Deadpool 2 Review: The Merc with a mouth is back in a sequel that is bigger, raunchier, and even more gloriously meta than the original.
Deadpool 2 review by Orestes Adam.
No matter how deep you stare into the superhero vaults of Marvel or DC, there is no character that personifies the values of pure entertainment better than Deadpool. While X-Men Origins: Wolverine ruthlessly butchered the character’s filmic debut, Tim Miller’s 2016 standalone film understood him so well that his arrival felt like the birth of a new genre: a parody that feeds us all that we love about superheroes and completely ridicules them at every turn. Plenty of great parodies have done this before; Blazing Saddles pulled it off for the Western and Galaxy Quest managed it for the space opera; yet Deadpool is the only one with the added benefit of the World Wide Web. So many jokes in both incarnations of the Merc with a Mouth are ones that have already been made in countless online forums and spoofs, but watching the stars and artists of Hollywood reaffirm this humour, acknowledge their storytelling mistakes, and simply show us that they are listening to their fans is so damn satisfying. Deadpool 2 is bigger, raunchier, and even more gloriously meta than the original, but also reminds us of what there is to be lost when a film bites off more than it can chew, or in this case, more than it can establish.
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The second installment of the R-rated surprise franchise follows Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) as he assembles a team of morally flexible mutants he dubs X-Force (because X-Men is sexist) to save a young and unstable mutant Russell (Julian Dennison) from the time-travelling Cable (Josh Brolin). The plot doesn’t get much more complicated than that and it doesn’t need to; it’s the ultimate recipe for fun and the character’s trademark fourth wall awareness enables the film to shamelessly acknowledge its sequel-building intentions. The writers provide the laughs with hilarious impropriety and stabs at pop culture while stuntman-turned-director David Leitch strongly exploits the physical potentials of each character, choreographing each action sequence with full knowledge of the fact that Deadpool can be broken in ways we have never seen an action star before, and still walk away ready for the next fight moments later.
Reynolds shows us that he does not have a single uncommitted bone in his body as he continues to mercilessly mock every aspect of his star persona for the sake of his newfound fan base and deliver every line like the withered comic book fan that Deadpool reflects in us all, while Brolin and Zazie Beetz’s Domino effortlessly manage to switch between charm and badassery throughout every scene, even if neither of them are established with the backstory that they deserve. Julian Dennison may as well have reprised his role as Ricky from Taika Waititi’s Hunt for the Wilderpeople, but it is a personality that he nails so adoringly that one can only hope the rising star does not abandon it too soon. The crucial fault of the sequel’s fantastic ensemble is that we’re not given enough of the ones that matter. While it’s the personalities of these new standouts that will attract you to them, the lack of time we receive for their development for the sake of even more characters comes at the expense of any emotional investment. For every lovable new character we are introduced to our time is wasted with several more, and as abundantly laugh-out-loud funny as it is, nearly every opportunity for advancement is passed for the sake of another gag.
While the original Deadpool was perfectly content with being a uniquely strong comedy and action movie, Deadpool 2 ironically, but unsurprisingly, stumbles when it tries to be a great superhero movie on top of that. For all of the brainless humour it deftly provides, there are moments ridden throughout where the film undeservedly expects its audience to be emotionally attached to its story. It falls into the same tropes it parodies and while it excellently touches upon the philosophies that drive Wade, such as the torture he feels from his inability to die and his unique brand of justice, it never grabs them to make them feel like any more than an excuse for mindless fun. The film knows its audience incredibly well, something which the layers of its referential comedy can attest to between a magnificent cameo, a subtle nod to the infamous Rob Liefeld, and one of history’s most undoubtedly brilliant post-credits scenes; but in trying to reach beyond that it finds itself with more plot, characters and stakes than it can successfully weave together.
Deadpool 2 review by Orestes Adam, May 2018.
Deadpool 2 is released on 15th May, 2018.