Here’s something you probably didn’t expect from Deadpool 2; it’s a “family film.” Or at least that’s how Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds, still in the role he was born to play) describes it early on in the sequel to 2016’s surprising smash hit. It’s doubtful anybody expected the first movie to be as great as it was, a foul-mouthed hyper violent take on Marvel’s infamous merc that broke the fourth wall and superhero tropes right along with them. As far as comic adaptations go it’s nearly perfect, so the sequel has a ton to live up to. But again…it’s a “family film”, which may sound like the wrong direction for the most successful R-rated movie of all-time to go.
Unless that family is really, seriously, terminally fucked up. Because Deadpool 2 definitely is.
Bigger, badder, funnier, and more meta than ever, Deadpool 2 is the overstuffed chimichanga of awesomeness we were hoping it would be. Now directed by David Leitch, who co-directed John Wick and directed Atomic Blonde, the film manages to be even leaner than its rail thin predecessor, and yet packs more quips, heart, bloodshed, and humor so self-aware it’s like Deadpool is reading your mind. If there was a complaint about the last movie it was that sometimes it strained too hard to earn that R-rating, but screenwriters Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick, and Reynolds hit a solid groove of vulgarity and run with it like a streaker across a college campus.
Deadpool continues on his hero’s journey to become a better killer or something, or maybe someone who only kills bad guys, but this time he’s faced with an unexpected tragedy that sets him on an unlikely, and explosive, course of action. It leads him back to his old pals the X-Men, or at least the ones Fox has agreed to pony up for like Colossus (Stefan Kapicic), Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand), and her new girlfriend Surge (Shioli Kutsuna) . As for the rest of Xavier’s mutant squad…well, you’ll just have to wait and see what they’re up to but I’ll say it was the moment that gave me the biggest laugh. Inspired by his lady love Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), Deadpool sets out to protect an angry young mutant, Russell aka the horribly-named Fire Fist (Hunt for the Wilderpeople‘s Julian Dennison), from Cable (Josh Brolin), a warrior from the future sent back to kill the boy and prevent a disaster.
It’s so very Terminator that they barely make fun of it. It’s just too easy.
Not just a Deadpool sequel but an origin story for Cable and the launch of a possible X-Force franchise, there is a lot this movie needs to accomplish. The actual assembling of Deadpool’s team of badass mutants to “carry the franchise for 10 or 12 years” goes in the opposite direction you’re probably thinking and I’m not going to spoil it. There are some pretty big Marvel characters that join up, too, but the best among them is Domino (Zazie Beetz), whose wild hair and “good luck” powers provide some of the film’s most cinematically pleasing moments. She has the coolest attitude and a car-flipping action sequence that rivals anything Deadpool gets to experience on his own. In fact, he seems to have taken a bit of a step back in terms of kicking ass this time, with the slack picked up by the numerous other characters introduced. Sure, he still lops off his share of heads and sprays plenty of bullets, but it’s Cable and Domino who have the most fun.
As a longtime fan of X-Force it’s weird for me to see Cable and Domino on opposing paths like this, (Cable, Domino, and Deadpool had a very strange dynamic in the comics, long story), but Brolin and Beetz play it so well that I easily got over it. Of course Brolin is super rigid as the humorless Cable, becoming an impromptu straight man for Deadpool’s many Marvel-themed jokes at his expense, some perfectly timed to the release of Avengers: Infinity War and Brolin’s role as Thanos. The Cable character has always been less interesting on his own and the same applies here. He’s pretty flat until forced to interact with Deadpool and X-Force, which is when he becomes more than just a dude with a really big gun and a metal arm. No, he’s not the Winter Soldier, but don’t think Deadpool missed the resemblance.
The supporting cast from the previous movie all return; Baccarin, TJ Miller as Weasel, Karan Soni as the taxi driver Dupinder, and Leslie Uggams as Blind Al. All get their moments, and some, like in the case with Dopinder, get more screen time than ever. I’m assuming his part was beefed up at the expense of Weasel’s since nobody wants anything to do with TJ Miller right now. Of all the returning characters his is the most tacked on an unnecessary. Don’t expect him to come back when/if there is a third movie.
One thing you don’t have to worry about are the best moments being spoiled by the many trailers and promos. A lot has been cut out in the final version and it’s actually for the better. One thing the promos completely leave out are the emotional stakes, and believe it or not there really are some this time. Deadpool goes through the wringer here, and while he’s still just as idiotic as ever we are made to care if he makes it through to the other side with his fragile grip on reality intact. Everything is taken to the extreme and that includes the merciless tugging at our heartstrings, especially in the final act. Of course, Deadpool can’t help but prick us in our bleeding hearts and laugh about it the whole time.
If there’s still dust in your eyes over the grim Infinity War finale, Deadpool 2 might be the solution you need. And it has a post-credits scene that is more essential viewing than most whole movies. Let’s see the Avengers try and top that.