The novelty of a fourth-wall-breaking, F-bomb-slinging, crotch-grabbing “superhero” may be gone but Deadpool’s not backing down an inch in this full-brunt sequel to the wildly popular R-rated 2016 comic book movie. With Deadpool 2, audiences will get what they expect – Ryan Reynolds spitballing irreverently, kinetic action scenes, a garbage truck full of winks and jabs at other superhero movies – but the comedic blockbuster has been reworked as a whole (*insert Deadpool joke about “reworking” a hole*), ironing out some of the kinks of its lurid predecessor, and making for an all-around more streamlined and better product.
Deadpool 2 is holistically a better movie than the first; it’s often funnier, filthier, and is generally more inspired. In reorienting the mission – this journey is about fighting for something, about being part of something greater than yourself – the movie allows the character a soul. The hard-R sequel provides room for growth that the context of a humdrum origin story could not bear and even the compulsory CGI slugfests feels more grounded in a legitimate sense of stakes and thereby infinitely more watchable. That’s because this time around Deadpool actually has something motivating his actions and the drive is greater than a butterface fix or a ho-hum damsel in distress routine.
David Leitch (Atomic Blonde) steps the camera working from a script from Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick and Reynolds and his comedic style is congruous to his action style. That is, it’s constantly in full assault mode. Leitch, who for years worked as a stunt coordinator, manages some impressive action sequences but it’s his furious fists of comedic jabs that keep Deadpool 2 as featherlight and fast-footed as it is. Where one joke stops, another starts and the constant attack of one-liners, quips, and pranks could prove exhausting where they not as admirably on the money as they often seem to be. Trimming the fat allows for a leaner, meaner affair but that doesn’t mean that Deadpool 2 doesn’t occasionally waste grating amounts of celluloid on dud jokes from time to time. There were certain instances that left me groaning, waiting for the gag to move on but by and large, the hit-to-miss ratio of Deadpool 2’s side-stitchers was impressively high.
We see the return of C-list X-Men characters Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand), T.J. Miller’s cowardly bar-keep Weasel and a newly charged-up Dopinder (Karan Soni) on a mission to kick some ass of his own but the sequel benefits most from the new additions to the cast. Josh Brolin’s Cable is an inspired counterpoint to Deadpool’s sugar-tongued wise-ass; he’s essentially Terminator on a revenge mission from the future and, unlike his fellow co-stars, wastes no time on quips.
Hunt for the Wilderpeople’s Julian Dennison is a more than welcome addition to the group and becomes the unlikely moral counterpoint around which Deadpool’s changing worldview pivots. A paternal relationship emerges between the pair that ties back into Wade Wilson’s familial aspiriations, the script managing room for the character to evolve as both a hero and a human. Breaking out from FX’s excellent show Atlanta, it’s Zazie Beetz who absolutely steals the show as the perpetually lucky Domino. She’s perhaps the most indispensable figure of this new cast and I’d pay to see a movie she leads any day. Deadpool 2 also boasts a number of amusing cameos, some of which cracked the audience into easy stitches, and has a host of mid-credits scene sure to rival the best out there.
Deadpool 2 remains nonetheless committed to reminding audiences there’s really only one true star here and that is Reynolds, who has slipped into this role like a silk robe and bunny slippers. The A-lister disappears into the burn-victim skin-suit of the fast-gabbing vigilante even more easily this time around and if there were ever any doubts about his assimilation into the role, they are but dust in the wind now. The man was literally born to play a smart-ass and no ass is smarter than his. Reynolds is a wind-up toy with no off-button and whether he’s masked or lumbering around with an overcooked Mr. Potato Head, he keeps the laugh lines running fast and heavy (*insert “Like Yo Mamma” joke here*).
Faithful readers may note my response to the 2016 Deadpool was a receptive but not entirely impressed lukewarm and for audiences who just couldn’t catch on to the verbose nastiness of that film, there is no conversion therapy awaiting you in the sequel. If you enjoyed round one though, you’re gonna love this shit. This two-fer is an all-around improvement, one that’s obnoxiously funny in spite of being obnoxious and improves upon the formula by giving the proceedings just a dash of emotional weight. Adding in some fresh new characters and more than a few memorable laughs make this an experience that is sure to equally delight fans and piss off the mothers who had to buy their tickets for them.
CONCLUSION: This juvenile, scatalogical, and hopelessly violent celebration of cinematic immaturity is nonetheless irresistibly entertaining. Aided by some stellar new cast additions, ‘Deadpool 2’ is super-smart-ass ruckus perfected; an all-around improvement on its predecessor.