Chock-full of more sardonic R-rated (anti-)superheroic mayhem, Deadpool 2 is pretty much exactly what you are probably expecting it to be, which makes it, in and of itself, a wholly satisfying dive into the amusingly ribald and bloody world of Marvel's most anti-Marvel character. The movie actually begins with a joke at the expense of the otherwise moving death of Wolverine in Logan (2017), whose dramatic seriousness and allusions to classical westerns pretty much forms a template for everything that Deadpool 2 aims not to do (rather than die a bittersweet death saving children, Deadpool, aka Wade Wilson, tries to blow himself up, which, given his general indestructibility, is a gory exercise in futility).
Returning to the role he seems to have been born to play, Ryan Reynolds chews the scenery and everything else he can, clearly relishing the freedom he has to cut loose and mock anything and everything-including Green Lantern, his disastrous initial foray into superheroics, which once again gets special treatment here-in his naughty little corner of the Marvel universe. Deadpool is still doing what he does best, which mostly involves slicing, dicing, and gunning down assorted bad guys as judge, jury, and executioner, and then coming home to his sexually ravenous girlfriend, Vanessa (Morena Baccarin). But, dark things are on the horizon, and one of the more surprising elements of Deadpool 2 is that it manages to generate some moments of genuine pathos and consideration. Unlike the first movie, it is built on an ethical conundrum worth chewing on for a while.
The gist of the plot involves Deadpool, who for a good chunk of the movie is stripped of his superhuman powers and held in a prison, trying to protect a portly mutant teen named Russell Collins (Julian Dennison) from a part-cyborg soldier from the future named Cable (Josh Brolin), who thinks that the adult Russell, who has the ability to generate and throw fire from his hands, is responsible for killing his wife and daughter. Deadpool is sure that Russell, who is certainly a troubled kid, but hardly a vicious killer, could be capable of such a thing, and once he is convinced that it will happen, he becomes fixated on somehow stopping it. Thus, he and Cable are brought into conflict over their diverging plans on how to change the future, and ironically enough, Deadpool's is the plan that doesn't involve copious amounts of violence (although copious amounts of violence ensure, anyway).
Like any good, or decent, or even just watchable sequel, most of what was good in the first movie makes a repeat appearance here, including Deadpool's deadpan best friend Weasel (T.J. Miller) and his unlikely ally, the enormous metal hulk with a heart known as Colossus (Stefan Kapicic). Deadpool also surrounds himself this time around with his own X-Men like gang of specially powered would-be superheroes, although he christens them with the derivative title X-Force, which he happily proclaims is gender neutral. What becomes of that team is one of the movie's biggest, best, and most egregious jokes, although a few manage to make it above the fray, particularly Domino (Zazie Beetz), whose special power is good luck.
There have been a few changes behind the camera: returning screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (Zombieland) are officially joined on the title card by Reynolds, while directing duties have been assumed this time around by David Leitch, a stunt coordinator-turned-director who most recently helmed the stylishly serious, but no less cartoonish Atomic Blonde (2017). Leitch appears to have been perfectly comfortable in land of blood and snark, and he lets Reynolds and the cast do their thing, although any boundary pushing at this point just feels like par for the course.
Copyright © 2018 James Kendrick
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All images copyright © 20th Century Fox / Marvel Studios
Overall Rating: (3)
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