The first Deadpool film was fun when I saw it in theaters but upon further thought I’d only come to dislike it because the most it really presented itself to be was merely a typical superhero origin story posing as different through its meta humour only giving it a feeling of smugness that only became irritating as it went on. Having this mixed together with David Leitch, who had come fresh off John Wick and Atomic Blonde made me feel unsure because I also disliked the latter film so the idea of Leitch directing this only pushed me away from Deadpool 2. To say the least, my expectations already had given myself an idea of the audiences that I knew a Deadpool movie would have found itself appealing to but to my own surprise it didn’t get on my nerves nearly as much as the first film did and felt more like a nice step up. Despite qualms that echo what bothered me about the first Deadpool, it felt nice to see that not much of the cynicism that struck me from said film had lingered terribly in this one.
You would already know the schtick of the first Deadpool film simply from an outline as bare bones as: “an invincible foul-mouthed mutant goes out to seek revenge on those who have wronged him, not without breaking the fourth wall to alert audiences about what is going on the whole way through.” While the first film was exactly that for an origin story, Deadpool 2 now steps up the game by shifting the focus on creating another team of Mutants dubbed the X-Force. At its worst it feels like a recycling of jokes that kept the preceding film moving while at its best it finds itself carrying much more heart than what would have been expected given the source material. Knowing already where a film of this sort could have so easily landed, it felt relieving at the very least to come out finding that more of the film’s good qualities would shine as opposed to its worst.
It’s nice enough to see that Ryan Reynolds is still having fun as the title character and without him, it’s easy to say that Deadpool wouldn’t have been worth very much. That’s not to say though that his delivery of the film’s more witty lines is made any better by his presence because the self-referential humour still comes off as smug as it used to be. Many of the fourth wall breaks can be eye roll inducing especially when you note that this was a flaw of the previous film because it’s not like the film is also doing anything to show itself as being any different from those tropes to which it pokes fun at, rather instead they just end up working against the film’s favour in the sense that they only send you a reminder that you’re watching a film that happens to be as basic as the films that it’s making fun. Because of this overly reliant nature upon pop culture references it also gives the film a feeling of being dated to our own period and it ends up questioning how well this film would age within years to come.
As much as the new cast members may have become rather easy targets for Deadpool’s irreverence, Leitch allows the new characters to breathe life onto the screen by merely letting them be themselves in their roles. The marketing had already placed a great deal of emphasis onto Josh Brolin’s presence as Cable and he lives up to his own part, but I’m more intrigued to see what comes forth for Domino as part of the next movies – because of how much energy Zazie Beetz brings to the table in this role. There’s more emphasis being placed on themes regarding family ties placed into Deadpool 2 that allow for more heart to come into play and as much as they may make for some potentially touching moments, the emotional beats don’t exactly feel earned but thankfully it never finds itself to be much of a detriment to the chemistry that keeps the film’s energy moving forward.
David Leitch (or, as the “opening credits” sequence refers to him, “one of the guys who killed a dog in John Wick”) gives the film a smooth sense of direction compared to the first, if there was ever a noticeable improvement present from said film. At least when the action comes into play it feels energetic and it never cuts back with the gratuitous bloody violence that we knew we would have wanted after the first film. It’s never exactly great and can get fairly repetitive but the smoothness of the film’s pacing alone at least from Leitch’s direction does its job because it already feels like it knows the demographic that its aiming for. You can already feel his roots from having co-directed a John Wick movie being put to good use – but there can only be a point in which stylized gratuitous violence can end up becoming far too much and even too cruel a la Atomic Blonde.
I always had a feeling from the first Deadpool movie that a sequel would have a whole lot more going for it because at least it had managed to get a fairly generic origin story out of the way. To some extent, I got exactly what I had been hoping for but at the same time I can’t help but feel as if I’m still disappointed not only by the fact it repeats what the first film had already accomplished but that the butt of the joke was always going to be an easy target. But Ryan Reynolds is still entertaining as he’s always been as Deadpool and him having a screenwriting credit certainly helps in letting him be himself in the role, though at worst you find yourself just being reminded of what made the first one the film that it was. If you liked the first one, you’ll find yourself having a fun time with Deadpool 2. If not, then maybe it’s best to stay away.
Watch the trailer right here.
All images via Fox.
Directed by David Leitch
Screenplay by Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick, Ryan Reynolds, from the comics by Fabian Nicieza, Rob Liefeld
Produced by Simon Kinberg, Ryan Reynolds, Lauren Shuler Donner
Starring Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Morena Baccarin, Julian Dennison, Zazie Beetz, T.J. Miller, Brianna Hildebrand, Jack Kesy, Karan Soni
Release Year: 2018
Running Time: 119 minutes