Director: David Leitch
Starring: Josh Brolin, Josh Brolin, Morena Baccarin, Zazie Beetz, Brianna Hildebrand, Julian Dennison, Stefan Kapicic, Leslie Uggams
The 2016 release of Deadpool changed the game for superhero movies by presenting an R-rated, ultra-violent character. It wasn’t the first time Ryan Reynolds played Deadpool, but this was the approach fans wanted after the abysmal X-Men Origins: Wolverine in 2009. It raked in massively at the box office and proved to be the best role for Reynolds to date. In Deadpool 2, Wade Wilson has seen better days being his foul-mouthed mercenary alter ego Deadpool. The job never ends, but it won’t stop him from celebrating his anniversary to his wife Vanessa (Baccerine). They decide to start a family, which brings a newfound joy to Wade. In the middle of their romantic night a few hitmen break in turning the night into tragedy. Wade starts to feel extra mopey wondering if his actions and lifestyle were the cause of all of this. He’s literally scooped by the mutant Colossus (Kapicic) and taken back to Xavier’s School for Gifted Mutants in an attempt to turn him into one of the X-Men.
One of their first missions is to rescue a young mutant named Russell/Firefist (Dennison) who’s in the middle of a hostage situation at his orphanage. Firefist comes with more baggage than Deadpool realized when he comes face to face with Josh Brolin’s Cable, a robot sent from the future to kill Russell. Wade’s growing paternal nature comes into play as he feels the call to be Russell’s protector from Cable. Deadpool and Colossus gather a few more mutants like Domino, Negasonic Teenage Warhead, and a few other surprise characters to create a new super group named the X-Force. Deadpool reiterates that this is a gender-neutral name as opposed to the outdated X-Men.
The first Deadpool felt fresh and original setting the character apart from other Marvel characters. Its self-deprecating tone and lavish pop culture references allowed the movie to never take itself too seriously like a majority of superhero movies do. The writing team of Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick, and star Ryan Reynolds earned their R-rating with every bloody action scene and politically incorrect slam the character mouthed off. This is not kid-friendly material by any means. Now that we know what to expect from the character, that same original quality is lacking, but the tone is exactly what you come to expect from the character. There are so many jabs packed into any given scene poking fun of Reynolds, Marvel, DC, and a variety of other references to the superhero genre. The opening title sequence was a perfect James Bond spoof with the Celine Dion sung theme “Ashes.” The catch with this style is that you have to know the genre to appreciate the humor or else you may be lost.
Once we meet the film’s key villain of Cable, it becomes very apparent that the movie is clearly drawing from The Terminator with no qualms about it. This would never work with another movie, yet given the nature of Deadpool 2, you buy into how much it rips off James Cameron’s 1984 futuristic film. Josh Brolin always makes for a strong bad guy, and Cable has a few tricks up his sleeve with the character. This is his second time playing a Marvel villain within a just a few weeks following the release of Avengers: Infinity War. Yes, there’s a dig at that movie too. He’s such a fun character that I wish the writers would have brought him in a bit sooner. The story meanders early on with Deadpool being a sad sack leading into the introduction of the Firefist character. There’s a prison sequence with both of them that drags a bit. There was a lack of forward motion, which is the opposite of how witty and precise the humor can be overall.
Like many successful sequels, Deadpool 2 is bolder, bigger, and definitely pushes the boundaries. I actually think it could have gone even further without feeling too obnoxious. Director David Leitch knows his way around executing large-scale action sequences given his work on John Wick and Atomic Blonde. There are many times Deadpool breaks the fourth wall and addresses the audience. Even he admits, “There’s a big CGI fight coming up.” There are quite a few surprises along the way, and the writers are not afraid to kill off characters left and right. Ryan Reynolds is a big contributing factor to the film’s success as he knows how to make this character stand out. He’s incredibly egotistical and mouthy which could be off-putting for some, but the target audience will holler with laughter. Returning for this second round is Morena Baccarin as Wade’s wife, Vanessa, T.J. Miller as his friend and barkeep Weasel, and Leslie Uggams as Big Al. I’d like to put in a request for more Big Al in future Deadpool sequels. Terry Crews, Bill Skarsgård, and a few surprise faces pop up in cameo roles.
I prefer my superhero movies to feel a bit more grounded in reality instead of the ridiculously over-the-top nature of Deadpool 2. That’s just a personal preference, but fans of the first film will no doubt enjoy the sequel as the bite still lands. I don’t see the franchise slowing down but maybe it can blend the two approaches in the next film without compromising the fun factor.
Is It Worth Your Trip to the Movies? There’s no sequel slump for Deadpool 2
RATING: 3.5 out of 5 TICKET STUBS