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, which I thought was everything you expected it to be and more. It was an immature superhero movie that made fun of its own genre, but which still suffered from some of the same problems as the lesser films in the genre. What made the film soar for me was the central love story, which was the driving force of the origin story.

To me, David Leitch’s Deadpool 2 is, however, everything you expect from a Deadpool movie without much of what made the first one so special — a freshness and a beating heart at the center of the story that worked. It is by no means a bad film — if anything, it certainly is a good Deadpool movie (it is a fine sequel) — but 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 least, that is what the Merc with a Mouth is going for. When a failed mission goes terribly wrong, Wade Wilson/Deadpool (played by Ryan Reynolds) is forced to team up with heroes of varying capability in order to save the young mutant Russell “Firefist” Collins (played by Julian Dennison) from a time-traveling cybernetic mutant soldier named Cable (played by Josh Brolin).

I have been excited for this film ever since the first Deadpool ended, and the title character, in the first film’s post-credits scene, teased that they were going to use the Cable character in the sequel. Ryan Reynolds makes his own character so electrifying to watch because his predictable humor is made strong by impeccable, note-perfect delivery.

Once again, Ryan Reynolds is the very best thing about a Deadpool film. Most of his one-liners landed in this film, which brings me to something that really delighted me — the writers 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, so stick around for those — they are hysterical.

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 (including those owned by rival studios) as they liked without consequence. 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.

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 actually is more cinematic than either Deadpool or I ever expected). 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 (except for the very funny Julian Dennison) simply did not work for me, and that includes Josh Brolin’s Cable, whose backstory is under-explored and, as a result, unexciting. I think that both Brolin’s dedication and the character deserve better.

The film’s plot also 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, for better and worse, zags and, ultimately, becomes a different beast entirely as the film seems very interested in setting up another franchise — the ‘X-Force’.

The film makes fun of franchise-builders (at one point to great effect), even though it, to me, seemed like it aspired to be the exact same thing as those superhero films that branch out into spin-offs and team-up films. This sidelines some characters I would’ve liked to see more of.

Related to this is mine own dislike of a major plot-point that propels the narrative forward, which left me feeling empty as I thought it was a move that got rid of a major strength of the first film. To me, the emotional moments in this film rang hollow because of this move that, to me, betrayed the journey of the first film. This comes very early on in the film, in an opening that seemed a little bit messy to me. Also, I did think that the CGI was iffy at best in some pivotal action scenes and other revealing slow-motion scenes.

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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