Published on May 18th, 2018 | by Dan Nicholls0
Ryan Reynolds’ take on the Merc with the Mouth is back, and somehow, manages to defy expectations and be a better movie than the original.
Two years and approximately 89 superhero movies later, the world’s biggest breakout solo character Deadpool is back to seize the genre with full force. As portrayed (perhaps ‘inhabited’ is more fitting) by Ryan Reynolds, the erstwhile Wade Wilson has risen from underdog ranks to bona fide blockbuster superstar status. With greater expectations comes immeasurable pressure to prove that 2016’s Deadpool wasn’t just a one-trick pony. It’s a tall order and I don’t know how they did it but Deadpool 2 manages to beat the odds to emerge as a superior product than its predecessor.
Your receptiveness to Deadpool 2’s charm can be determined by your tolerance for the first film and/or the encroaching-on-annoying shtick of Ryan Reynolds. There is no ‘off’ button on this ride and many audience members are going to find their patience tried harder than it was by the runtime of Avengers: Infinity War. You shouldn’t anticipate anything here that would reverse any misgivings you have about Deadpool as a character or this series’ meta sentience. If the first movie was your thing, however, this follow up is going to be your 2018 summer jam.
There’s a lot that is going to differentiate Deadpool 2 from its predecessor despite the sequel’s retreading of similar themes and duplication of the former’s narrative structure. It’s jam-packed with more gags, effects, and cameos than the first film by a wide margin. It also dips its toes into some more dramatic territory that makes it feel, ever so briefly, like a serious film and not just one big extended lark. But, alas, the stakes don’t matter and the only lessons learned are of a pre-school level. That’s not why people go to these movies, obviously, so those aren’t totally audience-appropriate concerns. But they do hold Deadpool 2 back from really breaking the mold.
No spoilers about the movie’s plot will be found here because, frankly, there isn’t a lot to the story itself. Deadpool continues his life of vigilante violence with a vengeance as he races against a man from the future to prevent a potentially apocalyptic event. Bullets and zingers abound and blood flows in equal measure with foul-mouthed expletives and gratuitous absurdity. The fourth wall doesn’t get broken so much as it’s demolished into dust. And it’s all nonstop fun.
The whole thing’s just an excuse to bring together a plethora of disparate characters and watch them bounce off each other. The approach works splendidly – newcomers Domino (Zazie Beetz) and Cable (Josh Brolin) instantly leave indelible impressions as the Merc with a Mouth’s newest foils and cement their assumed status as franchise mainstays moving forward. Young New Zealand actor Julian Dennison (best known as bad egg Ricky Baker in Hunt for the Wilderpeople) handily supports the weight of his character’s integral capacity to the story and central theme. Plus we get an eclectic array of heroes in Deadpool’s new X-Force: Bedlam (Terry Crews), Zeitgeist (Bill Skarsgard), Shatterstar (Lewis Tan), and Peter (Rob Delaney). Not enough for you? Don’t worry – fully CGI X-Man Colossus is back with Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) and Weasel (T.J. Miller) in tow. There’s almost not enough room for everyone to play a part but somehow they all get their own moments.
Filmmaking is a collaborative art but these Deadpool flicks really do feel like they should have a title card reading ‘A Ryan Reynolds Joint.’ Despite having his face hidden for 99% of the runtime the star exudes the charisma, energy, and confidence that this character needs. His irreverent style expands into almost every other area of production; it’s no surprise that he’s credited with co-writing the screenplay (alongside Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick) in addition to producing this time around.
When there’s so much splattered across every frame it’s impossible that each and every joke is going to land. So, of course, there are parts that don’t work and scenes that feel a bit misguided. But when so much of the content just soars like this you have got to be hard pressed not to walk out feeling satisfied. It’s a lot of a lot of things but Deadpool 2 is enough of a madcap singularity to maintain a legacy all of its own.
Rewatchability is going to be higher with Deadpool 2, I believe, than the first movie. The original was quaint and succinct by comparison but this sequel just amps everything up to 11 across the board and it’s frankly a more all-around entertaining time at the movies. It’s clunkier but funnier, less inspired but more on point. It nearly goes full-on Looney Tunes but sneaks in to surprise you with a dose of actual human heart. Deadpool 2 isn’t a great film by any means but it’s the type of self-aware sendup that demands to be buoyed by the laughter from jam-packed theaters on opening weekend. Oh, and it’s got a mid-credits scene to put all others to shame.