TL;DR – Takes everything that worked in the first film turns it up to 11 and then gives it real emotional stakes.
Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – there are two mid-credit scenes
Back in 2016, there was this little film that could that exploded out into the zeitgeist of the film world. The first Deadpool (see review) was a passion project for all involved because it took years to get it greenlit, indeed, it took test footage being leaked to finally convince the studio to start it, and even then they cut the budget drastically before shooting because they had fears about what an American R-rated film would make at the box office. Well as we know it make bank at the box office and now we get to see the fruits of that decision with Deadpool 2, well also it probably helped convince 20th Century Fox to finally let them do Logan (see review) as they really wanted, so thanks for that too. So today we are going to look at the follow up to the merc with the mouth, can they capture that same feeling that exploded out on screen both literally and metaphorically, well let’s dive in and see.
So to set the scene, (just a warning we hit [SPOILERS] real quick with this film) it has been sometime since the first Deadpool and Wade (Ryan Reynolds) and Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) have created a life for each other as he goes around the world killing bad guys considered untouchable by everybody else. Well, this is going great, and they even plan to take their family to the next level with a child, but it all falls apart when one of Deadpool’s targets attacks their house and Vanessa is killed by a stray bullet, jump cut to James Bond-style credits as Celine Dion serenades us. Wade killed everyone who caused Vanessa’s death bar himself, and even there it is not from a lack of trying. Soon after another attempt on his life Colossus (Stefan Kapičić) arrives and takes him back to the X-Men mansion to finally help him see his potential and become an X-Men, with the assistance of Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) and her girlfriend Yukio (Shioli Kutsuna). This all goes well until they are on their first mission to where a young mutant Russell (Julian Dennison) is causing a scene out the front of his orphanage with his fire fists. It is all going well until it all falls apart, which is bad because Cable (Josh Brolin) just jumped back in time and he is looking for blood.
Now it is always going to be difficult to capture that lightning in a bottle the second time round because if you just focus on what you did last time it will start feeling stale, and if you try new things you might alienate the same audience that rocketed you to the top last time. Here Deadpool 2 finds the right sweet spot because it takes everything that worked the first time round and then dials that up to 11 but then adds something new, in both the emotional core of Cable and Russel’s characters, but also in the emotional stakes that the film adds to the characters. Are there really any stakes for a character that can’t die? Traditionally no, this is why people struggle to make Superman films without aerosolising kryptonite. Deadpool 2 comes at that problem head-on by creating a realistic scenario where Wade would want to die but his power won’t let him, and you feel that in his performance.
Indeed, for what is considered to be a very irreverent film series Deadpool 2 has a number of really deep emotional beats. Indeed, surprisingly one of the most touching stories in the film is Deadpool and Colossus’ relationship. You really feel from Josh Brolin’s performance the pain of being someone who is tasked to protect the world, but he couldn’t protect those who he cared for the most. As well as this, goodness does Julian Dennison bring such power to his performance, from Hunt for the Wilderpeople (see review) I knew he could go there, but damn (side note if you have not seen Hunt for the Wilderpeople, you should totally watch Hunt for the Wilderpeople). That story of someone being abused by people in power because they wanted to beat what is different out of you, well I am sure that is resonating with a lot of people. Indeed, for all its irreverent humour at the core of Deadpool is this Meta understanding of the comic, and one of the things that the comic always have done is shine a light on the social injustices of the world like say like Canada’s Indian residential school system or Australia’s Stolen Generation.
Even when they are hitting these emotional story moments they still are as irreverent as always. Now, this is part of the film that is always deeply subjective because what I find funny and what you find funny could be completely different. I really love that Meta humour that we see in films like 22 Jump Street. So all those references and in-jokes like calling Cable ‘Thanos’ really work for me, indeed it seemed to work from most people at the midnight premiere that I went to, who were laughing their asses off. The other side of the humour spectrum that Deadpool and Deadpool 2 hits is that gross-out humour that I think can be more of a problem for people. This is a crass film at times and if you don’t like crass humour including foul language and some small nudity than this might not be the film for you. All of this is helped by the returning players like Blind Al (Leslie Uggams) and Dopinder (Karan Soni) who are just a riot in every scene they are on screen, oh and also for those asking there is only a little bit of T.J. Miller in the film. Add to this some great additions to the cast with the new X-Force team like Domino (Zazie Beetz), Bedlam (Terry Crews), Zeitgeist (Bill Skarsgård), Shatterstar (Lewis Tan) and Peter (Rob Delaney), ok maybe not Shatterstar he’s a bit of a [REDACTED]. All of these characters bring their own energy to the movie, and all of them have a standout moment of awesome. Of course, Ryan Reynolds is still amazing casting because he has a clear passion for the project, indeed he worked tirelessly for years to help make the first film a reality, and all of that shows in his commitment to the role and the character.
While it has the emotional beats and the comedic elements, this is also an action film, and action it up it does. Cable’s gun/shield/Winter Solder Arm combination is really great to see on the big screen because it all works fluidly in every fight scene, and James Brolin sells the hell out of it. The director of Deadpool 2 is David Leitch who has a long history of working in stunts, and whose first two films John Wick (see review) and Atomic Blonde (see review) show that he knows how to direct action. In Deadpool 2 we get a slightly different style of action than we have seen from David in the past, with more action-heavy visual effects set pieces. Now while this style might not be for everyone, I think they did a really good job of formatting the actions scenes. I knew where everyone was and what they were doing at all times, the flow of the action, and whose powers were doing what. Add to this I think they did a really good job with the visual effects. The work that has gone in to make Colossus look fantastic must have been considerable, and add to this we have a second mutant that must have taken a similar time to construct and look as good as they do.
In the end, do we recommend Deadpool 2? Yes, yes we do, but with a caveat. If you enjoyed the first film you will likely enjoy this one, if you hated the first film or knew you wouldn’t like it well then nothing much has changed with the sequel. Also, people please we have a rating system (see below) for a reason, this is not a film for kids no matter what they say. However, it is a film that nails the humour, the emotional heart, and the action, so for me, it is a great film that I do highly recommend. Also if for nothing else this film should be lauded for giving us this music video.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Deadpool 2
Directed by – David Leitch
Written by – Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick & Ryan Reynolds
Based on – Deadpool by Fabian Nicieza & Rob Liefeld
Music/Songs by – Tyler Bates & Celine Dion
Cinematography by – Jonathan Sela
Edited by – Dirk Westervelt, Craig Alpert & Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir
Starring – Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Morena Baccarin, Julian Dennison, Zazie Beetz, T.J. Miller, Brianna Hildebrand, Stefan Kapičić, Leslie Uggams, Karan Soni, Shioli Kutsuna, Terry Crews, Lewis Tan, Bill Skarsgård, Rob Delaney, Jack Kesy & Eddie Marsan with Brad Pitt, Ryan Reynolds, Alan Tudyk, Matt Damon & Hugh Jackman
Rating – Australia: MA15+; Canada: 14A; Germany: 16; New Zealand: R; United Kingdom: 15; United States: R