Let’s get the boderline hyperbolic, though still true, statements out-of-the-way first. Deadpool 2 is the perfect film to kick-off the summer movie season. An action packed thrill ride that features just as many laughs, as it does arterial sprays and dismemberments. The kind of film which we may not deserve, or actually need, but is here to entertain the masses, nonetheless. Simply put, this is one big, dumb infectious ball of fun.
Nary an issue is too glaring as Deadpool 2‘s 113 minutes whiz by on the screen in a blur. Well, that’s technically a lie. There are a couple moments where the film feels as if it’s wallowing in self-seriousness, but the notion never lasts long to feel like anything more than a nuisance. Fair praise for a sequel to a film that was willed into existence, because a movie star didn’t understand words like, “no”, “impossible” or “that’s an idiotic idea.”
If the first film was embraced due to its lack of traditional narrative flow or juvenile dalliances, the sequel is like an older brother. Slightly wiser, more experience and a tad more conventional, yet still prone to reckless and rebellious acts. That doesn’t mean it’s your standard everyday blockbuster. Far from it. For every moment where events start to feel safe, Deadpool himself takes the wheel. Straddling the centerline, he only occasionally threatens to careen things off the cliff. Which is a marked improvement.
After saving the day in the original, Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds), aka Deadpool, is more than content with his life. He has his lady love (Morena Baccarin). Business is booming. Wolverine doesn’t have a film in sight. Since the universe likes balancing the scales, too much of a good thing means tragedy lies just over the horizon. After a globe-trotting montage of massacres trades in DMX for Dolly Parton, his life is thrown the kind of curve ball likely to give even the most stoic of superheroes, pause. Stuck in the lowest of mental states, it takes a metal giant to remind him there lies a hero inside his possibly soiled costume. Better yet, a young, misunderstood mutant, Russell (Julian Dennison) is sorely in need of guidance. The kind only an over sarcastic, hyper-aware gun for hire can provide.
It’s here that Cable (Josh Brolin) comes into play. In the future Russell ends up on a collision course of a man with a cybernetic arm and cloudy disposition. Placing him smack dab in the middle of Wilson’s path to redemption. Part antagonist, part anti-hero, part man out of time, Cable feels like a wild card. Brolin revels in the ability to play a gruff tough guy, whose no nonsense attitude can be construed as a type of comedy. His timing and line deliveries are things of simple beauty. The film isn’t worthy of his inclusion, just all the better for it.
Anyone who’s ever cracked a Deadpool comic is sure to know, the Merc with a Mouth is at his best when involved in a team up. Deadpool 2 works best when it dives into this approach full force. X-Force, that is. The much touted team from the trailers is one of the early delights, with Domino (Zazie Beetz) being an absolute standout. Scenes crackle when she’s involved. An abstract concept like luck doesn’t seem inherently cinematic on the page. On the screen though, it is a thing of beauty. Not to be outdone, every other new addition is equally pitch perfect, even if they don’t get the same presence or time to make an impact.
David Leitch (John Wick) straps into director’s chair this go round, replacing Tim Miller and doesn’t miss a beat. Miller left the project early into production citing creative differences. Namely, he wanted to turn the sequel into a mega-budgeted extravaganza. Whereas series writers Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick and (now) Reynolds, wanted to stay true to the original’s tone. They chose wisely. Leitch is more than up to the difficult task of making the film seem unstable but steady. Fans salivating for his upcoming Fast & Furious spin-off, needn’t worry that he’s the right man for the job. In fact, that odd couple dynamic is part of what makes Deadpool 2’s second half go over beautifully. Squint ever so slightly and it’s easy to imagine Cable & Deadpool as Nolte and Murphy in 48 Hours. Or Stallone and Russell in Tango & Cash. It’s buddy cop machinations of the highest order.
Though no third chapter is planned, that’ll likely change after this film rakes in oodles of cash. For now, that doesn’t matter. Deadpool 2 is something of a win, merely by existing. The talent involved doesn’t dare mess with science, injecting the same mix of action, laughs and straight up ballsiness that made the first film a success. All while amping everything up to 11. Overcoming insurmountable odds, it manages somehow to stick the landing, proving ingenuity, stupid jokes and a focus on family can make for an entertaining sequel. Just don’t make a dash for the exit when the credits start. Unless you’re the kind of person who wants to miss out on the best post-credit sequence ever.