Book Guy or anything, so maybe that was a special occasion or something; I wouldn't know.)
    – Crates
    May 13, 2016 at 18:42

3 Answers 3


To me, "maximum effort" was a powerful motif that tells the audience more about the psyche of Deadpool -- a man who allows his life to oscillate, too predictably, between moments of extreme danger and safety.

Deadpool, who is, for reasons unknown to the ignorant, non-comic-book-reading masses, too messed up to try hard everyday and improve his life, is satisfied with putting in low effort until it leads him into dangerous situations where he and his loved ones are threatened. It's very relatable -- the idea that Deadpool has the ability to consciously choose to put in low effort and maximum effort at will -- because most everyone in the world has struggled with discipline.

However, what Deadpool lacks in discipline, he makes up for in passion -- he loves his girlfriend, he loves having sex, and he loves being extraordinarily violent. He would flirt with the line between childhood and adulthood only if he were sure he would be having sex with it by the end of the night. In short, he likes to have fun. That's why the film seems so good to teenagers, who struggle with Deadpool's issues on a smaller scale. That's also why it was slightly triggering.

Anyway, "maximum effort" is an indication that Wade Wilson is more than just a superhero. He's also ridiculously, unapologetically human.


Didn't really gave too much attention to the phrase when watching the movie.

I found out a song while searching for an explanation: Maximum Effort (Deadpool OST) - Tom Holkenborg aka Junkie XL. Don't really think it's any connection between them though.

Also in this article it is mentioned that There’s some vague motivational thinking going on, or at least a catchphrase, “maximum effort!”, that is used frequently for no clear reason.


The same question is discussed here and one of the answers contains a image from Deadpool #900 (October 2009 Special Issue, between Deadpool Vol. 2 #16 and #17, essentially starting Deadpool Team-Up) where the phrase is used.

enter image description here

  • 1
    Any reasons for the down-vote? Feb 18, 2016 at 7:07
  • It's a bit circular, what came first, the phrase in the movie or the song for the movie? Still +1
    – cde
    Mar 29, 2016 at 3:39
  • I know, that's why I mentioned that in my opinion there isn't any connection between them. Mar 29, 2016 at 6:26
  • Deadpool team-up era. ugh.
    – cde
    Mar 29, 2016 at 6:42

I feel like it's a satirical reference to the nano suit in the Crysis game series. When nano suit skills are activated the HUD audio voice will call out "maximum armor", "maximum speed" etc. I may be way off but it's certainly not out of the ballpark.

  • 2
    Why so many downvotes? To those downvoting, have you played the Crysis games, cause this was exactly what I thought when I heard the lines, and this makes more sense than any of the other answers here, especially when considering every other line in the movie was some sort of out-of-universe reference Feb 22, 2016 at 13:22
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    I don't understand the downvotes either - I thought the same thing (hence I googled this). Have a +1 :) Mar 16, 2016 at 15:19
  • 3
    I figure the down votes are because Wade makes no other similar latest Gen video game references. All his movie references are to 80s/90s pop culture, and digs at marvel. There is no obvious connection to late 2000 video games. Hell I didn't even spot an Xbox, Playstation, or computer in the movie. Unless you have a source explaining that the movie is referencing the game, it's just random speculation.
    – cde
    Mar 29, 2016 at 3:31

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