Part of the joy of the first Deadpool was how shocking it was to hear all those different iterations of the word “fuck” coming from a costumed superhero. It was the surprise and delight filthy version. While the sequel maintains the more jokes per second than Moulin Rouge had edits, there’s a pretty big narrative hole the movie spends two hours trying to dig itself out of (I won’t spoil it here). It’s certainly entertaining throughout, I’ve seen it multiple times and caught jokes on the third round I missed the first two times.
After flying solo for most of his first film, Deadpool is now in search of a team (the debut of X-Force) to help him stop a Winter Soldier-armed mutant from the future, Cable (Josh Brolin, in his second of two villainous turns this summer after Thanos in Avengers Infinity War), who is out to murder a wayward mutant teen (commanding presence Julian Dennison). The X-Force standout is Zazie Beetz’ Domino, a gun-toting terror with the powers of good luck.
Once again Ryan Reynolds (also a co-writer) perfectly captures the annoyingly awesome, frustratingly reference-heavy and fourth-wall-breaking mercenary with an amazing depth of character. It’s one of the most successful pairings of performer and character in the comic book movie world, up there with Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark and Heath Ledger’s Joker. Morena Baccarin, Brianna Hildebrand, TJ Miller, Koran Soni and Leslie Uggams all make return appearances, but they are all mostly sidelined. Brolin is a surprisingly solid foil for Reynolds, and Beetz actually deserved more screentime after stealing most of her scenes.
There are a number of surprises both in the story, (X-Force’s first mission goes differently than expected), as well as in the number of cameos (the Vanisher! And the surprise prisoner!!) and references (The DC universe takes a number of well-deserved hits). The action is certainly elevated this go around, with a vastly superior budget for both CGI and stunt coordination. The prison heist sequence from the hilarious wind-induced drama at the beginning to the side-splittingly violent end is one of the highlights of the film, followed immediately by the gut busting sight gag back in Blind Al’s apartment.
It’s not as infectiously shocking as the first one, but it holds up on repeat viewings and delivers an R-rated alternative against the oncoming fatigue of super-hero films.
My Grade – B