Lo, in the Mesozoic era of The Superhero Movie in decades past, the caped crimefighter could stand alone in a film, one well-known name usually enough to stir curious filmgoers into a state of flock-and-awe.

But as the cinematic superhero evolves, it is just that sort of fading solo-hero approach that Deadpool so knowingly mocks with one dead-on jab.

Yes, as Deadpool wins its second domestic weekend (US$55 million) and nears a half-billion dollars at the global box office - sure to soon become the biggest superhero comedy ever - it's easy to recognise that the central appeal is Ryan Reynolds' embodiment of "the merc with a mouth".

But one scene in particular nods to how Hollywood increasingly likes to maximise the firepower of its comic-book characters.

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At one point, Deadpool heads to the X-Mansion seeking some super-help in the forms of Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead.

As Deadpool breaks the verbal fourth wall, he notes that he only ever sees these two heroes living alone in the massive manse - as if 20th Century Fox "couldn't afford another X-Man".

In that moment, Deadpool is not only mocking the economics of these enterprises, but also spoofing the studio's penchant for seeking strength (and commercial appeal) in numbers.

In 2016, after all - unlike a decade ago - few major superheroes get the luxury of standing alone.

As the X-Men and Avengers franchises roll along - and such recent films as Guardians of the Galaxy introduce their heroes en masse - the studios are intent upon utilising many of their properties in each and every film.

Marvel's Guardians Of The Galaxy: Gamora, Peter Quill/Star-Lord, Rocket Raccoo, Drax The Destroyer and Groot. Photo / Supplied
Marvel's Guardians Of The Galaxy: Gamora, Peter Quill/Star-Lord, Rocket Raccoo, Drax The Destroyer and Groot. Photo / Supplied

Next month, of course, brings Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, as DC/Warner Bros, sensing the pressure and pace of how the game is now played, now builds films toward a big Justice League team-up.

Then in May, Disney/Marvel Studios - the pacesetter in this race - will deliver Captain America: Civil War, as a host of well-known heroes go head to head, followed weeks later by Fox's X-Men: Apocalypse.

And then August brings the return of Affleck's Batman as just one piece of DC's highly anticipated Suicide Squad, with Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn and Will Smith's Deadshot leading the antihero fun.

Marvel's Avengers is another film that uses a group of superheros to capture the viewers interest. Photo / Supplied
Marvel's Avengers is another film that uses a group of superheros to capture the viewers interest. Photo / Supplied

In other words: If you own so many toys in your commercial chest, it makes smart business sense to play with many of them each time out. This taps the mix-and-match fun of the comic books themselves.

Such plotting doesn't inure Hollywood against such flops as last year's Fantastic Four, of course. But generally, there is now commercial safety in numbers, too - which should prove interesting to track as DC unfurls solo titles like Wonder Woman and Aquaman over the next few years, on the heels of Doctor Strange late this year.