Ryan Reynolds’ Forgotten Superhero Role With Lisa Kudrow and Keiran Culkin Makes Him a Supe From Before Joining the DC Ranks

Published 01/20/2024, 2:33 AM EST

via Imago

Some oblivious to Ryan Reynolds’ wide-ranging portfolio may not know that the first superhero he portrayed was not Marvel’s Deadpool or DC’s Green Lantern. Well before he entered the comic book movies universe, in 2009 the buff quick-wit from Canada undertook a project that kick-started his love affair with spandex. It is also the only movie in which he flies through the sky in traditional superhero garbs featuring a red cape and the quintessential underpants over the suit. 

Similar to most of his works, this flick was a work of satire that fashioned itself as a bittersweet ‘coming-of-middle-age’ dramedy.

The first ever superhero role of Ryan Reynolds 

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The movie in question was an R-rated flick named Paper Man, taking after the central character’s aspirations to become a successful author. This writer, Richard (Jeff Daniels), was a man haunted by a failing marriage and a lack of motivation to pen his next novel. Enter Ryan Reynolds aka Captain Excellent, an imaginary superhero friend who had provided Daniels’ character comfort in peril since childhood. 

Well, the forlorn author was always in need of a cheerleader. So, Captain Excellent became the rock upon which he would rest his troubles. Often, he would call upon Captain to do ‘the voice’ which was basically a deep-throated version of a superhero’s introduction monologue. Besides Reynolds, whose latest superhero project is currently underway, the film headlined Friends‘ Lisa Kudrow (Richard’s wife), Succession star Kieran Culkin, and Emma Stone. 

Slowly, Captain Excellent and Richard’s newfound friend, Abby (Emma Stone) tried to help Richard. Then, a plot twist emerged in the guise of Kieran Culkin.

The connection between Keiran Culkin and Reynolds’ characters 

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When Richard moves to a remote town to work on his next literary piece, he encounters Abby, who is as despondent a personality as him. Constantly shadowed by a mysterious figure named Christopher (Kieran Culkin), the morose teenager guided Richard through the maze of growing up. Spoilers ahead! As it turns out, Chris was Abby’s own imaginary friend. He served the same purpose for Abby that Captain Excellent did for Richard.

via Imago

In Abby’s case, she had tragically lost her twin, which gave birth to her imaginary buddy. As the film reaches its culmination, both Richard and Abby bid an emotional adieu to Captain and Chris. They realized their non-existent pals had served their purpose. Ultimately, Richard walks away an invigorated man sans his writer’s block. And maybe Reynolds left with a newfound love for brightly colored ab-hugging ensembles!

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Have you watched Paper Man before? What are your thoughts on Reynolds’ primary superhero role? Share your thoughts in the comments. 

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Ibadat Kaur

586 articles

Ibadat Kaur is an entertainment writer at Netflix Junkie. Her love for Narcos & Pedro Pascal is what brought her to the world of entertainment news. She has immense love for historical and investigative documentaries on people and cultural practices.

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