Considering the risks 20th Century Fox took in greenlighting Deadpool, the 2016 film was released and became a global success, it seemed the risk now fell on the shoulders of its sequel. Deadpool 2 markets itself as “it feels bigger” and in some ways this is true and in others it’s not. The film leans heavily into its overt crassness, gore and ridiculousness but also comes away with some surprising character development and warmth for our merc with the mouth. Necessary plot mentions ahead ….
When a personal tragedy leaves our anti-hero mutant mercenary Wade Wilson/Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) at a loss for purpose and meaning in his life. So in steps metal man Colussus (voiced by Stefan Kapicic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) and her girlfriend Yukio (Shioli Kutsuna) trying to recruit him to the X-Men to possibly turn things around. In his first trainee mission Deadpool attempts to talk down Russell/Firefist (Julian Dennison) from straight up flambaying a bunch of doctors and wardens at the mutant orphanage where he’s been residing (and also not so secretly being tortured upon). As you can guess it goes sideways badly. To add to Deadpool’s issues, Cable (Josh Brolin) a Terminator-esque cyborg from the future has Russell marked and is out to kill the kid for murdering his wife and daughter some 30 or more years from now after he goes dark side. It takes Deadpool having to learn a few lessons before he can actually save the day but in true comic book movie form he does.
The screenplay written by Ryan Reynolds, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick incorporates all the things we loved about the first movie but dials it up. There are your straight up physical comedy gags, your slapstick gags, your “referencing pop culture” gags, and your breaking the 4th wall gags. So you could say it’s pretty damn funny. And if you hadn’t picked up on the fact that them recycling jokes, hell even the story itself was an enormous piss-take then maybe you’re missing the point.
But where Deadpool 2 gets to shine is giving Wade Wilson a chance to grow emotionally. We’re aware that Wilson can be immature but here he needs to step up and take charge in order to help Russell. In a movie that embraces its comedy as much as its violence, Reynolds manages to carry those dramatically heavier moments with a genuine charm that comes from his own personal investment in the character. We wouldn’t believe it if we didn’t believe him and it works.
The trailer briefly introduced us to the X-Force team, including Domino (Zazie Beetz), Bedlam (Terry Crews), Zeitgeist (Bill Skarsgard) Shatterstar (Lewis Tan) and random non-superhero Peter (Rob Delaney), but here we get to see just how they come together, most of which involves clapping back on the inability for the X-Men to come lend a hand or even make an appearance.
Whilst there’s the other returning faces, Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), Blind Al (Leslie Uggams) and Weasel (TJ Miller) and trusty taxi driver Dopinder (Karan Soni). There’s a lot of faces both new and old on show, but the spotlight remains pretty firmly on Reynolds which really drives his character development. What we do get to see of both Beetz’s Domino and Brolin’s Cable are excellent though and leaves you wanting more. What I would like less of is TJ Miller, so I’m deducting points for him being in this movie (I will always deduct points for TJ Miller castings).
As the movie informs us during its hilarious credit intro it’s from the director who killed John Wick’s dog, David Leitch. So we can be sure that the action sequences are top notch as well. And it’s one particular sequence featuring Domino that gets to shine, because her superpower of “being lucky” gets showcased in slow-motion jumps of unfortunate things happening to those around her to allow things to fall in her favour. Turns out it’s not as cinematically problematic to shoot despite what Deadpool says. The film also once again embraces its violent, gory and crass tendencies so clearly not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach. There’s one Basic Instinct homage that gets the Deadpool treatment that is equal parts hilarious and cringey.
Deadpool 2 is unreservedly and unashamedly embracing its madness. It has the brazen audacity to mock and steamroll its way through its pop culture peers. It’s hyperviolent and uproariously funny and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
PSA: you must stay through the credits, those sequences are literally applause worthy.
Review Score: FOUR AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Running Time: 119 minutes
Deadpool 2 is out in Australian cinemas from 16 May 2018 through 20th Century Fox