Review by Derrick Carter
Running Time: 1 hour 59 minutes
MPAA Rating: R for Strong Violence and Language throughout, Sexual References and brief Drug Material.
Directed by: David Leitch
Written by: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick & Ryan Reynolds
(based on the comics by Fabian Nicieza & Rob Liefeld)
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Morena Baccarin, Julian Dennison, Zazie Beetz, TJ Miller, Brianna Hildebrand, Jack Kesy & Stefan Kapicic
Back in February 2016, DEADPOOL was released and significantly shook up studio expectations of what an R-rated superhero film could do. The crudely hilarious comic book adaptation broke box office records, converted many newcomers into DEADPOOL fans, and has influenced studios to make riskier R-rated projects since its well-deserved success. DEADPOOL is the reason for last year’s LOGAN being a proper treatment of Wolverine and now we finally have a full-blown sequel. How does it compare to the first film? While I wouldn’t say that’s it’s on the same level as or better than the original (as some fans have been claiming), it’s a blast of ultra-violent, bombastically hilarious fun!
Taking place shortly after the events of the first film (Deadpool’s origin story), DEADPOOL 2 follows the masked merc with a mouth Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) as he struggles to cope with unforeseen problems in his life (no spoilers). Wade/Deadpool isn’t taking it well, but finds his life gets a little more interesting when Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) and Nega-Sonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) recruit him as an X-Men Trainee. Soon enough, Deadpool is trying to form his own super-duper group to stop angry futuristic soldier Cable (Josh Brolin) from eliminating a pyrokinetic little brat named Russell (Julian Dennison). However, there is more to Cable’s motives than Deadpool assumes and many lives hang in the balance…all while Deadpool kills things and makes wisecracks. So you know, it’s kind of what you would expect from a DEADPOOL sequel.
DEADPOOL 2 clearly has a bigger budget than its relatively small scale predecessor (which basically served as an origin story for the masked merc with a mouth). As a result, the second film ups the ante in both its scope and plot. While that would normally push any sequel above the high bar set by the original, DEADPOOL 2 actually falls a few steps below the first film’s quality. That’s not to say it’s bad (it certainly isn’t and I’ve seen the film twice in theaters now), but the novelty has slightly worn off since the 2016’s crude, lewd, and ultra-violent R-rated predecessor.
From the get-go, DEADPOOL 2 makes it clear that it’s keeping the very adult, immature, and irreverent tone/humor that fans love so much. The opening credits wonderfully spoof any number of 007 films and will no doubt result in lots of laughter from the audience. Also, be sure to stick around for an end credits montage of material that had more borderline in tears from laughing so hard. It’s still quite refreshing to see a big screen superhero that doesn’t take its material seriously in any way, shape, or form and focuses on entertainment above setting up lore for future installments (though DEADPOOL 2 makes it clear when it’s doing that as well, in the formation of the X-Force).
As far as the cast goes, Ryan Reynolds still seems like he was born to play Wade Wilson/Deadpool. Morena Baccarin receives slightly more serious material and screen time as Deadpool’s significant other Vanessa in this outing. Josh Brolin damn near steals every scene he’s in as the ultra-stoic, super-dark Cable (a futuristic soldier whom Deadpool points out seems more suited towards the DC Universe than this light-hearted Marvel film). Young New Zealander Julian Dennison is hilarious as the foul-mouthed, adolescent mutant Firefist. Zazie Beetz is also great as the upbeat, luck-powered Domino. Despite what Deadpool says about her, Domino’s lucky powers do have lots of cinematic flare to be seen on the big screen and make her stick out amongst her X-Force pals.
Even though DEADPOOL 2’s script offers loads of ties to the comic book material, tons of bloody ultra-violence, and a more complicated narrative, it somehow winds up being more predictable than the first film. The film occasionally takes on a half-hearted serious attitude regarding one of its major plot developments and (though the script occasionally mocks this twist) the tonal shifts feel out of place. I could also clearly see where the entire film was going as it set itself up, because it hits many plot beats that we’ve seen before in other sci-fi/superhero films (including earlier X-MEN films). The result is that some of the thrills were ever so slightly diminished and I felt like I was just waiting for certain plot points to arrive. This might also be because the novelty of a foul-mouthed, R-rated superhero film has slightly worn off (which Deadpool acknowledges in the opening minutes of this sequel).
If you loved the first DEADPOOL, you’ll probably wind up liking/loving this sequel. I had a blast watching DEADPOOL 2 and it’s still refreshing to see an ultra-violent, irreverent superhero blockbuster amongst the overflow of modern comic book adaptations. This sequel’s story is set on a larger scale than the first film’s contained narrative, though it’s definitely more predictable this time around. The new characters are extremely fun to watch, while the old ones maintain their likability. The humor results in tons of laughs and is sure to shock viewers on a few occasions (stick around for the mid-credits montage). However, I’d say the occasional lack of freshness puts DEADPOOL 2 a few steps below the first film. Face it, you likely know whether or not you’re going to see this movie (you probably already have) and/or if you’ll enjoy it! Here’s to DEADPOOL 3!