WE’RE GONNA SPOIL SOME OF THE GOOD STUFF FROM DEADPOOL 2.
Still here? Okay then!
When the first Deadpool arrived in 2016, it’s success caught many people by surprise. It made nearly $800 million worldwide on a $58 million budget, became the highest-grossing X-Men film of all time, garnered praise for star Ryan Reynolds and director Tim Miller, and proved that as long as you got the characters right, it didn’t matter how crazy you got with the violence, jokes, or meta commentary. People would come. Naturally, there was trepidation with the inevitable sequel. Miller was replaced by John Wick and Atomic Blonde director David Leitch, the budget was almost doubled, and it’d be introducing other fan-favorite characters Cable (Josh Brolin) and Domino (Zazie Beetz) amongst others. Could it possibly hit the same popular notes as successfully as the original?
Suffice it to say that Deadpool 2 is exactly like it’s predecessor in every way, but with bigger, better action, more jokes that toe the line of decency, and a surprising influx of emotion.
Deadpool 2 picks up in the life of the Merc with a Mouth (Ryan Reynolds) doing what he does best: killing targets in gruesome, often hilarious ways. When one of those hits goes wrong, it winds up putting Vanessa (Monica Baccarin) in the crosshairs, leaving Deadpool (suicidal and aimless. Deadpool, pieces of him, anyway, is scooped up by Colossus to try and nurture him back into the world, starting with saving an angry young mutant calling himself Fire Fist (Julian Dennison) from crossing the line into villainy. What they don’t account for is time traveling destruction machine Cable traveling back to take out Fire Fist no matter the cost. You see, if Fire Fist kills the those who have been abusing him at his orphanage, then he grows to be a powerful crime lord, taking out Cable’s family in the future. Cable thinks that taking the kid out will solve everything, but Deadpool, after a few near-death visions of Vanessa, makes it his mission to save the kid, not only from Cable but also his future. A mutant prison breakout later, and Deadpool has to assemble a team of other superpowered badasses to help stop Cable and save the kid. Complications, naturally, ensue.
Many though that Deadpool has been a passion project for Ryan Reynolds. even going back to the bastardized version from X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Reynolds has had a love for the character, and even warned the higher ups at Fox that their mute, multi-powered version would rile fans. He was right of course, and years later after a mysterious leak of Deadpool test footage, he got the film greenlit. With Deadpool 2, you can still feel that Reynolds has a particular love for the character, putting together a comedic performance that runs the gamut from full blown physical pratfalls such as his depressed shenanigans around the x-mansion, all the way to genuinely dramatic scenes where he’s uttering his seemingly never-ending final words. Reynolds is throwing everything he can at the wall, and fortunately most of it sticks. Not only that, but his ability to actively poke fun at himself as well as others makes for a friendly feel that brings us all in on the joke.
Reynolds was nearly a one man show last time, and his returning cast does a good job keeping the universe feel lived in. Monica Baccarin, TJ Miller, Briana Hildebrand, Leslie Uggams, and Karan Soni all return and get in their own memorable jabs. Highlights include Miller when he’s being integrated by Cable, Uggams are her endless insulting between others, and Soni pretty much through the entire film as the increasingly unhinged cab driver Dopinder. His escalating background reactions and desire to become a contract killer like Deadpool offer one of the films best running jokes.
The new crew does well to film in where they are needed, with Josh Brolin as Cable and Zazie Beets as Domino making the most memorable impressions despite having to share their screen time with many others. Cable doesn’t feel like he gets much of a character other than “angry my family is dead and willing to do anything to stop it” but it makes for a great foil against Deadpool, something that has proven true in the comics as well. Domino likewise doesn’t get much character, but serves as an excellent new set of eyes to experience Deadpool’s hijinks through. It’s also of note that the film does a pretty damn good job showcasing her “luck” superpowers, with various things happening around her that contribute to her success. Random inflatable bears showing up to catch her fall, seeing the damage basically fold around her offers a fun, Final Destination-esq style to her powers. Also special shout out goes to over favorite Hunt for the Wilderpeople delinquent Julian Dennison as Fire Fist, who gives what could’ve been an underwritten character are certain level of heart and understanding.
The rest of Deadpool’s X-Force teammates, including Terry Crewes, Bill Skarsgård, Lewis Tan, Rob Delany, and a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo from Brad Pitt are great in their very very short screentime, with Delany’s powerless civilian Peter being the funniest addition. They exist solely to give Deadpool 2 one of it’s funniest gags, which is all of the badasses Deadpool just recruited dying in terrible ways due to him ignoring the high wind advisory during their parachute moment. It is genuinely hilarious, and the different disgusting ways the team dies allow for some incredibly R-rated sight gags.
Deadpool 2 benefits from the ‘more of the same’ approach in both it’s comedy and it’s action. Where the first film had decent action and effects, this film has more, essentially doubling it’s major action sequences and fully CGI characters (both Colossus and a surprising, effective Juggernaut look none too shabby for a budget of only $110 million). This films central action piece featuring the convoy attack escalates from the X-Force members being killed left and right, to Domino and Deadpool fighting against traffic, to Cable showing up and wrecking hell, ending with Juggernaut loose. It’s an effective piece of action, and the previously mentioned David Leitch brings an action pedigree that is a perfect balance with the insane humor of the film.
One of the more impressive aspects of Deadpool 2 is not the quantity or quality of it’s humor (there’s a TON, and your milage may vary), but the variety of humor on display. The film features an amazing opening credit sequences that takes after James Bond, and features more dick jokes than every other superhero movie combined. Yet at the same time it’s able to pull off world-breaking meta humor (such as comparing the first film’s box office to The Passion of the Christ) and pop culture references that bring the house down, particularly a yelled off-hand comment about the Guy Pearce western The Proposition. Lastly, the sight gags are fantastic. Deadpool 2 outdoes it’s baby hand scene with baby legs, seeing Deadpool ripped in half and then slowly growing back his legs makes for an incredible sight. There is humor for everyone here, although Deadpool’s general smartass demeanor will have a strong effect on if you find much of this film to be funny.
Surprisingly, Deadpool 2 features a surprising amount of heart, which was unexpected considering pretty much everything in the above paragraph. Wade visits Vanessa in an afterlife-type setting a handful of times in the film, having brief conversations about heart and family. Even Deadpool himself states that it’s a family film. A sequence near the end where Deadpool actually does die and go to see Vanessa is sneakily heartfelt, showing that Deadpool does have a family in the friends around him. I’ll admit that it caught me off guard, if even it didn’t get me to actually roll a tear. However, in true Deadpool fashion, it goes right back to being ridiculous with time traveling post-credit scenes that essentially make the entire film moot if you think about it for too long.
Deadpool 2 is not a movie for everybody, but it IS a movie very confident in what it is, and knows that somebody out there will love it. Ryan Reynolds wears his passion and love for the character on his sleeve, and it’s clear that he’s willing to make anything and anyone, including himself, part of the joke if that means getting the tone of Deadpool right. Action maestro David Leitch just proves how much the film doesn’t want to lean on it’s comedy nonsense, giving us memorable, creative sequences that stretch every cent of the budget. Sure, not everything sticks, but the pure force of will the movie has with not only it’s joke, but also it’s violent, creative action brings out the best in everyone. After all, I don’t think there are many other movies that have the Juggernaut ripping Deadpool in half, making Yentl and Frozen comparisons, and emotional realizations about family and friendship and have them all connect as successfully as they do.
The Final Pop
Deadpool 2 takes it’s larger budget and doubles down on everything that made the first film so successful. Bigger action, zanier antics, and bloodier violence supplement a continuous stream of jokes that hit far more than they miss. Complete the film with solid directing, fun sequences, and a great cast of Reynolds, Brolin, Beetz and the rest, and you have a sequel that is as effective as the original. Perfect Popcorn