Deadpool 2 is bigger and bloodier, but not quite better than the original


Deadpool 2 gives us even more of the Merc with a Mouth, for good and for ill, in a sequel that doubles down on everything from the original.

In 2016, after public outcry demanded the character get his own movie, Hollywood responded with the raucous, raunchy tribute to comics’ most obnoxious character: Deadpool. The film proved  audiences wanted R-rated comic characters whose hearts weren’t always made of gold and finally gave Ryan Reynolds the A-list status he so desperately craved. Two years later, the R-rated comic book movie isn’t a novelty, a fact acknowledged by Deadpool in the opening scenes of his sequel, Deadpool 2. The character is back and louder than ever, fostered by an increased budget the movie doesn’t fail to remind you of at every step. Based on how far your mileage went the first time around, Deadpool 2 embraces its enhanced output of blood, guns, and violence with open arms…before they’re blown off.

Neighborhood mercenary Wade Wilson, aka Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds), must deal with the fallout of losing a loved one. Desperate to kill himself, Deadpool must stop a young boy (Julian Dennison) from turning evil while grappling with a time-traveling soldier named Cable (Josh Brolin).

It’s been two years since we last left Wade Wilson scarred but happy. Since then, Deadpool’s brand of humor isn’t unique, a fact he opens the film with, making one of several pointed critiques about Hugh Jackman’s Oscar-nominated Logan.

Everything you loved about Deadpool is alive and well. Did you love the violence? Then you’ll love watching Wade become the literal embodiment of Stretch Armstrong as bones and limbs contort into all manner of new and grotesque poses. Did you love the crass humor? Though there aren’t as many fun ways to inject four-letter words into new phrases, Deadpool gets in a few that should gloss up your next Scrabble game. And did you love the meta humor? Well, then kick back, because you’re gonna get so much shoved down your throat you’ll need a pen shoved in your backside to combat it. (Yes, that is a thing in Deadpool 2.)

The meta humor is what threatens Deadpool 2’s longevity. Some jokes are suited to the plot or situation; there’s a Goonies reference that seemingly went over the head of my audience, as well as a fantastic Terminator line. However, jokes seem sandwiched to remind audiences of how much “better” Deadpool is than other movie characters. Thus, you can get pretty drunk within the first hour hearing all the digs at Marvel, Disney and DC. It’s not that screenwriters Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick and Reynolds don’t attempt to pass these off as thoughts the character would have, but too many seem plopped in there to appease people who expect that. They never feel organic and are oftentimes layered on top of each other, barely giving the first joke time to breathe before another shoves its way in.

Placing jokes into every bit of dialogue explains why the plot takes its time to get going. The opening scenes show Wade in domestic bliss with prostitute turned … housewife (?), Vanessa (Morena Baccarin). The two plan on having a baby with Wade lamenting whether he’ll make a good father. Of course, this is too domestic for a movie titled Deadpool 2, so bodies hit the floor fairly quickly, putting our masked man on a collision course with death. The first quarter is fairly rough, with the audience dealing with a decision that seems ripped from Comic Book Story 101, effectively undoing everything the first film did regarding mixing up expectations of gender and agency. It isn’t until Wade has a quest, to reform young Russell and prevent Josh Brolin’s Cable from killing the boy, that Deadpool 2 finally ramps into the movie it was born to be, even if it plays into the stereotypical “can I be a dad” plot established in the beginning.

The remainder of the movie is as wacky, hyper-violent and cheeky as the original that it almost makes you forget the struggle to get there. Cable’s arrival infuses new life into the film as Brolin and Reynolds banter with each other. Brolin is a good sport at the jabs Deadpool makes at his expense — yes, there is a Thanos joke! Brolin is hilarious as the gruff, taciturn time-traveler chronically annoyed with Deadpool when he isn’t trying to murder a child. Discarding Cable’s origin story might have worked better narratively, though it’s hard not to see the character as another version of John Connor (also thrown out as a joke).

Deadpool is a man who needs people to bounce off of, and alongside Cable there’s the implementation of Deadpool’s not-X-Men team, X-Force. (There is a funny explanation of where the X-Men are, by the way.) X-Force consists of a cadre of colorful characters, with memorable appearances from Bill Skarsgard, Lewis Tan and an utterly delightful Rob Delaney.

But the X-Force scene-stealer is Zazie Beetz’s Domino. The literal embodiment of Lady Luck, Beetz brings an effortless charm to the character, whetting the audiences’ appetite for her own movie, which must be greenlit now. She’s the only character with the strength to slap Deadpool in the mouth and deserves to take a bigger chunk of the movie in the next venture.

Reynolds gets a chance to kick back and hide behind the mask since there are so many additional characters. He throws out the jokes without a care in the world, though seeing him in tenderhearted moments — and there are several overly sentimental moments here — has a note of falseness. It could be because you expect Deadpool to look at the camera and announce it’s “lazy writing.” Actually, this phrase, liberally thrown out during the feature, seems not to apply to actual instances of lazy writing, predominately where women and romance are concerned. What’s the matter, Deadpool? Can’t bring up your own inherent issues?

And because this is technically a Marvel movie, be sure to stay in your seats for a post-credits scene or two. Many are citing the post-credits scene here as the best sequence in the movie. This might be overly praised, mainly appeasing longterm fans of the Marvel/DC universe who have been vocal in their criticisms of certain movies. Personally, the X-Force montage is the best scene in Deadpool 2 — you’ll know it when you see it.

Next: The MCU movies ranked by hilarity

If you enjoyed the first Deadpool this is more of the same, if not an excess of it. Reynolds and company are top-notch, though Brolin and Beetz are the ones to watch.