The first Deadpool movie was something of a revelation. While I was expecting to enjoy it, I was not expecting to enjoy Deadpool as much as I did. Deadpool is funny, subversive, and oddly heartfelt. Had the movie failed then it wouldn’t have been anything more than a valiant attempt to right the wrongs of a botch introduction in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. As it turns out the first Deadpool is now among my favorite superhero movies. Expectations are obviously now higher for Deadpool 2; we’ve seen the character work on screen with its anarchistic self-aware sense of humor and now we want more. The trailers for Deadpool 2 didn’t wow me but I still couldn’t help but look forward to it (even with the departure of the first film’s director Tim Miller).
For the first twenty minutes or so I watched in confusion as I chuckled a handful times but rarely found myself laughing. The first twenty minutes of this movie felt jumbled up and weirdly put together with some major abrupt tonal shifts. All this cumulated in a plot point that felt contrived, egregious (No spoilers) and rubbed me the wrong way. Did the same team of writers, actor and the co-directors of John Wick really drop the ball on this follow up this hard?
Well, actually they didn’t. After a really rough beginning, Deadpool 2 soon finds its footing in a steadily increasing amount of strong humor, creative action scenes and becomes a fun sequel in its own right.
Deadpool 2 can’t match the original in almost any department. It isn’t as clever, it isn’t as well paced; the story isn’t told as well, it isn’t as funny or as consistent and lacks much of the heart of the first movie (to be fair Deadpool 2 does have some heart). Aside from a lazy third act plot point, the first Deadpool is nearly flawless in what it sets out to accomplish. That being said you don’t go to a sequel because you need something to top the previous thing you love, you go to a sequel because you want to return to something you love. That something you love, in this case, is the character of Deadpool played flawlessly by Ryan Reynolds. There really is no reason to spend so much time going over how great Ryan Reynolds is as Deadpool. That would be like going over how great Johnny Depp was as Jack Sparrow (in the first few movies Pirates movies at least). Reynolds is absolutely on fire, giving the character every bit of energy he can muster both in and out of the costume. It is clear he loves this role and cherishes every moment he has with it.
This time he is joined by a much larger cast of characters and a bigger plot. Another mutant named Cable (played by Thanos himself, Josh Brolin) has traveled back in time to kill a young mutant that will eventually grow up to kill Cable’s family. Deadpool has to try to stop him and save the young adult.
Deadpool 2 is essentially a mix of Looper, Terminator and a little bit of Logan. Cable himself isn’t so much the antagonist of the movie but another character with his own agenda. In that regard, Deadpool 2 doesn’t have a full-on villain like they did in the first movie with Ajax. Brolin and Reynolds play well off each other and have a charming back and forth. Hopefully, Brolin will get the opportunity to play Cable in the future to really flesh out his character.
The original Deadpool was described as a love story (which actually wasn’t false advertising surprisingly) and Deadpool 2 is billed as a family movie. Deadpool 2 does a solid job of bringing out that core theme but the screenplay is more unfocused and does struggle from time to time at bringing together that theme. The end result works but it isn’t as strong as it could be.
Other newcomers include Zazie Beetz as Domino (the mutant whose superpower is luck) and Julian Dennison as Russell (another fire mutant). There is a host of other mutants and cameos that just have to be experienced on the big screen. But all of the new characters are fun and well chosen. They don’t all get the same amount of development and spotlight (some returning characters get pushed to the side like Brianna Hildebrand’s Negasonic Teenage Warhead) but they are all welcomed presence, including the many members of the X-Force.
Deadpool 2 continues to fire away dozens of self-aware and pop cultural humor at a rate that most comedies wouldn’t dream of. There are less slowed down dramatic moments than the first film and with an increased amount of jokes, it means more than likely less of them will land. Deadpool 2 is a funny movie that knows exactly what its audience is looking for (I should know, I am one of them). Personally, I did not find as many gut-busting moments as the first film but I did have a steady stream of laughs once the movie got going. Self-aware satires like Deadpool, Lego Batman or Kick-Ass are needed to keep the genre going and provide a great counterweight to the more serious and straight-faced main titles of superhero movies.
Deadpool 2 can’t match the cleverness of the original nor is it nearly as refined and can be a little all over the place but it is more ambitious (although its ambitions do occasionally overstep its budget). It may not be as good as the first Deadpool but it is a fun sequel and better than both the follow-ups to other R-rated franchise satires like Kick-Ass 2 and Kingsman: The Golden Circle. This does feature some of the best post-credits scenes ever put to screen, and if you are a fan of the first movie you’ll enjoy this one. Deadpool 2 has some creativity to spare and provides for a fun time at the movies.