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Given the scope of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s hard to find a modern movie without a Marvel connection these days. That said, Netflix’s new family-friendly sci-fi flick The Adam Project—which began streaming today—features no less than four actors who also once played a major Marvel superhero. So of course, the filmmakers couldn’t resist throwing a few Marvel Easter Eggs in The Adam Project.
Though Zoe Saldaña and Jennifer Garner both had roles in Marvel movies as Gamora and Elektra respectively, The Adam Project cast members who get a special shout-out for their Marvel alter-egos are Ryan Reynolds and Mark Ruffalo, aka Deadpool and The Hulk. In The Adam Project, Ruffalo and Reynolds play father and son, which is possible because Reynolds’ character, Adam, time-traveled from the year 2050 to meet up with his younger self, as well as with his younger dad. There’s a lot of timey-wimey action-adventure plot stuff, as well as a lot of emotional unpacking of childhood trauma.
Amidst it all, there are several winking references to both Reynolds famous R-rated antihero in Deadpool and Deadpool 2, as well as Ruffalo’s role as the green, angry other guy, The Incredible Hulk, in The Avengers franchise. For instance, during the big, climactic fight at the end of the movie, Young Adam (played by Walker Scobell) gets ahold of his adult counterpart’s weapon—a lightsaber, basically—does a sick flip, and lands in a crouch with one fist in the ground. After he sticks the landing, he whispers one of Deadpool’s famous lines, “Superhero landing.” Of course, then the camera cuts to Reynolds’ incredulous face, presumably at the sheer gall of this kid stealing his lines. The reference was no doubt a blast for the young Scobell, who is a Deadpool superfan—so much so that he had memorized the entirety of Deadpool 2 well before he was ever cast in The Adam Project.
Later in the film, when both Adams and their father have defeated the evil villain, they decide to all play catch together before the Adams are sent back to their own timeline. Ruffalo opens a storage bin to grab the mitts and ball—and sharp-eyed viewers might notice a few interesting stickers on that storage bin lid.
It is, of course, a Deadpool sticker and a Hulk sticker—and specifically, it’s Mark Ruffalo’s version of the Hulk. Of course, due to boring legal reasons, Reynolds’ Deadpool and Ruffalo’s Hulk have never been in a movie together. (Now that Disney owns Fox, that is expected to someday change—we’ll see!) But at least Reynolds and Ruffalo got to share the screen as part of a father-and-son-and-son trio in The Adam Project. If anything, it proves that Wade Wilson and Bruce Banner would make for a fantastic MCU team-up.