REVIEW: Deadpool 2 (2018)

Release poster — 20th Century Fox

The following is a review of Deadpool 2 — Directed by David Leitch.

I was a big fan of Tim Miller’s Deadpool. Miller’s directorial debut somehow exceeded my expectations. It was an immature but hilarious superhero movie that found a lot of success in poking fun at its own subgenre, even though it still suffered from some of the same problems as the lesser films in its subgenre. What made me love the film, however, was the central love story, which was the driving force of the origin story.

To me, David Leitch’s Deadpool 2 is, however, everything I had originally expected from a Deadpool movie, which is to say that it doesn’t have what I thought made the first film special (i.e. a freshness and a beating heart at the center of the story). Although it is a perfectly fine sequel, I have to admit that I was a little bit underwhelmed.

Without going into spoilers, I can say that Deadpool 2 is an R-rated version of a family movie. At the very least, that is what Leitch and the screenwriters went for. When a failed mission goes terribly wrong, Wade “Deadpool” Wilson (played by Ryan Reynolds) is forced to team up with heroes of varying capability in order to save a young mutant, Russell “Firefist” Collins (played by Julian Dennison), from a time-traveling cybernetic mutant soldier named Cable (played by Josh Brolin).

Once again, Ryan Reynolds is the very best thing about a Deadpool film. Ryan Reynolds makes this character so electrifying to watch. The film’s predictable reference comedy is made strong by Reynolds’ impeccable, note-perfect delivery. The screenwriters cranked-up the meta-references and name-drops to eleven. I should also note that the film’s arguably funniest scenes are mid-credits scenes, which is both a good and a bad thing. These mid-credits scenes are absolutely hysterical, but, for reasons I cannot get into without spoiling the film, I think these scenes also potentially undo the entire story the film told, which, I think, is slightly confusing and annoying.

If you are going into this film with the expectation that it will still poke fun at Green Lantern, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and superhero trends, then you will be very happy with the final product. It felt like the writers had been given carte blanche to name-drop as many superhero characters as they liked (including those owned by rival studios). On top of that, our favorite immature and violent superhero hitman doesn’t just know he is in a movie, he also knows exactly how well the first film performed at the box office.

As mentioned, Deadpool 2 is all about family and team-ups, and, as such, the new additions and returning stars need to live up to their potential for the film to shine. The familiar face of Colossus (voiced by Stefan Kapicic) returns, and I think he works even better in this film than he did in the first one. The best of the newcomers is, undoubtedly, Domino (played by Zazie Beetz), whose superpower is more cinematic than I thought it would be. When the film was over, Beetz’s character was the only newcomer that I was desperate to see again.

Unfortunately, the rest of the new additions simply did not work for me. I have been looking forward to this film ever since the first Deadpool ended. At the very end of Miller’s film, the title character, in the first film’s post-credits scene, teased that they were going to use the Cable-character in the sequel, which made me very excited. However, I was very disappointed by what Deadpool 2 did with Josh Brolin’s Cable-character. His backstory is under-explored and, as a result, unexciting. This is a real shame as the character and Brolin’s dedication deserved better.

I need to mention that I strongly disliked the major plot-point that propels the narrative forward. This plot-point involves the beating heart of the first film, Vanessa (played by Morena Baccarin), who the film basically sidelines. To me, the emotional moments in this film rang hollow because of this major plot point that, I think, betrayed the journey of the first film. This happens very early on in the film, in an opening that, generally, seemed a little bit messy to me.

The film’s plot isn’t as easy to follow as the plot in Tim Miller’s film was, and the writers of Deadpool 2 recycle some familiar plot elements from other popular films. Where if it had zigged it would have become Deadpool’s version of Terminator 2: Judgment Day, the film zags and becomes a different beast entirely. The film seems very interested in setting up a spin-off film about Wade Wilson’s new team, the ‘X-Force’. In trying to juggle these two different plots, the film sidelines characters that I would’ve loved to see more of. Also, the film makes fun of franchise-builders (at one point to great effect). However, since it also seemed like Deadpool 2 aspired to do the exact same thing as the films the main character was mocking, it felt a little bit cheap to me.

With all of that having been said, this movie is most likely still the movie that you want to see, if you loved Tim Miller’s film. It is still laugh-out-loud funny, it still makes fun of its own genre (and itself), and, yes, it leaves you with a smile on your face. Although it isn’t as fresh or has as much ‘heart’ as the first film did, Deadpool 2 is still a fine sequel that comes complete with its very own James Bond-esque title sequence that fans will adore.

7.5 out of 10

– Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen.

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