Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick, Ryan Reynolds
Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Morena Baccarin, Julian Dennison, Zazie Beetz, T.J. Miller, Leslie Uggams, Karan Soni, Brianna Hildebrand, Jack Kesy, Eddie Marsan, Shioli Katsuna, Stefan Kapicic
R for strong violence and language throughout, sexual references and brief drug material
Buy on DVD/Blu-ray
When people talk about sequels being inherently inferior to the originals, they ignore the long history of sequels that are as good as or better than the original. From the films of the Lord of the Rings trilogy to Godfather, Part II, there was always the possibility that Deadpool 2 could be better than the original. It is.
By expanding the plot in the second film to include more characters, Deadpool 2 has better rooted itself into the Marvel and X-Men universes than it had previously. While the original film had a lot of incredibly funny moments, it didn’t always have the most coherent plot even if it did have a solid villain. In his second outing, Ryan Reynolds puts on the burn makeup once again to find great humor in the raunchy, uber-violent world of the popular comic book anti-hero.
In his second outing, Reynolds ups the stakes dramatically, pulling in popular figures from the prior film and mixing in a large number of new ones, including the impressive Zazie Beetz as Domino, a mutant who has the power of luck on her side. Josh Brolin adds menace as the time travelling half-cybernetic Cable trying to right the wrongs of the future-past within the past-present, which involves preventing the turn events that leads to the death of his wife and daughter.
Following the plot is fairly simple, but getting too deep into its details gives away prime elements to it. Suffice it to say, the cast and crew are firing on all cylinders. Reynolds’ self-deprecating and ribald humor carries this film as it did with the previous; however, the supporting cast does plenty to enliven various moments. From Leslie Uggams playing up the blind schtick to an assortment of extraneous Marvel heroes who make cameos, including a group of characters who form a part of Deadpool’s new X-Force before jumping out of a plane in heavy wind.
The lone exception to this is the disgraceful inclusion of transphobic comedian T.J. Miller, which is a point to the film’s detriment, especially considering how much they could have done with the idea of casting Christopher Plummer as Deadpool’s bartender extraordinaire. It would have been a great piece of humor, but instead they chose to keep the hateful comedian on board. Not only is his presence frustrating, his performance is as inadequate here as it was in the prior film.
Director David Leitch takes the screenplay Reynolds co-wrote with Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick and fashions it into a mostly tight mile-a-minute comedy that allows its protagonist to get away with the type of humor that would have been out of place in a Disney/Marvel film. Fox has shown an admirable streak of allowing its films to buck the PG-13 requirement for popularity and gives movies like Deadpool and its sequel, Logan, and hopefully the upcoming New Mutants, the ability to expand and entertain without restriction. The film lays a few comic eggs, as all modern comedies must, but these are fewer and farther between than the original.
While the sequel doesn’t have the stunning slow-motion action title sequence of the original, they have chosen to go an entirely different route showing they are not above trying new things and not rehashing what was already successful. Their replacement is a James Bond-infused title sequence set to the song “Ashes” as sung by Céline Dion. The tune was released as a music video prior to the film’s release, but its connection to the film’s plot isn’t obvious until after you see the film. It’s a terrific piece of pop music and would be a worthy nominee for the Oscar and I wouldn’t even be upset by a win at this point.
Deadpool 2 doesn’t let the fourth wall get in his way, a trademark aspect to the character that has been well served in two films now. The music selection is largely on point, filled with 80s music that might otherwise feel out of place in a Marvel movie (Guardians of the Galaxy excepted). The amount of times he attacks his own cinematic past is amusing and the mid-credits stinger is as humorous as might be expected. However, stay to the end for the final orchestral performance. It’s well worth sticking through the scroll recognizing the hundreds of people who put in their time and effort to make the movie you just enjoyed. Don’t stay just for stingers. Stay because it’s the right thing to do.
Potentials: Original Song (“Ashes”)
May 30, 2018