X gon’ give it to ya… again.
Deadpool 2 is the action-comedy sequel to Deadpool directed by David Leitch (John Wick, Atomic Blonde). It once again stars Ryan Reynolds as the Merc with a Mouth, who must bring together a team of mutant heroes in order to save a young mutant called Russell (Julian Dennison) from badass time-traveller Cable (Josh Brolin).
Deadpool is a tough act to follow. Not only has it become widely beloved send-up of comic book films, it was a huge surprise that it turned out as successful as it did. Deadpool 2, no matter what it does, is never going to recapture that surprise factor. But thankfully, it doesn’t need to. While the jury’s out on whether this movie exceeds the first, this is exactly what you’d hope for from a Deadpool sequel – its funny, meta, vaguely disgusting and once again a little too conventional.
Deadpool 2 manages to double down not only on the strengths of the first but also the weaknesses, and that’s fairly easy to see in the plot. In trying to make their cake and eat it too, Deadpool 2 both makes fun of all the tropes of superhero films while indulging in them just as much. And while the plot is certainly better than the wafer-thin narrative in the first, it still suffers in all the same places with all the same indulgent moments and yes, no one is going to see Deadpool 2 for the plot, but its certainly one thing this franchise hasn’t nailed yet.
What the franchise HAS nailed however is the comedy and mother@#$%@ this film is funny. For every joke that doesn’t land, there’s another five that makes a crater-sized hole in the theatre and creates moment after moment of pure unadulterated laughter (note: this is a great film to see with a packed audience). Its meta, vulgar, subversive, surprising and all around very funny. For fans of the genre especially, there’s more references here to shake a baby dick at as Deadpool continues his trend of being the weird cousin of the superhero genre that constantly seems to ruin family dinners.
One element that has legitimately improved between films however is the action. Bringing in David Leitch (despite all the background drama behind the scenes) has clearly been great for the action on display thanks to all his experience with stunt work and John Wick in particular. Its fast, frenetic, violent, gloriously gory and all fits perfectly into the film’s style. This is helped by the fact the budget is almost doubled this time around meaning that the CGI spectacle has been amped up significantly. Its not particularly good CGI but it does add a greater level of scale and excitement over the first film that always felt a little too restricted by its budget.
Yet another thing that has improved (albeit not significantly) is the cast. Ryan Reynolds once again simply is Deadpool – this is not only a RDJ/Christopher Reeves thing where he perfectly embodies the character, but I truly believe if Reynolds is only a cancer diagnosis away from truly being Wade Wilson. And mutant powers as well, sure. All of the other returning cast members are great too – Stefan Kapicic (Collossus) and Brianna Hildebrand (Negasonic Teenage Warhead) both return and while being a little underutilised are still great additions to any film. The one person who truly suffers between films however is Morena Baccarin. To no fault of her own, the film does her a serious disservice and she gets far less screen time and story relevance than she should and its a damn shame after making a surprisingly strong impression in the first movie.
On the other hand, newcomers Brolin and Zazie Beetz are both fantastic in their respective roles. Cable is as true to the comics as you can get and Brolin has the perfect combination of grizzled anger and self-seriousness to pull him off in all his deadpan, shiny glory. Beetz as Domino however is the true breakout of the film though – while she differs somewhat from her comic counterpart, she’s a fantastic addition and plays off the rest of the cast incredibly well. Special mention also has to go to Dennison (Hunt For the Wilderpeople for #skuxlife) who actually gives a surprisingly layered and pathos-driven performance amongst all this wit and carnage.
Going to see Deadpool 2 is like having the same great meal for a second time. Its still as great as you remember, with all the same ingredients but just doesn’t feel as exciting the second time around. Deadpool 2 is hilarious, action-packed and boasts a slightly more improved plot to the first, but also falls into a few of the same flavour potholes along the way. Also worth noting this metaphorical meal is a chimichanga because Deadpool.
General Audiences: Highly Recommended
Film Buffs: Recommended
True Believers (Deadpool): Highly Recommended